Temperate Rainforests: Genetics and Biogeochemistry


Fall 2015 quarter

Taught by

forest and plant ecology
biology, virology, molecular biology


Two quarters of general biology or ecology, two quarters of general chemistry, and one quarter of college-level precalculus or calculus. Interested students can take a self-corrected quiz to see if their background in chemistry is sufficient.

Forested ecosystems are complex biogeochemical systems represented by a genetically diverse array of species. Forests are some of the largest carbon sinks on Earth, while hosting a complex array of ecological interactions linked to ecosystem processes. Further, genetic variation is poorly understood in these systems for both macro- and microorganisms. By focusing on genetic variation, evolutionary history, and biogeochemistry in these forests, we will learn about the interplay between biotic and abiotic phenomena. We will examine techniques for assessing genetic diversity, ways of understanding patterns in population genetics, and the potential for linkages between genetic variation in forest organisms and ecological processes in forests.

Our lectures, laboratory work, and field labs will focus on forests across a range of elevations, latitudes, and climates. We will also have a multi-day overnight trip at the beginning of the quarter to see patterns in forest ecosystems and large-scale experiments firsthand. Laboratory work will allow students to learn about new methods and applications in molecular biology and ecological genetics. Students will also acquire experience with various sampling techniques that are used to measure nitrogen, water, and carbon in forested ecosystems. Weekly seminars will focus on understanding scientific articles from the primary literature. Students will develop scientific research projects throughout the quarter that require the development of research and quantitative skills. We will emphasize fundamental concepts in ecology and genetics, techniques in molecular biology and biogeochemistry, scientific writing, and communication skills.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

ecology, biology, environmental science, and biochemistry.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$400 for an overnight field trip.

Upper Division Science Credit

Upper division science credit may be awarded in all areas of the program with satisfactory completion of all program work.


Date Revision
May 12th, 2015 Prerequisites updated (students will also need one quarter of college-level precalculus or calculus).
May 8th, 2015 Prerequisites added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 10148

Go to my.evergreen.edu to register for this program.

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