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Inland waters are some of the most threatened ecosystems on Earth. Yet they provide critical ecosystem services: providing food and freshwater, regulating climate, and detoxifying pollutants. In this course, we will examine inland waters (focusing on rivers and streams) as ecological systems that interact with their drainage basin and the atmosphere. We will also explore how physical, chemical, and biological processes operate and impact the organisms found within each ecosystem. Finally, we will study the way inland waters, as hotspots of biogeochemical activity, contribute to fluxes of greenhouse gasses. Case studies of real-world problems will be used to assess the effect of anthropogenic changes on inland waters and watersheds. This program will include lectures, laboratories, and field trips to gain experience with sampling techniques in aquatic ecology.
Erin Martin, Ph.D. , is an aquatic biogeochemist whose research focuses on examining the role of rivers in the global carbon cycle. Rivers are large sources of carbon to both the atmosphere and the ocean and are consequently critical to our understanding of the global carbon cycle. While working in the Amazon Basin, her research demonstrated that bacteria living in the river produce high levels of carbon dioxide through respiration, and this carbon dioxide is subsequently lost to the atmosphere. Her current research in the Mekong Basin (i.e. Cambodia) focuses on characterizing the type of organic carbon that is exported by large rivers to the ocean. Specifically, she uses molecular tracers to determine where in the watershed the carbon originates from, and uses radiocarbon analyses to determine the age of this material. Such information is necessary in order to understand the preservation of terrestrial carbon in the ocean, which can affect atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over long time scales. Through her training (master’s and doctoral degrees from the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington), Erin has research experience working in streams, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Additional interests include ocean acidification, estuarine ecology, evaluating the impacts of dams on downstream processes, and microbial ecology. Her past and present research has been conducted through collaborations with colleagues in Brazil, Cambodia, and the Pacific Northwest.
Credits per quarter
- Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
Class Size: 15
Scheduled for: Evening
Mondays 6-10 pm
Located in: Olympia