Biology and Climate Change in the Pacific Northwest

Winter 2022
Olympia
Day
Freshman - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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The Pacific Northwest is a diverse landscape that includes cold oceans, temperate rainforests, arid scrublands, and alpine, tundra-like communities. Human communities are also part of this landscape, representing an array of cultures and languages. The effects of climate change on the biology of plants and animals living in these communities are complex and result from an interplay of physiology, behavior, and ecology. Problem solving around these effects requires an understanding of the underlying systems and processes, and communication among communities and across languages. In this program we will bring together the science of biological systems, the linguistics of cultural landscapes, and the responses of these complex systems to climate change.

Our study of biology will cover the evolution and physiology of plants and animals and how that is reflected in the structure and function of ecological communities. This foundation will be used to examine how these organisms and systems respond to climate change, including changes in air and water temperature, rainfall, and ocean acidification. In support of our science studies, we will also spend time each week on quantitative skills that are used in the study of ecology, biology, and climate change. Topics in quantitative reasoning will include mathematical modeling, applied algebra, and quantitative literacy. Our study of linguistics will cover topics around language and landscape in the Pacific Northwest, including language contact and historical linguistics. These topics will also be examined in light of a changing environment, climate, and cultural landscape.

Class time will include lectures, fieldwork, and regular workshops in linguistic analysis and quantitative reasoning. Assignments will include field notebook entries, essays, and short research papers that are designed to encourage students to pull together concepts they are learning in class. The key learning goals of this program are to develop a foundation in biology and linguistics, develop and refine students’ quantitative thinking skills and communication skills, and bring together ideas from different fields to develop a deeper, interdisciplinary understanding of climate change.

Greener FoundationsFirst-year students will participate in Greener Foundations while sophomore to senior students will participate in a final project on predicting landscape changes due to climate change.  Greener Foundationsis a holistic course designed for first-time, first-year students. Faculty and staff collaborate to bring study skills, academic planning, health and wellness education, advising, and more into the classroom. More information can be found on the college website at   .

Registration

Winter 2022 Registration

Academic details

Preparatory For

Biology, ecology, environmental science, linguistics, education

Credits
16
Maximum Enrollment
50
Class Standing
Freshman
Sophomore
Junior
Senior
Fees

$50 for admission to a museum or aquarium

Schedule

In Person or Remote
In Person
Time Offered
Day
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule
Location
Olympia