Climate and Ecosystem Change in the Anthropocene

Spring 2018
Class Size: 46
50% Reserved for Freshmen
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Paul Goldberg square
landscape ecology, physical geography (climate, landforms, biogeography), spatial analysis/GIS
Angelos Katsanis
ecology, entomology, agronomy

This program is a repeat of the program in winter quarter.  Students who take the program in winter should not register for the spring quarter program.

What are the impacts of human-induced climate change on ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest? Students in this program will investigate this question from the perspectives of climate change science, basic meteorology, ecosystem science, and invasive species ecology and biology. 

The impact of climate change and rising average world temperatures can have a profound influence on species’ geographical ranges and the ecosystems they inhabit. Ecosystem structure, function and composition are often determined primarily by the climate and its interactions with these elements. Understanding the scientific basis of climate change and its environmental impacts will be important in understanding future effects on ecosystems and the human cultures that rely on them. We will review and discuss the mechanisms behind past, present, and likely future climate change, together with its influences on the landscape and the effects of biological invasions of species.

Biological invasions are responsible for almost half of the known species extinctions on Earth, through ecological processes such as predation and competition. In addition their environmental damages cost the global economy billions of dollars each year. Climate change has had a significant impact on invasive species success in colonizing and affecting ecosystems. Students will explore the interaction between climate change and the biological, ecological and socio-economic impacts of invasive species as well as understand the mechanisms behind biological invasions. They will assess the impact of those invasions to biodiversity and ecosystems as well as their potential impacts as climate change alters ecosystems to their benefit. Through field trips and lab exercises, the program will provide the approaches for understanding the effects of climate change on ecosystems and options for managing invasive species.

Up to 16 upper-division science credits in geography and advanced ecology may be offered to juniors and seniors. In order to earn upper-division science credit, students will conduct advanced research  on invasive species ecology and effects on existing ecosystems; investigate the role of climate change in invasive species success; collect and analyze data on invasive species biology and ecology; and present their work in the form of a scientific paper.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

ecology, geography, climate science, invasive species biology and ecology.


Credits per quarter

Online learning:
  • No Required Online Learning - No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional.

$215 for a 4 night 5 day overnight field trip.

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 46
50% Reserved for Freshmen

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

Located in: Olympia

2018-03-16This program will now accept enrollment for all class levels.