Environmental Biology and Chemistry

Fall 2018
Winter 2019
Sophomore - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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Taught by

In this upper division science program we will use topics and theoretical concepts within microbiology and organic chemistry to study how human activity, or anthropogenic pollution, has affected the environment.

In fall quarter, we will begin by examining the roles microorganisms play in the environment, their metabolism, and the broad diversity of ecosystems they occupy. We will also begin our study of organic chemistry, learning the structure, reactivities, and mechanisms of reaction of the major functional groups – from small molecules to polymers and plastics. We will also read primary literature in the areas of environmental biology and chemistry, focusing on major themes such as air, water and soil pollution from anthropogenic sources, and environmental clean-up.

In winter quarter, we will study microbial ecology to gain an overall understanding of the role of microorganisms in natural communities. We will examine ecosystems and their disruption, microbial metabolism, and biogeochemical cycling, specifically the C, N, and S cycles. We will continue our study of organic chemistry, and in addition, we will apply this knowledge to environmental chemistry, examining the fate of persistent anthropogenic organic chemicals, including pesticides, PCBs, dioxins, and plastics. We will also study their effect on a variety of organisms due to their general accumulation in the environment, as well as their bioaccumulation. In addition, we will examine methods of bioremediation to remove toxic chemicals, and human use of alternative materials, such as biodegradable plastics, designed to replace products produced from petrochemicals.

Throughout both quarters laboratory activities will teach fundamental and modern methods of microbiology and organic chemistry, all within relevant environmental themes. Laboratory activities will include culturing and the use genetic methods for the quantification of microorganisms in the environment, organic synthesis methods combined with green chemistry methods, and the use of scientific instrumentation. We will use Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze organic mixtures, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) for structural analysis of organic compounds.

Class activities will include lecture, small group problem solving workshops, seminar, student presentations, instrumentation workshops, laboratories, and some field work.



two quarters of general biology and 2 quarters of general chemistry, each with lab.

Fall 2018 Registration

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 10307
Winter 2019 Registration

Signature Required

Students must have taken organic chemistry (one quarter) and microbiology (one quarter).  Contact the faculty via email (schofiep@evergreen.edu and brabbana@evergreen.edu) for more information.

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16): 20194

Academic details

Preparatory for studies and careers in

lab and field biology, chemistry, and environmental science.

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing
Upper Division Science Credit

All 32 credits are upper division, and will include environmental microbiology with lab, microbial ecology with lab, biogeochemistry, organic chemistry with lab (2 full quarters), environmental chemistry, scientific instrumentation, and seminar.


In Person or Remote
In Person (F)
In Person (W)
Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule

First Meeting

LAB 2 3216 - Class Lab