This program is designed to serve as a foundation for advanced programs in environmental studies. As such, it will survey a range of disciplines and skills essential for environmental problem-solving from both a scientific and social science perspective. Specifically, we will study ecological principles and methods, aquatic ecology, methods of analysis in environmental studies, American political and economic history of environmental policy-making, microeconomics, and political science. This information will be used to analyze current issues on a range of topics in environmental studies.
The focus of this program will be on aquatic systems. We will examine the major physical and chemical characteristics of aquatic environments and factors controlling species diversity, distribution, and productivity of aquatic organisms. Current issues such as marine pollution, harmful algal blooms, over-fishing, and global climate change will be discussed. These scientific issues will be grounded in the context of politics, economics, and public policy. In addition, we will examine how the values of democracy and capitalism from the founding era to the present influence resource management, and the scope and limitations of governmental policy-making, regulatory agencies, and environmental law. Understanding the different levels (federal, state, local) of governmental responsibility for environmental protection will be explored in-depth. Field trips, seminar, and case studies will offer opportunities to see how science and policy interact in environmental issues. Finally, we will introduce quantitative methods relevant to environmental studies.
Material will be presented through lectures, seminars, labs, field trips/field work, and quantitative methods. Laboratory and field trips will examine microscopic life in aquatic systems and will examine the ecology of estuarine habitats.
Course Reference Numbers
environmental studies, government, social science, ecology, and marine science.