COURSES TAUGHT AT NICHOLAS SCHOOL OF THE ENVIRONMENT
ENVIRON 517: Tropical Ecology
Tropical Ecology is the study of the biotic and abiotic interactions that shape the origin, maintenance, and consequences of species diversity in the tropics. This course is designed to provide a broad overview of tropical ecosystems, natural history, biological communities and their structure and function. Emphasis will be on terrestrial habitats, in particular tropical forests. The course is organized into three major parts. A third of the course focuses on abiotic features that give rise to tropical forests, their physical structure, distributions and diversity. Another third focuses on plant-animal interactions critical to the functioning of tropical communities. The final third examines the threats to tropical forests and issues related to their conservation and management. One major goal of this course is to make students aware of the importance of tropical forests, how they affect the lives of people, and the global consequences of the defaunation, degradation, and deforestation of tropical forests. A second major goal is to improve the student’s ability to critically evaluate original scientific literature and to clearly articulate scientific arguments in writing.
ENVIRON 710: Applied Data Analysis for Environmental Science
This course provides an introduction to statistical analysis and modeling for applied problems in the environmental sciences and resource management. The goal of the course is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and computing skills necessary to their future research.The course covers basic statistics, emphasizing why, when and how to implement statistical tests, with a priority put on interpreting statistical results. It encompasses subjects such as probability and probability distributions, power analysis, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, resampling procedures, experimental design, linear models (multiple regression), generalized linear models (logistic regression, Poisson regression), and multi-level models. Students take a weekly lab, which teaches coding in R, an open source statistical programming language. A major focus of the course is writing code in R to analyze data and produce figures, as well as writing lucid and concise data analysis reports. Intended for both MEM and PhD students, the course does not require formal mathematical training, but does require either a background or willingness to write R code.
ENVIRON 840: Ecology and Conservation of Gabon
Field course to study environmental problems, challenges and aspirations of Gabon, W. Africa. Goal is to expose students to Gabon’s natural ecosystems and its development challenges and to think critically about development trade-offs. Study of coastal ecosystems & interior tropical forests including drivers of environmental degradation & destruction: subsistence agriculture, large-scale logging, industrial agriculture, mining & hunting/poaching. Field research & evaluation of environmental policy options, examining role of human and industrial impacts on the environment. Prerequisite: graduate course in Tropical Ecology or Conservation Biology/Management. Course may be repeated. Instructor consent required. Priority to students with French language skills.