Seminars & Group Study Courses

Spring Quarter 2018

All courses listed below are ECL 290 or 298 courses. ECL 290 courses are seminars that include student participation, while ECL 298 courses are Group Study courses that function more as a traditionally instructed course.

ECL 290: Ecological Plant Anatomy with Susan Harrison

Plants are shaped by adaptation and acclimation to their environments, in turn their physiology underlies ecosystem productivity, physical structure, composition, and stress tolerance. Plant responses to abiotic factors are largely structural, while variation in anatomical structure determines plant ecology from their geographic range to local niche because anatomy underlies growth rates, biotic resistance, longevity, range of climatic tolerance, and competitive ability. On a fundamental level, the environment both influences and is influenced by the anatomy of plants.

Date & Time: Thursdays from 12:10 - 1:00pm in Wickson 3053

CRN: 59452

ECL 290: Community Ecology of Diseases with Dave Rizzo

In order to predict and manage disease outbreaks, the community context needs to be acknowledged. While this is obviously important for diseases involving multiple hosts and pathogens, even diseases caused by single-host pathogens are affected by species interactions between hosts or pathogens. This seminar will examine diseases from a community ecology perspective with a special focus on plant fungal diseases. Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Epidemiological theory in a multi-host and multi-pathogen context
  • Empirical examples applying the theory
  • Dynamics across spatiotemporal scales
  • Abiotic and biotic disturbances affecting communities and disease
  • General diversity-associated mechanisms that affect disease risk
  • How to mitigate disease outbreaks in managed landscapes with our understanding of the community’s role

Date & Time: Thursdays, 9:00am - 9:50am in Hutchison 176

CRN: 59453

ECL 290: Choose Your Own Disturbance in Ecology with Susan Harrison

This seminar will cover the effects of biotic and abiotic disturbances on ecological processes and functions. Disturbances are defined as a relatively discrete event that changes ecosystem, community, or population structure and may alter resource availability. They occur at a variety of temporal and spatial scales and regimes may vary both regionally and within one landscape.  Disturbance ecology attempts to understand how the frequency, magnitude, and scale of disturbance may impact energy flow and nutrient cycling and  age, species,  genetic and structural diversity. The objective of this course is to discuss the natural and anthropogenic disturbances occurring in both "natural" and altered/managed (agricultural fields or agroforestry) ecosystems, how they have been altered over time, and alterations we may expect under climate change.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The historic and current role of disturbance in natural communities
  • The debate on the intermediate disturbance hypothesis
  • Disturbance and ecosystem resilience
  • Climate change may intensify or reduce disturbance severity and/or frequency
  • The role of disturbance frequency, scale and severity in successional dynamics,
  • Species adaptation and dependence on disturbance
  • The effects of anthropogenic disturbances or management of disturbance events on ecosystem function

Date & Time: TBD, Thursdays are likely

CRN: 59451

ECL 290: Foundations of Restoration Ecology with Truman Young

This alternate-year course serves as a graduate-level introduction to the concepts and issues in restoration ecology.  We will read and critically review the book, “Restoration Ecology: The New Frontier (2nd Edition)” by van Andel and Aronson (2012; available on Amazon), and we will supplement the book with primary articles each week.  Each week a student or students will choose these supplemental readings, present a synthesis of them, and lead the discussion. This course serves as the core course for the Restoration AOE in Ecology (although we strongly recommend/require that students also take 160/160L).  This seminar is open to all students regardless of emphasis.

Date & Time: First Meeting, Thursday, 5 April, 10:30-11:30am, in PES 2004.

CRN: 59518