BIOL 1190 - Human Impacts on Aquatic Ecology
Goals: To learn fundamental concepts of the ecology of aquatic ecosystems; to understand how human activities affect the functioning of aquatic ecosystems and the goods and services that these ecosystems provide; and to learn about the process of science and to practice science.
Content: In this course, designed for non-majors, students will learn fundamental concepts of the ecology of aquatic ecosystems (e.g., lakes, rivers, oceans) and how different types of human disturbances (e.g., draining of wetlands for agriculture, damming of rivers for hydroelectric power generation, introduction of non-native species) and sources of pollution (e.g., nutrient pollution, acid rain) impact these ecosystems.
The understanding of this content will be gained through interactive lectures, class discussion of readings from a variety of sources, investigation of lake and stream data using data visualization tools, and ‘wet lab’ experiments.
Activities that students will do that relate to learning the process of science include 1) evaluating a scientific claim using scholarly literature, and 2) learning about the peer review process by which scientific literature is published by reading and discussing reviews of a manuscript that was submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
In addition, students will practice ‘hands-on’ science through a multi-week team project in which they will investigate the impact of a particular type of pollution on aquatic organisms. For this project, the research teams will 1) investigate the scientific literature to identify specific topics and to develop a research hypothesis, 2) design an experiment to test their hypothesis, 3) collect and analyze data from the experiment, and 4) interpret the results, and convey the findings to the class in a research presentation.