NRES 105: Climate Change Impacts on Ecological Systems (Spring)

NRES 105 examines the responses of ecological systems to climate change by drawing on multiple lines of evidence from the past and present. Topics include species range shifts, timing, ecosystem function, and feedbacks. The implications for conservation, as well as approaches to mitigating and adapting to climate change, are also explored. Computer-based exercises are used to enhance quantitative reasoning skills and build climate and ecological literacy.

NRES 454: Geographic Information Systems in Natural Reosurces Management (Fall)

NRES 454 is an introduction to geographic information systems (GIS), focusing on spatial data collection, development and analysis in the science and management of natural resources. The topics covered include basic data structures, data sources, data acquisition, data quality, geodesy and map projections, as well as spatial and tabular data analyses, digital elevation data and terrain analyses, cartographic modeling, and cartographic layout. Laboratory exercises provide hand-on experience with the theory and concepts discussed in lecture.

NRES 465: Landscape Ecology (Fall – alternate years)

Landscape ecology is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates the tools and theoretical frameworks of ecology, geography and earth sciences to understand the causes of spatial heterogeneity and examine its consequences for ecological phenomena. The focus of landscape ecology is on the controls, interactions and outcomes of spatial patterns and spatial processes on ecological dynamics at large spatial scales. This explicit recognition of the potential for reciprocity — that is, the notion that spatial pattern can affect ecological processes and vice-versa – is what makes landscape ecology a distinctive subdiscipline of ecology. Spatial heterogeneity results from interacting physical, biological and human processes occurring at a range of spatial and temporal scales and can influence a broad array of ecological processes, such as the flows of energy and nutrients, the dispersal and persistence of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, and the spread and impact of natural disturbances.

NRES 465 is intended to introduce students to the theory, methods and application of landscape ecology. We begin by examining the foundation and concepts of landscape ecology as a framework for understanding landscapes and their management. An important aspect of landscape ecological studies is describing and quantifying spatial pattern, so we spend the second part of the course exploring methods for measuring spatial pattern and considering the relationship between pattern and process. The third part of the course focuses on applying these concepts and methods to fundamental research topics in ecology, including disturbance and population dynamics, biodiversity, and ecosystem processes.