All ES courses

Courses with an ES number

(click on "more" after each course for a detailed description)

ES 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science with Laboratory  more

Griffith (FA), Thomas (FA) (Biological Sciences), Higgins (SP) | Fall 2014, Spring 2015 | 1.25 unit

How can we understand environmental problems if we don't understand the environment? In this course, we will approach environmental issues as scientific investigators: What do we need to know in order to understand ozone depletion? Mercury pollution? Ocean acidification? Habitat degradation? These are complex issues that are distinct in many ways, but which often share fundamental concepts that draw from many scientific disciplines. By examining the science behind these problems, we will develop the skills required to address them and begin to build a toolbox to tackle new and different problems. Laboratories examine the relationship between humans and the environment by exploring the campus and beyond. We will investigate important issues through hands-on physical data collection, high tech analysis, and modeling/mapping. ES 101, ES 102, and ES 103 may be taken in any order.

Prereq: QR basic skills component. Open to first years and sophomores; juniors and seniors may only enroll with permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 102 Environment and Society: Addressing Climate Change  more

Higgins (FA), Turner (SP) | Fall 2014, Spring 2015 | 1.0 unit

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies, with a focus on a climate change. Major concepts that will be examined include: the state of scientific research, the role of science, politics, and economics in environmental decisionmaking, and the importance of history, ethics and justice in approaching climate change. The central aim of the course is to help students develop the interdisciplinary research skills necessary to pose questions, investigate problems, and develop strategies that will help us address our relationship to the environment. ES 101, ES 102, and ES 103 may be taken in any order.

Prereq: QR basic skills component
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 103 FYS: Environment and Society: Food, Agriculture, and Sustainability  more

Turner | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

Where does our food come from? Is the way we grow, distribute, and consume it sustainable? What is the difference between organic and conventional agriculture? Are technologies, such as genetic modification, ethically defensible? How does our assessment change if we consider agriculture in a developing country in Africa? To answer these questions, students will take an interdisciplinary approach to environmental studies that draws on economics, politics, history,  ethics, and the sciences. Students will actively investigate these questions through activities such as hands-on research on a long-term agricultural research plot on campus, fieldtrips to investigate practices at nearby farms, and policy-relevant debates in class. This course fulfills the 100-level interdisciplinary course requirement for the Environmental Studies major.

Prereq: None
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 201/GEOS 201 Environmental, Health, and Sustainability Sciences with Laboratory  more

Brabander (Geosciences) | Fall 2014 | 1.25 units

Problems in environmental, health, and sustainability sciences are inherently transdisciplinary and require a diverse skill set to frame, analyze and solve. This course will focus on developing a toolbox of skills including; systems level thinking, field and analytical methods, biogeochemical analysis (natural waters, soils, and other environmental materials), and modeling with a goal of building a science-based foundation for the analysis of complex issues at the interface between humans and the environment. Students will conduct semester-long research projects and will present their results in a final poster session.

Prereq: Any 100-level GEOS course (except GEOS 111), ES 101, SUST 201, or permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 203 Cultures of Environmentalism  more

Turner | Spring 2015 | 1.0 unit

What is environmentalism? This course explores how different communities of people have answered that question in the United States and abroad. It focuses on the mainstream environmental movement and other formulations of environmentalism, such as environmental justice, deep ecology, animal rights, and indigenous peoples' concerns for the environment. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining the role of culture in shaping how people have valued the environment and organized to protect it. What role do the arts, popular culture, and literature play in environmental activism? What are the ethical and philosophical foundations of modern environmental movements? How is environmental activism historically specific and shaped by particular constructions of race, gender, religion, and nature? The goal of this course is to consider how environmental activism and decision making can and must be sensitive to cultural context. Students are required to undertake a 15-20 hour service-learning project with a Boston-area environmental group.

Prereq: ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103, or permission of the instructor
Dist: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 209 Agroecology. The Science of Sustainable Food Systems with Laboratory  more

Goodall (Botany Fellow) | Summer I 2014 | 1.25 unit

Agricultural production is embedded within, and interacts with, ecological, economic, and social systems. How do we know what impact food production has on the ecosystem, farmers, consumers, and others? Agroecology is a field that applies ecological principles to agricultural systems, explores social implications of food systems, and seeks solutions to food production and distribution through quantitative and qualitative analysis. The objectives of this course are to understand the fundamentals of agroecology, learn research design techniques to test questions related to these fundamentals, and understand analytical tools that reflect a whole-systems approach to evaluating the food system. We will pair lectures and discussions in the classroom with research on local farms, including farmer interviews, farm mapping and analysis of ecological factors on the farm. 

Prereq: BISC 108 or ES 103 or equivalent
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 210/GEOS 210 Hydrogeology- Water and Pollutants with Laboratory  more

Besancon (Geosciences) | Fall 2014 | 1.25 units

Clean water supply is a high priority for both developed and underdeveloped communities worldwide. Limits to supply and their implications for an increasing population make a clear understanding essential for citizens. Water sources and movement of water from the atmosphere through the earth's surface and subsurface will be examined. Laboratory will include field and laboratory analyses of physical and chemical properties and pollutant issues of local community supplies including the Wellesley campus, and Towns of Wellesley, Natick, and Norwell.

Prereq: Any 100-level GEOS course (except 111) or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 212/RAST 212 Lake Baikal: The Soul of Siberia   more

Moore (Biological Sciences), Hodge (Russian) | Not Offered in 2014-15 | 1.25 units |

The ecological and cultural values of Lake Baikal – the oldest, deepest, and most biotically rich lake on the planet – are examined. Lectures and discussion in spring prepare students for the three-week field laboratory taught at Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia in August. Lectures address the fundamentals of aquatic ecology and the role of Lake Baikal in Russian literature, history, art, music, and the country's environmental movement. Laboratory work is conducted primarily out-of-doors and includes introductions to the flora and fauna, field tests of student-generated hypotheses, meetings with the lake's stakeholders, and tours of ecological and cultural sites surrounding the lake. 

Prereq: or corequisites: ES 101 or BISC 111; RUSS 101, and permission of the instructors. Preference will be given to students who have also taken HIST 211. Application required.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Language and Literature

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 214/POL2 214 Social Causes and Consequences of Environmental Problems   more

DeSombre | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

This course focuses on the social science explanations for why environmental problems are created, the impacts they have, the difficulties of addressing them, and the regulatory and other actions that succeed in mitigating them. Topics include: externalities and the politics of unpriced costs and benefits, collective action problems and interest group theory, time horizons in decision making, the politics of science, risk and uncertainty, comparative political structures, and cooperation theory. Also addressed are different strategies for changing environmental behavior, including command and control measures, taxes, fees, and other market instruments, and voluntary approaches. These will all be examined across multiple countries and levels of governance.

Prereq: ES 102 or ES 103, or one course in political science, or permission of instructor
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 220 Environmental Limits and Conservation with Laboratory   more

Griffith | Spring 2015 | 1.25 unit

The growing use of global resources challenges our ability to conserve resources themselves, as well as species, ecosystems, and environmental quality. This brings up fundamental questions regarding limits to the sustainability of human and natural systems. This course investigates these far-reaching concepts by examining topics such as fundamentals and implications of thermodynamics, energy and material flow through human and natural systems, conservation of resources and biodiversity, and natural resource management. We will also explore the role of science and technology in surmounting previous limits (e.g. energy consumption and agricultural yields), as well as the implications of inherent limits that may never be broken. Laboratory work will focus on quantitative skills and tools used to assess the sustainability of different systems.

Prereq: One of the following: ES 101, GEOS 101, GEOS 102, BISC 108 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences; Mathematical Modeling

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 226 Archaeology of Environmental Change  more

Vining (Anthropology) | Spring 2015 | 1.0 unit

Modern concerns about climate change and human impacts on the environment are the most recent in a long history of human – environmental interactions. Closer attention to long-term human-environmental interactions shows we have a constant history of impacting environments —both subtle and profoundly—throughout the world. This class will examine such interactions from a long-term perspective spanning the past 10,000 years. Through case studies in Environmental Archaeology, we will examine notions of ―"pristine wildernesses", how past cultural adaptations have created sustainable environments or caused environmental deterioration, and will scrutinize environmentally-driven models of societal change. With this focus on anthropogenic environments, we will look critically at models that externalize humans as ecological forces. We will also explore selected multidisciplinary approaches to reconstructing past human – environmental dynamics.

Prereq: None. Prior coursework in anthropology (socio-cultural, archaeology, or bioarchaeology), environmental studies, earth sciences, or related discipline preferred
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 228/ECON 228 Environmental and Resource Economics  more

Keskin (Economics) | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

This course considers the economic aspects of resource and environmental issues. After examining the concepts of externalities, public goods, and common property resources, we will discuss how to measure the cost and benefits of environmental policy, in order to estimate the socially optimal level of the environmental good. Applications of these tools will be made to air and water pollution, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and global climate. In addressing each of these problems we will compare various public policy responses such as regulation, marketable permits and tax incentives.

Prereq: ECON 101
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 229 Latin America: Topics in Food Systems and the Environment  more

Goodall (Botany Fellow) | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

From an ecological perspective, Latin America is a vast region composed of numerous biomes: tropical forests, savannas, deserts, mountains, and temperate forests and grasslands. Culturally, this region is home to diverse human communities including 600 indigenous groups. Economically, many countries in Latin America depend upon the export of natural resources and agricultural products. Growing populations, increased global trade, and a complicated history of colonization put pressure on all of these areas, creating a fascinating and important backdrop for exploring issues in food systems and the environment. Topics will be guided by student interest, but may include food justice, agroecology, water rights, biodiversity conservation, biopiracy, transnational agreements, farmer networks and social movements.

Prereq: ES 101, ES 102, or ES 103
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 247/BISC 247 Plant Diversity and Ecology with Laboratory  more

Griffith | Fall 2014 | 1.25 unit

This course is a combination of "What's that wildflower?" and "Why does it grow over there and not here?" We begin by examining large-scale patterns of plant diversity from an evolutionary and phylogenetic perspective  and then shift to an ecological perspective. Along the way, we zoom in to specific concepts and processes that help us understand overall patterns. Laboratories will primarily be taught in the field and greenhouses and will include plant identification, observational and experimental studies, and long-term study of forest communities on the Wellesley campus. Laborities will also include aspects of experimental design and data analysis. The goal of the course is not only to train students in botany and plant ecology, but to engage them in the world of plants every time they step outside. 

Prereq: ES 101 or BISC 108 or BISC 111 or BISC 113 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 289 Environmental Mapping and Analysis  more

Griffith, Ferwerda (Research and Instructional Support) | Not Offered in 2014-15 | 1.25 unit

Today's maps are much more than a means to get from here to there—they are rich with information and have become vital tools for addressing some of the world's most pressing environmental problems. Modern spatial analysis and mapping methods, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), have opened up new ways to discover, interpret, and predict complex spatial patterns and systems. This course offers students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art spatial tools, statistical analyses, and data visualization in order to study multidisciplinary topics such as environmental justice, natural resource management/economics, environmental pollution, and biodiversity conservation. The combined lecture/lab format of the course in addition to its two instructors provides a thorough immersion into an evolving and exciting field.

Prereq: Fulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and ES 101, ES 102, or ES 103 or permission of the instructor
Dist: Fulfills the Quantitative Reasoning Overlay course requirements

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 299 Environmental History  more

Turner | Not Offered in 2014-15 | 1.0 unit

This course examines the relationship between nature and society in American history. The course will consider topics such as the decimation of the bison, the rise of Chicago, the history of natural disasters, and the environmental consequences of war. There are three goals for this course: First, we will examine how humans have interacted with nature over time and how nature, in turn, has shaped human society. Second, we will examine how attitudes toward nature have differed among peoples, places, and times and we will consider how the meanings people give to nature inform their cultural and political activities. Third, we will study how these historical forces have combined to shape the American landscape and the human and natural communities to which it is home. While this course focuses on the past, an important goal is to understand the ways in which history shapes how we understand and value the environment as we do today.

Prereq: ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103, or an American history course, or permission of the instructor
Dist: Historical Studies

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 300 Environmental Decisionmaking  more

DeSombre | Spring 2015 | 1.0 units

An interdisciplinary seminar in which students work together in small groups to understand and develop solutions for current environmental problems. Each year, we focus on a given environmental issue of concern to our community, e.g. environmental implications of building design, energy use, or water quality. In particular, we work to understand its scientific background, the political processes that lead to potential solutions, and the ethical and environmental justice implications. Student-led research provides the bulk of the information about the issue and its role in our local environment; lectures and readings provide supplementary information about the local situation and the global context.

Prereq: A declared major or minor in environmental studies, ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103, and completion of the three core distribution requirements, or permission of the instructor. This course is only open to juniors and seniors.
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 307/BISC 307 Advanced Topics in Ecology with Laboratory   more

Staff | Spring 2015 | 1.25 units

Topic for 2014-15: TBA.

Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 312S/POL2 312S Seminar: Environmental Policy   more

TBA | Not offered in 2013-14 | 1.0 unit

Focuses both on how to make and how to study environmental policy. Examines issues essential in understanding how environmental policy works and explores these topics in depth through case studies of current environmental policy issues. Students will also undertake an original research project and work in groups on influencing or creating local environmental policy.

Prereq: ES 214 or one 200-level unit in political science and permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors. 
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 313 Environmental Impact Assessment   more

Higgins | Spring 2014 | 1.0 unit

Our environment is constantly changing as a result of anthropogenic events; we can apply scientific principles and assessment tools to reduce the adverse impacts that our actions have on the environment. Environmental impact assessment is the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts or effects of proposed projects, products, and decisions relative to the current state of the total environment. This course teaches the scientific fundamentals of environmental impact assessment, along with the related approaches of environmental risk assessment, life cycle assessment and industrial ecology, that can help us make informed choices about how to minimize environmental harm and make informed choices about alternatives. These tools will be applied to case studies in class, and a semester-long team project.

Prereq: One introductor ES course, and one 200-level science course, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 325/POL3 325 International Environmental Law   more

DeSombre | Spring 2015 | 1.0 unit

For international environmental problems, widespread international cooperation is both important and quite difficult. Under what conditions have states been able to cooperate to solve international environmental problems? Most international efforts to address environmental problems involve international law—how does such law function? What types of issues can
international environmental law address and what types can it not? This course addresses aspects of international environmental politics as a whole, with particular attention to the international legal structures used to deal with these environmental problems. Each student will additionally become an expert on one international environmental treaty to be researched throughout the course.

Prereq: ES 214 or POL3 221 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 327/BISC 327 Seminar. Topics in Biodiversity   more

Jones (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2015 | 1.0 unit

Topic of 2014-15: Biology in Natural and Designed Ecosystems. This course will examine biological communities along a gradient from natural ecosystems to the built environment. What can we learn by applying concepts from community ecology to human-dominated landscapes? How important is biodiversity in urban and suburban settings, and how is human health connected to the biological communities we inhabit? Students will discuss primary literature, explore and describe a range of biological communities on and around campus, and, as a final projectm design small-scale ecosystems (aka gardens, indoors or out, terrestrial or aquatic).

Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 347/BISC 347 Advanced Plant Diversity and Ecology with Laboratory   more

Griffith (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2014 | 1.25 units

This course meets along with ES 247/BISC 247 and offers an opportunity for students to engage more deeply with the material and perform independent research. Students will be expected to more thoroughly review and reference peer-reviewed literature and assist in leading in-class discussions. Additionally, each student will develop and conduct an experiment (or observational study) over the course of the semester that examines mechanisms of plant diversity and coexistence.

Prereq: BISC 201 or ES 220 or BISC 207 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 381/POL1 381 United States Environmental Politics   more

Turner | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

This course examines the politics of environmental issues in the United States. The course has two primary goals: First, to introduce students to the institutions, stakeholders, and political processes important to debates over environmental policy at the federal level. Second, to develop and practice skills of analyzing and making decisions relevant to environmental politics and policy. Drawing on the literature of environmental politics and policy, this course will consider how environmental issues are framed in political discourse, various approaches to environmental advocacy and reform, and the contested role of science in environmental politics. The course will be organized around environmental case studies, including endangered species conservation, public lands management, air and water pollution, and toxics regulation.

Prereq: A 200-level ES course of POL1 200 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 383 The Science of Compliance  more

Higgins | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

For more than 40 years U.S. environmental policies have been passed, amended and enforced with the purpose of protecting human health and preserving the environment. This course will examine the evolution of technologies to meet the goals of major U.S. environmental policies including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act and the role that available technologies play in setting the enforceable standards within policies. We will learn fundamental scientific principles of water treatment, wastewater treatment, and air pollution control technologies and examine how scientists and engineers employ these technologies to meet policy goals. Students will further examine the relationship between a recent or future environmental policy and technological evolution.

Prereq: ES 101 or ES 220 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 399 Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Environmental Synthesis and Communication more

Turner | Not Offered 2014-15 | 1.25 unit

Tax carbon? Label genetically modified crops? Ban endocrine disruptors? In this course, we will engage with such questions and related environmental sustainability issues as public writers. Students will choose one environmental issue, which will be the focus of their environmental “beat” during the semester. They will draw on an interdisciplinary toolset from environmental
studies to analyze and communicate the scientific, economic, political, and ethical dimensions of pressing policy issues. Students will conduct independent research to produce weekly articles, such as op-eds, blog posts, press releases, book reviews, policy memos, and interviews with environmental professionals. Class sessions will be organized as writing workshops focused on the interdisciplinary analysis and content of student work.

Prereq: Declared major or minor in Environmental Studies and completion of the required introductory courses and 200-level core courses for the major or minor, and permission of the instructor. It fulfills the capstone course requirement for ES majors.
Dist: None.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Individual Study

ES 250 or 350 (Research or Individual Study) can be advised by any member of the advisory faculty in environmental studies. They may count towards the area of concentration. A half-unit course may only count as credit towards the major when combined with another half-unit course. Only two units of independent study may be counted towards the major. ES350 courses may not be used to fulfill the minimum requirement that two electives be at the 300-level.

ES 250GH Environmental Studies Reading Group  more

Staff | Not offered 2014-15 | 0.5 unit

The ES program runs a weekly reading group on changing topics. Readings will be chosen based on the interests of the participating students and faculty members. Students who enroll commit to coming to each week's discussion, preparing a set of responses to the week's reading, and, in collaboration with other group members, selecting some of the weekly topics and readings. Grading is mandatory Credit/No Credit..

Prereq: Permission of instructor, normally limited to students who have taken two courses in Environmental Studies
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 250 Research or Individual Study  more

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 250H Research or Individual Study  more

Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 350 Research or Individual Study  more

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 350H Research or Individual Study  more

Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 360 Senior Thesis Research  more

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqBy permission of the advisory faculty. See Honors in Environmental Studies.
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ES 370 Senior Thesis  more

Fall and Spring | 1.0 units

PrereqES 360 and permission of the department.
Dist: None

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Courses for credit towards the ES major or minor

AFR 226 Environmental Justice, "Race," and Sustainable Development   more

Steady (Africana Studies) | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

An investigation of the extent to which the causes and consequences of environmental degradation are influenced by social inequality and the devaluation of indigenous peoples. The course will examine how the poor, indigenous peoples and people of color are subjected to environmental hazards. Topics include the link between negative environmental trends and social inequality; the social ecology of slums, ghettos and shanty towns; the disproportionate exposure of some groups to pollutants, toxic chemicals, and carcinogens; dumping of hazardous waste in Africa and other Third World countries; and industrial threats to the ecology of small island states in the Caribbean. The course will evaluate Agenda 21, the international program of action from the Earth Summit designed to halt environmental degradation and promote sustainable development.

Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

ASTR 223/GEOS 223 Planetary Climates   more

Watters (Astronomy) | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

We've all heard about recent and ongoing climate change on Earth. What about the climate 100 million years ago, or weather patterns on Venus and climate change on Mars? In this course, we'll explore the evolution of the climate system on four worlds in our solar system: the Earth, Mars, Venus, and Saturn's moon Titan. We'll examine how geologists learn about the history of Earth's climate and how it has changed over time, as well as the sources of modern climate change and its impact on life. The course will also explore the techniques that planetary scientists use to learn about the atmospheres and surface environments on other worlds. Normally offered in alternate years. This course is also offered at the 300-level as ASTR 323/GEOS 323.

Prereq: Any 100 level course in ASTR; or GEOS 101, GEOS 102, or GEOS 206; or ES 101; or permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BISC 108 Environmental Horticulture with Laboratory   more

Jones, Goodall, McDonough, Thomas | Spring 2015 | 1.25 unit

This course will examine how plants function, both as individual organisms and as critical members of ecological communities, with special emphasis on human uses of plants. Topics will include plant adaptations, reproduction, environmentally sound landscape practices, urban horticulture, and the use of medicinal plants. The laboratory involves extensive use of the greenhouses, experimental design, data collection and analysis, and field trips.

Prereq: QR basic skills component
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BISC 201 Ecology with Laboratory  more

Hughes, Dolce | Fall 2014 | 1.25 unit

An introduction to the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments. Topics include evolutionary adaptation in dynamic environments, behavioral ecology and life-history strategies, population growth and regulation, species interactions (competition, parasitism, mutualism, predation) and their consequences, and the structure and function of biological communities and ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on experimental ecology and its uses in addressing environmental issues such as biological control of pests, conservation of endangered species and global climate change. Laboratories occur primarily in the field where students explore and study local habitats, including meadows, forests, alpine tundra, bogs, dunes, marshes, lakes, and streams.

PrereqBISC 108 or BISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BISC 202 Evolution with Laboratory  more

Sequeira (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2014 | 1.25 unit

Examination of evolution, the central paradigm of biology, at the level of populations, species, and lineages. Topics include the genetics of populations, the definition of species, the roles of natural selection and chance in evolution, the reconstruction of phylogeny using molecular and morphological evidence, and patterns in the origination, diversity, and extinction of species over time.

PrereqBISC 110/112 and BISC 111/113
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BISC 210 Marine Biology with Laboratory  more

Moore, Hughes (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2014 | 1.25 unit

Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth's surface and are our planet's primary life support system. This course examines adaptations and interactions of plants, animals and their environments in marine habitats. Focal habitats include the photic zone of the open ocean, the deep-sea, subtidal and intertidal zones, estuaries, and coral reefs. Emphasis is placed on the dominant organisms, food webs, and experimental studies conducted within each habitat. Laboratories will emphasize primarily field work outdoors in marine habitats where students will gather data for the testing of student-originated hypotheses.

PrereqBISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BISC 308 Tropical Ecology with Laboratory  more

Koniger, Helluy (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2014 | 1.25 unit

Tropical rain forests and coral reefs seem to invite superlatives. They are among the most fascinating, diverse, productive, but also most endangered ecosystems on earth. These topics are addressed during the fall lectures in preparation for the laboratory part of the course which takes place in Central America during wintersession. We first travel to a small island part of an atoll bordering the world's second longest barrier reef off the coast of Belize. In the second half of the field course we explore an intact lowland rain forest in Costa Rica. Laboratory work is carried out primarily outdoors and includes introductions to flora and fauna, and implementation of research projects designed during the fall. Normally offered in alternate years. Subject to Dean's Office approval.

Prereq BISC 201, 207, or 210, and permission of instructor; Application required
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BISC 314 Environmental Microbiology and Laboratory  more

Klepac-Ceraj (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2015 | 1.25 unit

A field-based exploration of the microbial world centered on distinct microbial habitats visited locally. Short lectures and readings from primary literature will be combined with trips to visit a diverse set of microbial environments where students will collect samples for microbial isolation as well as culture-independent community assessment. In the laboratory, students will learn how to identify and design media for selective isolation of microbes involved in processes such as: methanotrophy, sulfur oxidation, nitrogen fixation, syntrophism and symbiosis, fermentation of ethanol and aging of cheese. Student participation and discussion of original scientific literature will be emphasized.

PrereqCHEM 211 plus any of the following: BISC 201, 202, 209, 210, 219 or 220 or permission of instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BISC 319 Evolution and Conservation Genetics with Laboratory  more

Sequeira | Spring 2015 | 1.25 unit

Oceanic archipelagos such as Galápagos stand at a crossroads: while many still retain most of its original species, ecological degradation is proceeding rapidly. We will focus on the study of the components of accumulation of species diversity in island systems and of the forces or agents that can threaten that endemic diversity. By looking at relationships between organisms, populations and species, we can interpret how historical processes can leave evolutionary footprints on the geographic distribution of traits. Additionally, analyzing genetic patterns within island populations we can detect signals of demographic growth or decline and evaluate the role of genetic factors in population persistence. After a series of introductory lectures, the course will involve student presentations and discussion of primary literature examining cases in archipelagos (Hawaii, Canaries and Galápagos). In the laboratory, we will explore computational biology tools for analysis of DNA sequences, and apply methods of phylogeny, phylogeography reconstruction and population demographics. We will also explore the growing field of molecular dating of evolutionary events.

PrereqBISC 201 or 202 or 210 or 219 or by permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

GEOS 101 Earth Processes and the Environment with Laboratory  more

Brabander, Gilbert, Waller | Fall 2014 | 1.25 units

Geologic processes both rapid (earthquakes and landslides) and slow (mountain building and sea level rise) are intimately linked with sustaining the diversity of life on the planet. This course will examine these and other processes in which the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere are linked via the flow of energy and mass. Laboratory exercises and field trips will introduce skills needed to observe and document processes shaping our environment. Problem solving in small groups during class time will foster critical thinking, and classroom debates between larger teams will focus research and communications skills on current issues in geosciences such as building and removing dams, and the science surrounding global climate change.

PrereqFulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement; Not open to students who have taken GEOS 102
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

GEOS 102 The Dynamic Earth with Laboratory   more

Hawkins, Besancon, Monecke | Fall 2014, Spring 2015 | 1.25 units

The Earth is a dynamic planet - driven by processes that operate on its surface and within. In this course we study these processes as well as interactions between the solid earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere that together produce the environment we live in. Topics covered include the origin and history of the earth, plate tectonics, the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, hydrology, landscape evolution, and global climate; these processes influence our lives daily. Laboratory exercises, project work, and local field trips provide hands-on opportunities to develop key concepts and hone observational and analytical skills.

PrereqQR basics skills. Not open to students who have taken GEOS 101
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

GEOS 208 Oceanography   more

Besancon | Spring 2015 | 1.0 unit

The Earth is an ocean planet. Covering 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holding 97 percent of the EARth's water, the oceans are perhaps our planet's most distinctive feature. This course will address fundamental questions about the oceans such as, why do we have oceans and ocean basins? Why do we have ocean currents? How have the interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes produced the ocean we have today? Why should we strive to learn more about the oceans, and what are the links between the oceans and Earth's climate? In-class exercises, case studies, and data analysis will emphasize fundamental oceanographic processes and problem solving skills. A mandatory field trip to the coast will allow students to explore coastal processes in action. 

Prereq: Any 100-level GEOS, ES or BISC course, or permission of the instructor 
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

GEOS 304 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy with Laboratory   more

Monecke | Fall 2014 | 1.25 unit

Sediments and sedimentary rocks cover most of the Earth's present surface. Sedimentology encompasses the study of the origin, transport, deposition and lithification of sedimentary
rocks, and is critical to accurate interpretation of the geologic rock record. Observations of modern sedimentary processes illuminate past environments; sedimentary strata record evidence of mountain building and seismic activity, glacial advances and paleoclimate cycles, and preserve the fossil record. Natural resources including groundwater, coal and petroleum are found in sedimentary rocks. Society is impacted by sedimentary processes in popular human habitats including coastlines and flood plains. Readings and discussions build students' familiarity with topics such as sediment transport, stratigraphy, and modern and ancient depositional environments. A semester-long project, laboratory exercises and weekend field trips emphasize field methods, rock identification, and data collection, analysis and interpretation. Normally offered in alternate years.

PrereqGEOS 200, GEOS 203, or permission of the instructor 
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

GEOS 315 Environmental Geochemistry with Laboratory   more

Brabander (Geosciences) | Spring 2015 | 1.25 unit

Accurately predicting the fate and transport of naturally occurring toxic elements and anthropogenic compounds in the environment requires a broad set of multidisciplinary skills. This course introduces geochemical approaches including mass balance, residence time, isotope fractionation, and thermodynamic and kinetic modeling necessary to fingerprint sources of pollutants and track them in water, soil, and plants. These fundamentals will be explored in several classic case studies and in semester-long geochemical research projects conducted by small groups. 

PrereqOne course above the 100-level in two of the following disciplines: Geosciences, Chemistry, Biological Sciences or Environmental Studies, or permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

GEOS 320 Isotope Geochemistry   more

Brabander (Geosciences) | Not Offered 2014-15 | 1.0 unit

This seminar-style course will use the primary literature to study state-of-the-art techniques in isotope geochemistry. Radiogenic, cosmogenic, and stable isotope systematics will be explored with applications ranging from geochronology, tectonics, fate and transport of pollutants, and the use of isotopes to trace biogeochemical processes. Field trips to Boston area isotope labs and opportunities for collaborative research projects will complement the seminar.

PrereqAny 200-level GEOS course or permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

PHIL 233 Environmental Ethics   more

Matthes (Philosophy) | Fall 2014 | 1.0 unit

Do non-human animals, plants, species, ecosystems or wilderness have moral value beyond their relation to human interests? Do we have moral duties to refrain from harming the natural world or to preserve it for future generations? How should we weigh up environmental concerns against other concerns (such as the elimination of poverty or economic growth) in cases where they come into conflict? How should the benefits of the environment, and the burdens of conserving it, be shared across individuals or countries? Does recognition of the importance of the environment call for a brand new kind of moral philosophy or merely a more sophisticated application of an old one? This course will examine a variety of philosophical answers to these questions and apply those answers to a set of pressing current issues, including global climate change; population policy and reproductive freedom; the local food movement; and the use of non-human animals for food, research and entertainment.

PrereqOne course in philosophy or environmental studies, or permission of the instructor
DistReligion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

POL3 332 Seminar. People, Agriculture and the Environment   more

Paarlberg (Political Science) | Spring 2015 | 1.0 units

An examination of linkages between agricultural production, population growth, and environmental degradation, especially in the countries of the developing world. Political explanations will be sought for deforestation, desertification, habitat destruction, species loss, water pollution, flooding, salinization, chemical poisoning, and soil erosion – all of which are products of agriculture. These political explanations will include past and present interactions with rich countries, as well as factors currently internal to poor countries. Attention will be paid to the local, national, and international options currently available to remedy the destruction of rural environments in the developing world. This course may qualify as either a comparative politics or an international relations unit for the political science major, depending upon the student's choice of research paper topic.

PrereqPOL2 204 or POL3 323. Enrollment limited; interested students must fill out a seminar application available in the political science department office or on the department website
DistSocial and Behavioral Analysis

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

 

Contact Us

Contact Us

Environmental Studies Program
Pendleton Hall East 227
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Beth DeSombre
Director

Jessica Hunter
Program Coordinator

Tel: 781.283.2800