NRE 509: ECOLOGY: Science of Context and Interaction


J. David Allan

Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment
Dana 2066, ude.hcimu|nallad#ude.hcimu|nallad

William S. Currie

Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources and Environment
Dana 2532, ude.hcimu|eirrucw#ude.hcimu|eirrucw

Graduate Student Instructors for 2009:

Kyung Seo Park, SNRE PhD student
Office Hours: Wed. 2-4pm in 2544 DANA

Thomas Neeson, SNRE PhD student
Office Hours: Mon. 3-4pm
Tues. 10-11am
Wed. 1-2pm in 2544 DANA

Allie Schafer, SNRE MS student
Office Hours: Thurs. 11-1pm in 2536 DANA


The natural science core course provides a broad foundational treatment of concepts and processes that operate in ecological systems. It covers interactions among water, soils, the atmosphere, and basic life processes (respiration and photosynthesis) in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including the principles of energy flow and the cycling of matter. It covers ecological principles such as population growth and regulation, trophic interactions, ecological networks, and community change. It covers evolution and natural selection. The course draws examples from some of the dominant habitats on earth, including rivers, lakes, wetlands, forests, deserts, and agricultural systems. Many of the principles and examples covered are designed to give students a foundation for the understanding or study of facets of global change.

Course Objectives

  1. To provide a common foundation in core natural sciences related to natural resources and the environment for all incoming MS students.
  2. To introduce quantitative and qualitative analysis of environmental systems to all MS students while developing a systems perspective and systems modeling skills.
  3. To foster knowledge-based critical thinking and the habit of cross-disciplinary interaction among students.
  4. To provide a transition to graduate school by expecting students to assimilate both basic and advanced information from diverse sources, including the primary scientific literature.

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