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Biology 2200 Fundamentals of Ecology

In my opinion, everyone should receive training in ecology. Our personal lives, and our economic systems, depend on ecological processes such as energy flow, nutrient cycling, population regulation and competition.

In this course we examine interactions between organisms and elements of their biological and physical environments.  These interactions are studied on a number of levels: individual, population, community and ecosystem.
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Biology 3530 Vertebrate Zoology

The fundamentals of vertebrate structure, classification and evolution are well over a century old, yet numerous exciting advances in our understanding of the vertebrates occur each year.  In this course we investigate who the vertebrates are and how they got to be this way.  Beginning with the proto-chordates, we examine the evolution of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.  Despite some reliance on these classical categories, we employ cladograms to better understand evolutionary relationships within and between these categories.  Particular emphasis is placed on locomotion, foraging and reproduction.

The laboratory exercises in this course involve exercises illustrating thermoregulation, locomotion, foraging, courtship behaviour, etc.

Biology 3610 Prairie Conservation

As residents of southern Alberta, we are aware of the prairie landscape in which we live.  Unfortunately, prairie is an endangered ecosystem.  In Canada, only 25% of the original prairie landscape remains, with much of this occurring in Alberta in which 40% remains.  However, this remaining prairie is badly fragmented and more is lost each year to cultivation, urban development and various industrial impacts.  In this course we establish the physical and biological determinants of the prairie ecosystem, and then examine the various impacts currently threatening our remaining prairie.  We rely heavily on an ecosystem approach to understand both threats and solutions, covering topics such as cultivation, grazing, water, endangered species and cumulative impacts.

Rather than relying on traditional lectures and exams, most of the course is based on essays and on individual and group assignments.  For each essay, each student will meet with the instructor for a 30 minute tutorial to discuss issues related to their work.
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Environmental Science 2000 Fundamentals of Environmental Science 


This is the foundation course for the Environmental Science degree, but it is also popular as a science elective for students in other disciplines.  We spend the first third of the course covering basic information on the physical and biological forces that have shaped the world around us, with particular emphasis on ecology.  We next examine the growing human population and then the remainder of the course deals with interactions between humans and the natural world.  Thus we examine resource development, stressors and pollution, water, agriculture, forestry and sustainability.