ECOL 592 Interdisciplinary Seminar

Future Offerings

Foundations in Evolution

Colleen Webb

Description:This semester we will be working through some fundamental and often classic papers in evolution. I believe that knowing about classic theory and experiments helps us to better understand the contemporary literature as well. How can we know where we are going if we do not know where we have been? The objective this semester is to help students build a broad and basic background in key areas of evolutionary research. I have collected a list of fundamental papers and divided them into eleven subject areas. We will cover at least one paper from each subject area, and enrolled students will be expected to lead discussion on at least one paper. There will be a number of important papers that we will not have time to read, but I hope that this discussion group will help you appreciate the value of a broad knowledge of the fundamental literature and that you will continue to read it. A secondary theme of the course will be techniques for management and leadership of discussions. Subject areas: Evolution of Populations, Systematics, Phylogenetics, Macroevolution, Natural Selection, Speciation, Hybridization, Molecular Evolution, Neutral Theory, Evolution and Development, and Scientific Method/Philosophy.

Credits: 1
First Meeting: 1/21/2015
Meeting Times: Wednesdays 1:00-1:50 p.m.
Classroom: Yates 208
CRN: 10362
Section Number: 1
Cross Listed: BZ 692GV
Enrollment Limit: 15
Background: An interest in learning more about evolution
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Colleen Webb 970-491-4289


Current Offerings: Fall 2014

Sustaining River Hydroecosystems: the interface of physical, biological, and social sciences

Kurt Fausch, Mike Gooseff

Description:In this 2-cr seminar, students will select, summarize, and discuss readings aimed at developing a multidisciplinary understanding of river hydroecosystem structure and function as it applies to managing rivers to sustain freshwater and riparian habitat and biota in the face of human demands and climate change. Students will be evaluated on 1) selecting papers and facilitating one or more discussions of them, 2) active participation in discussions led by others, and 3) an annotated bibliography of literature on sustaining river hydroecosystems at the interface of several relevant disciplines. Instructors will evaluate students in discussions and the bibliography

Credits: 2
Restrictions: Graduate students only
First Meeting: 8/27/2014
Meeting Times: Wednesday 2-3:40
Classroom: Wagar 107
CRN: 60164
Section Number: 1
Cross Listed: Not cross listed
Enrollment Limit: 30
Background: Undergraduate degree in a physical, biological, or social science relevant to sustaining river hydroecosystems
Course Text: None. Readings will be selected jointly by instructors and students.
Instructor Contact Info:
      Kurt Fausch 491-6457
      Mike Gooseff 491-6057

Population and Conservation Genomics

W. Chris Funk

Description:Description: Recent advances in next-generation sequencing and bioinformatics are revolutionizing population and conservation genetics. Population genomics is the study of numerous loci to understand the roles of evolutionary processes (genetic drift, gene flow, selection, and mutation) that shape variation across genomes and populations. Conservation genomics is the application of genomics to address questions important in conservation and management. This course will focus on the growing literature in these related fields. Grading/evaluation: Grading is based entirely on attendance and participation. Regular attendance is expected from all enrolled students.

Credits: 1
Restrictions: BZ 525 Molecular Ecology, BZ 578 Genetics of Natural Populations, or an equivalent course is a required prerequisite.
First Meeting: 8/28/2014
Meeting Times: Thursday 12-1
Classroom: TBD (E444?)
CRN: 60165
Section Number: 2
Cross Listed: NA
Enrollment Limit: 15
Background: Students are required to have an advanced background in population genetics. This is NOT an introductory population genetics/molecular ecology course. BZ 525 Molecular Ecology, BZ 578 Genetics of Natural Populations, or an equivalent course is a required prerequisite. The goal of this discussion group is to delve deeply into papers. Thus, students are expected to already have a firm grasp of population genetics in order to get the most out of the seminar.
Course Text: NA
Instructor Contact Info:
      W. Chris Funk 1-3289

Governance and Adaptive Capacity in the Face of Climate

Dennis Ojima, Michele Betsill

Description:Course Summary This course would explore theoretical and practical aspects of adaptation responses to climate change. Case studies from Colorado region will used to illustrate ways that natural resource managers confront climate-related challenges in Colorado and evaluating adaptive capacity across multi-jurisdictional management of natural resources. The course will use these case studies to identify the governance challenges decision-makers face related to forest management, fire events, energy development, and trout conservation. We will co-develop a series of theoretical/ conceptual papers on these governance challenges and work together to identify specific strategies for advancing social and ecological goals related to these problems. Course structure The class will be limited to 12 students. The class will meet every two weeks for 2-hour sessions. Papers will be assigned for group discussion. Individual and group assignments will be made for evaluation of case studies. Invited scholars and experts will be invited to contribute to the discussions. Assessment of the student effort will consist on discussion participation, written evaluations on assigned papers, and contribution to group papers. Course context In Colorado and across the Intermountain West, climate change is predicted to increase mean annual temperatures and increase the frequency, timing, and severity of climatic events, such as drought. In turn, communities, economic sectors, ecosystems, and species are experiencing greater vulnerability to damage, decline, or loss. Public and private entities charged with protecting and sustaining these values find themselves grappling with structures and strategies to mitigate and adapt to an uncertain climate future. While the emphasis in each of these issues tends to be on technical actions, there is room to learn about the governance structures and strategies that can contribute to enhancing the adaptive capacity of social-ecological systems in the face of an uncertain climatic future.

Credits: 1
First Meeting: 9/4/2014
Meeting Times: TBD: 2 hours every other week
Classroom: NREL Conference Room B215
CRN: 60170
Section Number: 3
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 12
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Dennis Ojima 1-1976
      Michele Betsill 1-5270

Multivariate Analysis for Community Ecology

Monique Rocca, Katie Renwick

Description:In this course, students will learn popular techniques for analyzing multivariate ecological data, with an emphasis on ordination and classification of multivariate data characteristic of community ecology. Students will gain a conceptual understanding of multivariate analyses and interpretation, and will practice implementing these techniques. By the end of the semester, students will be comfortable running community analyses within the R software package and have the skills necessary to perform a multivariate analysis that will stand up to peer review. We highly encourage students to register for 2 credits! In addition to participating in class and completing short weekly assignments, each student taking 2 credits will have the additional requirement of a journal-style manuscript (which may lead to a thesis chapter or a publication), due at the end of the semester. These students should have a dataset of their own with which to apply the techniques learned in the course. Students should have access to a laptop computer running R, and bring it to class each week.

Credits: 1
First Meeting: 8/25/2014
Meeting Times: Tuesdays between Sept 30-Nov 18 (8 weeks); 2-3:40 pm
Classroom: TBD
CRN: 60565
Section Number: 4
Cross Listed: Not cross listed
Enrollment Limit: 20
Background: Graduate statistics (511/512) and an ecology course in the student's discipline (plants, wildlife, etc.)
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Monique Rocca 491-2112
      Katie Renwick

Developing Active Learning Materials and Methods for Teaching Ecology

Tony Joern

Description:Research indicates that active learning increases student performance in undergraduate STEM courses, and many options exist to achieve these goals. In this practicum, my goal is to focus on case studies that will be designed by graduate students on topics of interest to them that would be appropriate for university-level ecology courses. While case studies can be used effectively in many ways, I want graduate students in this class to develop case studies that require more than just class discussion of a narrative that is read before coming to class. By guiding undergraduate students through critical thinking processes, the case studies developed in this course will be aimed at upper division ecology courses, and �¢?�¦ �¢?�¢ Require the undergraduate students to understand an initial narrative outlining the problem, including relevant natural history and background of ecological principles �¢?�¢ Provide evidence that they understand the main overarching questions associated with the case study problem �¢?�¢ Develop critical hypotheses that allow them to answer the questions posed in the case study �¢?�¢ Show the ability to work with and draw conclusions from data presented as part of the case study, including graphing data and interpreting results to test hypotheses �¢?�¢ Synthesize the results of the multiple steps in the case study to understand the problem in a short written narrative guided by questions provided in the case study. In developing these case studies, we will also explicitly include the teaching goals that we want to achieve as a group for each module. I will provide three case studies to get the ball rolling, two that I have been developing for my upper division Fundamentals of Ecology course at Kansas State University, and a third that comes from the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and this introduction will provide a stepping point for developing new case studies by students in the class. In addition to developing new case study modules, students in the class will also "test-drive" and discuss ways to improve each of the case studies developed by others. Ultimately, it may be possible to develop quality case studies that can be submitted to the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University of Buffalo. In addition, all students will have copies of all of the case studies that we develop for use in their own teaching now or in the future. More information on National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science at the University of Buffalo: To generally explore the case collection, find the latest cases, and perform keyword searches, begin at: Anthony Joern University Distinguished Professor of Biology [The instructor will grade the case studies developed by the students and their participation in discussions. The course grade (pass/fail) will be based on the case study grade (70%) and contributions to discussion (30%).]

Credits: 1
First Meeting: 9/5/2014
Meeting Times: 11 am
Classroom: C021 Plant Sciences Building
CRN: 65730
Section Number: 6
Cross Listed:
Enrollment Limit: 10
Course Text:
Instructor Contact Info:
      Tony Joern 1-5261


Previous Offerings

Previous ECOL 592 course descriptions available on the Past 592 page.