since 1965  (really?)

Disturbance Ecology

This course listing applies to a Spring 2010 course. To find current courses, check out the Find a Course page.

Spring 2010
ESPM 198
1 Unit(s)

Human friendly URL (OBSOLETE)


About the Course:

This course will examine the role of disturbances in ecosystems, with a particular emphasis on plants in terrestrial environments.  We will cover broad theories of disturbance ecology, and discuss the applicability of these concepts to numerous ecosystems.  Course material will encompass disturbances that are abiotic (e.g. fire) and biotic (e.g. insect outbreak), natural (e.g. windthrow) and anthropogenic (e.g. timber harvest), and historical (e.g. native disease) and novel (e.g. non-native disease).  We will also discuss compound disturbances, interactions between disturbances and environmental stressors, and human alteration of disturbance regimes.  Most case studies will come from temperate forests, but students will also be free to introduce studies from other environments.  The course will meet once per week for a brief presentation/lecture (approx. 15-20 minutes), followed by a discussion of the week’s readings (approx. 45-60 minutes).  Students who wish to enroll should be graduate students or upper-level undergraduates with an interest in conducting ecological research and/or attending graduate school.

The primary objectives of this course are to provide students with a) a strong understanding of the fundamental concepts of disturbance ecology, b) an ability to “think like scientists” and critically apply these concepts to individual situations, and c) the skills necessary to design and conduct original field experiments, especially studies that test and contribute to current theories of disturbance ecology.   

Each week, students will be expected to read two peer-reviewed scientific papers, and participate in the group discussion of these papers.  Once during the semester, each student will also be required to select a scientific paper (which must be approved by the course facilitator) and present the main points of this paper to the class; depending upon enrollment, presentations may be done alone or in pairs.  To receive a “P”, students must present a paper and miss no more than three classes.  No books or readers are required.  All reading material will be provided electronically.

How to Enroll:

first come, first served

Course Contact: bsramage AT

Faculty Sponsor: Kevin O'Hara

Time & Location:

Benjamin Ramage
15107 MulfordTu 2p-3:30p1/19started

Uploaded Files:

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Course info last modified November 20, 2009. This page has been viewed 2853 times.

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