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    Vassar College
   
 
  Dec 16, 2017
 
 
    
Catalogue 2017-2018
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ENST 381 - Topics in Ecosystem Ecology - Ecosystem Structure and Function

Semester Offered: Spring
1 unit(s)
(Same as BIOL 381 ) Ecosystems are complex systems, where biotic and abiotic factors interact to create the world we see around us. Understanding the nature of ecosystems is fundamental to understanding how disturbance and change in a dynamic world will influence ecosystem stability. This is especially critical as we enter the Anthropocene; a time in our planets history where one species, modern humans, dominate. Major changes brought about by increased human activity include changing climate regimes, invasive species spread and biodiversity loss. This course explores how ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial, are assembled (structured) and how different ecosystems process energy and matter (function). We use our understanding of structure and function to explore how different ecosystems respond to changes in the environment (including climate change, invasive species introductions, loss of biodiversity and pollution). A class project will explore an ecosystem scale problem, and students will develop a plan for effectively communicating the scientific understanding of the problem to multiple stakeholders. Ms. Christenson.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 241 .



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