BIOL 312.3 Northern Ecosystems
Biol 312.3, Northern Ecosystems - Course Outline for 2008
Time: MWF 8:30-9:30
Location: Room 123, Biology Building
Instructor: Dr. François Messier, Professor, Department of Biology
Contact: email@example.com phone 966-4400 (Room 152 Biology Building)
firstname.lastname@example.org phone 966-5031 (Room 150 Biology Building)
The primary aim of this course is to provide students with a more in-depth exploration of topics introduced in NRTH 101.3 and NRTH 311.3/Geog 351.3. As in those courses, this course details the science underlying key issues involving interactions between people and their environment.
Upon successful completion of Life in the North, students will have:
¨ A more detailed ecological and biological knowledge of the general concepts underlying natural resources.
¨ An appreciation of how scientific studies contribute to the understanding of resource management, ecosystem functioning, and biohazards.
¨ Insight into the complexity of environmental and human systems, and the effects of change on northern ecosystems.
An interdisciplinary understanding of
relationships between cultures of the north, stewardship
This course has been designed for in class delivery. It consists of twelve interconnected modules. The course has been designed to offer equivalency with Circumpolar Studies (BCS) 312: Land and Environment II designed for web based delivery.
- Comprehensive final exam. (40% of final mark, during the final exam period, 3 hours)
- Short-answer tests designed to aid the
student in remaining current with material as it is introduced into the course.
(2 x 20% of final mark; during regular lecture hours,
- Research paper (topics proposed by students
but vetted by the instructor) on a specific problem or issue so that the
student may acquire in-depth understanding of material introduced in the
course. (20% of final mark). The research paper will be due
- The final exam, the two short-answer tests, and the research paper are part of the “required course work” for Biol 312.
Research Paper Overview
Bibliography -- Potential references for your term paper
Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna: Status and Conservation. 2001.
If the above webpage does not work, try:
DEFERRED EXAMINATIONS AND ACADEMIC HONESTY
A student missing an examination must contact the instructor, in person or by email, within 3 working days of the scheduled exam, in order to present the necessary documentation explaining the student’s absence at the exam, and to initiate discussion concerning a possible deferred exam. Otherwise, a grade of zero will be assigned for the missed exam.
Module 1: Frameworks
for Analysis of Land and Environment in the
The application of scientific knowledge is
essential in order to improve our understandings of northern and arctic environments. Science draws on the accumulated knowledge
over generations, and constantly synthesizes new information in order to
explain land and environment relations in the circumpolar North. How do
environmental factors affect habitat? What role do humans play in sustaining
Arctic ecosystems? How is human health linked to environmental changes in the
Module 2: Biocomplexity in the North
Life on Earth is supported by the natural cycling of chemical and biochemical elements. The availability and interaction of these elements on multiple scales has both direct and indirect influences on individual organisms and environmental systems. Living systems also depend on energy flow.
Understanding the sources, sinks, transformations, and feedbacks of these essential elements and energy is a critical step in determining their behaviour under specific environmental conditions. The consequences of human perturbations on essential nutrient cycles in soils, sediments, and other systems must also be recognized.
Module 3: Fisheries
This module outlines the history of fishing in northern
Module 4: Marine Mammals
This module evaluates declining marine mammal
populations in northern
Module 5: Natural Resources
This module examines the mineral resources of Earth’s crust and identifies some metal elements that are extracted from ores. It also evaluates various alternative sources of energy, describes the origin and chemistry of the fossil fuels, and describes the environmental impacts of resource use.
Module 6: Water
Supply and Waste Treatment in the
This module discusses water and waste water
management options for Arctic communities. The module begins with a discussion
of the relationship between clean water and disease in Arctic communities. An
overview of how water is collected and treated for human consumption in the
Module 7: Observations, Sustainability, and the Impacts of Change
evaluates international efforts to address environmental problems in the
Module 8: Food safety, Subsistence Webs, and Nutrition
In this module, the structure and properties of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are identified; and the dietary needs for carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins are outlined. The laws of energy, caloric intake, and energy storage are examined. The presence of food additives and contaminants in the wild and in traditional foods, as well as their effect on nutrition and health, are considered.
Module 9: Diet and Community Health of Circumpolar Peoples
The aim of this module is to promote an understanding
of a possible link between changing traditional diets and community health that
may have substantial consequences for circumpolar peoples. The people living in
Module 10: Food
Traditions and Food Systems in northern
The study of regional food traditions and food systems is one way to understand individual and community identity and community health. In part, food system studies strive to identify and understand nutritional, physiological, and cultural dimensions of what people eat at home and in celebration, how and when food is prepared, and how food is shared among family and friends.
This module examines food systems and subsistence
Module 11: Radioecology and Environmental Stewardship
This module briefly examines the science of nuclear chemistry and radioactivity, the effect on health of radiation, and the need for effective stewardship and containment of radioactive waste. The module further investigates the implications of old mine sites and human developments in northern environments, and the associated biohazards.
module provides a brief background on cancer and its relation to environmental
factors, including pollutants and the use of biomarkers in determining
environmental carcinogens. The module also offers case studies, in the
Polar Bear Spatial Structure Lecture
Note: some pictures removed to reduce file size
|Polar Bears and Pollution|
|Thar She Blows: History of Whaling|
|Athabasca Oil Sands|
|Box 7.1: Example of Stewardship|
|Improving Regional Governance|
|Ferguson et al. article (not required reading)|