I currently am teaching two courses at Georgetown University:

1) Conservation Biology: Earth is currently in its sixth major extinction event. All forms of biodiversity are being lost at rates unprecedented in the geological record and this event is being caused almost entirely by the actions of a single species: Homo sapiens. The need to mitigate the effects of biodiversity loss has given rise to the science and practice of Conservation Biology. This relatively new discipline encompasses core biological perspectives from the fields of ecology and evolution as well as applied approaches such as range management, forestry, and fisheries biology. Additionally, Conservation Biology intersects with political science, sociology, law, economics, and engineering in its pursuit of conserving biological diversity. In this class we will focus on biological principles that form the basis of successful conservation efforts and explore societal frameworks in which Conservation Biology operates. We will also grapple with a current controversy of how best to approach conservation – from a nature-protectionist or human-centered view.

Prerequisites: Foundations II and Ecology (or permission)

Course textbooks: Conservation Science by Kareiva and Marvier and Half-Earth by E.O. Wilson (recommended)

2) Global Climate Change Ecology: Over the past century, the mean surface temperature of our planet has increased slightly less than 1°C. While this may seem like a small increment, global warming is already profoundly affecting Earth’s organisms and ecological communities, and predictions for the impacts of continued change range from severe to catastrophic. In this class, we will explore the causes and biological consequences of climate change on Earth. Through lectures, discussion, films, critical reading of the literature, and examination of long-term data sets and resources from NASA’s Earth Observatory, students will gain an understanding of: how Earth’s climate system functions, how past climatic fluctuations compare to projected future changes, how human activities contribute to climate change, how climate change affects organisms, communities, and ecosystems, and how science is (or is not) translated into policy.

Prerequisites: Foundations II and Ecology (or permission)

Course textbooks: None (primary literature and IPCC Reports)