Fall 2015

Erle Ellis: Courses

[Full Teaching Record at UMBC & Harvard GSD]
Hopetoun Falls, Australia GES 120

Introduction to Environmental Science & Conservation

This course introduces the fundamentals on how earth systems and ecosystems work, how they are interconnected, and how humans utilize and impact natural resource systems. Environmental problems and solutions are examined and natural resource conservation strategies and policies are reviewed. Topics include ecosystem processes, climate and climate change, biodiversity and endangered species, land degradation and deforestation, human population growth, agriculture, and water and soil resources. [3 credits]
Pohkara Nepal GES 305

Landscape Ecology

Landscape ecology is a new, integrative, discipline that explores the spatial patterning of ecological processes across living landscapes. This course introduces the fundamentals of ecology within a landscape ecology context and then applies these concepts as tools for sustainable management of landscape structure and function at local, regional and global scales. Prerequisites: GES 308 or GES 313 or BIO 301, and GES 110 or 120. [3 credits]
GPS in the field

GES 405/605

Applied Landscape Ecology

This course applies the tools of landscape ecology, including GIS, GPS, remote sensing, aerial photography and landscape classification to explore the spatial patterning of ecological processes across landscapes at different scales. Hands-on lab and field exercises are used to develop understanding and skills necessary for students to plan and conduct their own investigations of landscape pattern, process, and change in local and regional landscapes in collaboration with the instructor. The course includes 4 full day Saturday field trips, scheduling to be arranged. Students enrolling for graduate credit will guide the design and execution of original group research projects. Prerequisites: GES 305 or GES 313 (undergraduates) and GES 386/686, or permission of instructor. [4 credits]
The Biosphere

GES 412/612

Biogeochemical Cycles in the Global Environment

This course explores the chemistry and cycling of elements across the Earth's surface and atmosphere, with special emphasis on human-induced changes in biogeochemistry that are driving global warming, ocean acidification, acid rain, ozone depletion, water pollution, and nutrient saturation of freshwater, estuarine and coastal environments. Basic biogeochemical processes will be introduced and then integrated to explain the global cycles of water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur and how these are changed by human activities. Students enrolling for graduate credit are required to design an original research project relating to their Thesis or Dissertation work. Prerequisites: GES 110, 111 or 120, GES 308 or BIO 301, and CHEM 102, or permission of instructor. [3 credits]
GES 485 fieldwork (2001)

GES 485/685

Field Methods in Geography & Environmental Systems

Environmental Mapping of Local Landscapes

Students gain hands-on experience with field methods for environmental mapping, including sampling, mapping, and spatial analysis of soils, vegetation, soil organisms, and land use patterns in local landscapes using GIS, GPS, imagery, and other techniques. The class will meet one session each week and four full-day Saturday sessions; scheduling to be arranged. Students will work in teams and prepare final projects that will be presented as scientific posters and on the web. Students enrolling for graduate credit are required to design an original research project relating to their Thesis or Dissertation work. Prerequisites: senior or graduate standing, GES 386, and at least one 300 or 400-level physical geography or environmental science course, or permission of instructor. [3 credits]

GES 400/600 (special topics)

Anthropogenic Biomes:

Global Ecology of the Human Biosphere

Humans have fundamentally altered ecological patterns and processes across most of the terrestrial biosphere, including biodiversity, primary productivity and the cycles of carbon and other elements. This course will investigate these new global ecological patterns and processes using the concept of Anthropogenic Biomes: the global ecological patterns created by sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems. Coursework will combine readings from the primary scientific literature with discussions and written work to build a more complete scientific framework for understanding the global ecology of the human biosphere. Prerequisites: GES 110 or 120 and GES 308, GES 313, or BIO 301, or permission of instructor. [3 credits]
Mapping in the labField research in Sichuan, China

GES 483: Geographic Information System (GIS) Internship

Students do technical work using GIS in our lab, on projects we are currently working on

GES 491: Independent Study

Students develop their own research projects and conduct them in collaboration with me and others in our lab. Topics depend on overlapping interests between me and the student.

GES 497: Research Internship

Students work together with me and others on current research projects in our lab.

Harvard Graduate School of Design: GSD 6241

Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies III

Introduction to Ecology

Lectures, discussions, and readings introduce the fundamentals of ecological science as a foundation for investigating, understanding, and shaping landscape structure, function and change. Readings present background for each lecture while challenging students to synthesize basic ecological principles from scientific readings. Exercises evaluate students' ability to apply ecological principles in landscape contexts.
Fall 2013, 2014 and 2015 with Peter Del Tredici at Harvard Graduate School of Design