Terrestrial Ecosystems


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Resources
Seminar guidelines

The ecosystem approach to ecology treats organisms and the physical aspects of their environment as components of a single integrated system. Terrestrial ecosystem functioning is governed by interactions amongst animals, plants, and soil organisms, as well as exchanges of energy and resources with the atmosphere, soils, rocks, and aquatic environments. This advanced undergraduate level ecology course is focused on plant-soil interactions as being a fundamental determinant of the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems around the world. As a group, we will attempt to synthesize recent advances arising from the ecosystem approach with established ecological theory to describe and explain ecosystem-level patterns and processes in the terrestrial environment.
The course content for 2016/17 in particular will be centered around developing and applying terrestrial ecosystem ecological concepts to address the following thematic question: 
What feasible changes in agroecosystem management would be most effective to meet global food demands in 2050?

Learning outcomes:
By the end of this course, the student should be able to
:

  1. Explain and evaluate the major concepts underlying terrestrial ecosystem ecology
  2. Describe and contrast the major processes and features that distinguish local terrestrial ecosystems, including farm-types
  3. Present a synthetic, logical and individualistic seminar on a fundamental issue in agroecosystem ecology
  4. Develop, conduct, analyse, and write a lab/field research study on a student-inspired question in agroecosystem ecology
  5. Synthesise, evaluate and critique the potential solutions to meeting future global food demand


Paul Grogan
E-mail: groganp@queensu.ca
Office: Room 2508. Tel. (613) 533 6152. Fax: (613) 533 6617
Lab: Rooms 2605, 2606. Tel. (613) 533 6000 ext. 78101
Lab web page: Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology lab page

 

Lecture times: Wednesdays 10.00-11.30; Fridays 8.30-10.00
Lab/field trip times: Tuesdays: 8.30-11.30; Overnight weekend field course on October 22-23
Lab Instructor: Harris Ivens (E-mail: 15hi2@queensu.ca; Office: Room 2507)
Location: Room 3110, (Labs 3311) Biosciences building

Assessment:
10% Participation in discussions
15% Seminar questions
25% Seminar
5% Field trip presentation
25% Research report
20% Final writing assignment

Required textbook: Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology. 2011. 2nd edition. Chapin, F.S. III, Matson, P.A. and Vitousek, P. Springer.

Schedule (to be updated throughout the course):
Lecture/Seminar sessions are 80 minutes; Labs up to 3 hours

Week beginning Day and time Convenor Topic Reading
12 Sept. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris/Paul Introduction to the course theme  
  Wednesday, 10.00 Paul Introduction: The Ecosystem Concept Chapin et al, Chapter 1: 1-12,17-22.
  Friday, 8.30 Dr. Gary Van Loon (Queen's Env.Sci./Chemistry) Global Food Security Foley et al. 2011. Solutions for a Cultivated Planet. Nature 478: 337-342.
19 Sept. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB   No meeting  
  Wednesday, 10.00 Paul The State Factor Framework for understanding Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology, and Soil Development Chapin et al, Chapter 1: 13-17; Chapter 2: 23-26, 38-41, 50-61; Chapter 3: 63-69.
  Friday, 8.30 Mara Shaw (Exec. Director - The Loving Spoonful) Local Food Security and Food Waste The Loving Spoonful
26 Sept. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Farm field Trip - The Kitchen Garden, Wilton The Kitchen Garden
  Wednesday, 10.00 Paul Soil Development continued, and field trip to Miller Hall Geological Museum  
  Friday, 8.30 Paul Soil Transformations, and Physical Properties Chapin et al, Chapter 3: 73-78, 82-85.
3 Oct. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Lab tour, guest lecture by John Serafini (M.Sc. candidate), and initiation of Group Research Projects  
  Wednesday, 10.00 Paul Soil Chemical Properties Chapin et al, Ch. 3: 86-89; Ch. 7: 204-206; Ch. 9: 287-290; 293-296.
  Friday, 8.30 Paul The Biology of Soils I Chapin et al, Chapter 7: 183-194; 243-244; Chapter 9: 271-280 (overview).
10 Oct. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project proposal development  
  Wednesday, 10.00 Paul The Biology of Soils II Chapin et al, Chapter 7: 183-194; Chapter 11: 321-324; 334-335.
  Friday, 8.30   Decomposition, and Plant-Soil interactions Chapin et al, Chapter 7: 194-204; Chapter 8: 229-233, 238-241, 253-255.
17 Oct. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project proposal development  
  Wednesday, 10.00      
  Friday, 8.30      
22 Oct. Overnight field trip Harris/Paul    
23 Oct. Overnight field trip Harris/Paul    
24 Oct. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project  
  Wednesday, 10.00      
  Friday, 8.30      
31 Oct. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project- book time with Harris  
  Wednesday, 10.00      
  Friday, 8.30      
7 Nov. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project- book time with Harris  
  Wednesday, 10.00      
  Friday, 8.30      
14 Nov. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project- book time with Harris  
  Wednesday, 10.00      
  Friday, 8.30      
21 Nov. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project- Presentations and Discussion  
  Wednesday, 10.00      
  Friday, 8.30 Paul Sustaining socio-ecological systems Chapin et al, Chapter 15, 423-446.
28 Nov. Tuesday, 8.30 - LAB Harris Group Research Project- Presentations and Discussion  
  Wednesday, 10.00      
  Friday, 8.30 Paul Synthesis  

 

 

Click here to see the course structure and topics addressed in previous years (2007 and 2008, 2010, 2014)


Last Updated:12 September 2016