Global Environmental Change and Thermal Ecology


We are living in an unprecedented period in which global habitats are experiencing massive changes at an alarming rate. Turnover of forest, grassland, and wetland into human dominated landscapes reduces the availability of habitat to support species. Furthermore, the near unabated release of greenhouse gases is transforming Earth's climate; the world is getting warmer and patterns of rainfall are shifting. The principles of thermal ecology, that is the relationship between temperature and biological processes at different levels of organization, provides a framework for understanding how organisms respond to fluctuating temperatures. This course focuses on the thermal challenges organisms face in a warmer world. Topics include: evidence of anthropogenic climate change, quantifying the thermal environment, how temperature influences physiological processes and in turn variation in life history traits, population dynamics; the role of phenotypic plasticity The class format includes lectures, discussions, and application of simulations and models to forecast species response to altered environments. Prerequisite: Bio 381. 3.0 units.
Course Attributes: BU SCI; AS NSM