Bonnie J Becker
Considers biological and social issues underlying contemporary environmental problems. Overview of nascent discipline of conservation biology. Studies cases from Pacific Northwest (e.g., clean up of Lake Washington, Exxon Valdez oil spill, spotted owl fracas) which will form fodder for discussions as the scientific and human elements of environmental decision-making are explored.
Conservation biology deals with the global declines in biodiversity and the resolution of environmental problems. It is a fairly new science, only a few decades old, and is interdisciplinary by necessity. In this course we will focus on the biological principles behind environmental problems, with special focus on ecological and evolutionary principles, and human impacts on the environment. We will also focus on the social and political context, of these environmental issues. A range of complex conservation issues will be studied via assigned readings, lectures, guest presentations, papers, in class discussions & assignments, debates, field trips and student presentations. By the end of the course students should have gained an appreciation for the scientific and social issues implicit in addressing environmental problems. Also, students should become better consumers of scientific information related to conservation biology, and become more familiar with some of the ethical, and societal concerns inherent to the discipline.
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