After each lecture, I will update the calendar below, giving you information on which topic and sections within that topic were covered in that lecture. The match won't always be perfect - and there is much more information in the web pages than I am able to cover in lecture - but I hope this will help you to go back after class and look up things that you may have missed. If you check the calendar and see that this isn't up-to-date, please remind me, and I'll update it! (NOTE: Don't confuse yourself by scrolling down below the row of *********************; I carry along last year's version of the calendar down there to make it easier for me to edit each day after lecture!)
LECTURE DATE/corresponding topic and subtopic(s)
Monday, Jan 7 -- Introduction to the course -- took longer than anticipated, so we didn't get to talking about what is an ecosystem . We'll take up with that on Wed, including some discussion of how we model them, what ecosystem services are and how we depend on and try to polace economic value on them, and we'll start to discuss human population issues.
Wednesday, Jan 9 -- Talked about ecosystem models and the importance of ecosystem services; levels of causation in environmental (and other!) problems; and moved into a discussion of human population. Presented varying perspectives on whether or not human population is an ultimate cause of environmental problems (Hardin, Commoner, Simon). Reminded folks about the 25-word summary assignment, which is due on Wed Jan 16 -- it is described in the "Assignments" tab on the Blackboard site.Friday Jan 11 We started off with a discussion of the interactive influences of population size, per capita affluence (resource use) and the kinds of technologies used as influences on environmental impacts I = fn(PAT) ; we then took a quick look at the current human population situation..Looked at historical factors affecting population growth, introduced per capita and "crude" rates, b-d = r, G = (b-d)N = rN, r * 100 = percentage rate of natural increase, influence of N on G, exponential growth, sustainability, and cornucopian vs. neoMalthusian perspectives; Much more to come! 25-word summary due at the beginning of class on Wed the 16th, if not before -- see Blackboard "Assignments" for detailed instructions!
Monday, Jan 14 -- Resumed discussion of exponential growth and its sustainability (see link above) then moved on to talk about logistic growth and carrying capacity as it does or doesn't apply to humans. Did a quick overview of current world population growth rate, changes in "r" over time, fast growth regions, slow growth regions and those that have reached "ZPG," and talked about the demographic transition Then talked about alternative approaches to stabilizing population growth rates and the current population growth rate in the US Mentioned the the influence of immigration on US population growth rate at the population as opposed to the per capita level. Moved on to ponder the puzzle: total fertility rates in the US have been lower than replacement level fertility rates for over 30 years, but we're not at ZPG yet -- why? 25-word summaries due by the START of class on Wednesday; first quiz is on Friday -- see sample from last year in Course Documents on Blackboard.
Wed Jan 16 Looked at the influence of age structure and the momentum it introduces into population growth -- whether negative or positive momentum. Moved on to talk about what is happening with total fertility rates in developing nations and steps that can be taken to further diminish those rates; -- meeting unmet demand for contraception, decreasing the demand for large numbers of children, and ways to decrease the population momentun term. Also talked a bit about patterns of change in TFR's around the world. First quiz on Friday -- bring calculators, and see the sample quiz from 2012 that is in Course Documents on Blackboard, along with a key to that quiz. Thanks for writing such interesting 25-word summaries, and for being timely in your submissions!
Friday Jan 18 Took Quiz 1 -- we will return these on Wed and I will post a key to it then as well. I handed out "Resource Use Reduction" data sheets for you to use over the coming week -- if you missed lecture today, be sure to get one from me on Wednesday! These will be due in class on Monday the 28th. Before you turn these in, please fill in the "Total" column for each row in which you had entries -- and note that I don't anticipate that anyone will have entries in each row! Remember that we want honest (not padded) summaries! Before taking the quiz, we talked about China as an example of a nation that has decreased TFR's rapidly, but with some potential ethical concerns. We also talked briefly about projections for the future (and how HIV/AIDS may influence future population growth). Happy Martin Luther King weekend to all!
Wed Jan 23 We started talking about agriculture by talking about how we're doing with regard to feeding people and producing grain. Introduced the origins and concepts of the Green Revolution and looked at some trends in cultivated acreage and grain production and yields. The graphs I showed are all in Course Documents on Blackboard. We also discussed some reasons that the agricultural productivity "engine" seems to be slowing (resource limitations) including a bit about emerging land limitations. Returned Quiz 1 -- the key for it is in Course Documents on Blackboard. Don't forget about filling in your resource use reduction tallies each day!
Friday Jan 25 Please remember to turn in your Resource Use Reduction tally sheets on Monday, including providing totals for each row for which you have entries! we talked a bit more about emerging land limitations in agriculture and then looked at the roles of fossil fuels in modern agriculture, focusing on US corn production as an example. We then began talking about problems that have emerged with the Green Revolution, including effects on human population growth and crop diversity.
Monday Jan 28 Today, we focused on some problems that derive from reliance on inorganic fertilizers -- in particular, effects of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer on water quality. Moved on to talk about the trade offs betwen reliance on inorganic fertilizer supplements and organic inputs into soils, with consequences for inherent soil fertility and structure. Remember that you can access the study guide -- and supplementary readings -- for our discussion of issues related to agriculture here! Quiz 2 this Friday will draw material from lectures starting on Wed Jan 23 and running through this coming Wednesday's lecture. From the study guide, this would be material related to questions 1 and 2.
Wednesday, Jan 30 Finished off the discussion about consequences of reliance on inorganic fertilizers for soil organic matter and structure (see link in Monday's calendar entry, above), and moved on to talk briefly about human influences on the global nitrogen budget. Moved on to the topic of pesticides and agriculture. I gave some background on why we need pest control in the first place and offered a brief history of pesticide use including the "DDT story." More to come!
Friday Feb 1 (!) I presented results from your valiant efforts at resource reduction -- (Note that the link here takes you to the 2012 version, as I could not successfully import this year's version to this website; the 2013 results are in Course Documents on the Blackboard site. Note also that the version on this web site contains links to lots of web sites about ways to reduce your use of resources). Thanks to Caitlin for summarizing all your numbers -- and to you for providing her with totals for each row! We then took a quick look at trends in pesticide use overall, in the US and globally (a much more cursory look than is given in these web pages -- you are responsible only for material that I discussed in lecture!). We looked at whether losses to pests have decreased substantially in the face of this pesticide use, and just barely began exploring reasons for why we aren't making more progress even though we are well-armed with chemical defenses. Took Quiz 2. If speed of quiz-taking is any indication, this was an easy one for you -- we shall see!
Monday February 4 We continued exploring reasons for why we aren't making more progress against pests in agriculture, even though we are well-armed with chemical defenses. Reasons are many ande include the issue of genetic resistance to pesticides, and the emergence of "secondary pests " We talked about what controls pests in natural ecosystems and discussed whether and how pesticides interfere with any of these natural controls. We looked at a couple of case studies that demonstrate the way that pesticides can interfere with natural control agents, and then developed the conceptual model of negative feedback regulation over pest populations. We just barely started a brief discussion of why it matters if we keep using pesticides as heavily as we are now -- more on this to come on Wednesday. I returned Quiz 2 -- the key for it is in Course Documents on Blackboard.
Wednesday Feb 6Continued the discussion of why it matters if we keep using pesticides as heavily as we are now. (We'll talk more about ways to diminish our reliance on pesticides when we discuss alternative agriculture, starting next week.) We began talking about land degradation related to agriculture in general terms, and introduced overgrazing as one cause of land degradation. I described the typical pattern of change in vegetation and soils that overgrazing sets in place, but didn't quite finish that. Quiz on Friday will cover from last Friday's lecture through today's. First midterm is on Friday the 15th -- I suggest that you review last year's version as part of your approach to studying, but please be aware that we are likely to be farther along in terms of what we've covered this year than we were last year at midterm time!
Friday Februrary 8I continued describing the typical pattern of change in vegetation and soils that overgrazing sets in place and then moved on to talk about some issues related to grazing livestock on public lands in the western US. We'll finish that up on Monday, and then will move on to talk about soil erosion and irrigation issues.
Monday February 11 Today we finished our discussion of livestock overgrazing grazing on western public rangelands as one cause of land degradation. We then and moved on to a discussion of soil erosion -- estimated amounts, and some discussion of consequences. Started talking about issues related to irrigation Midterm on Friday -- bring pencil(s) and calculator, and use the sample midterm from 2012 and the study guides for both the population and the agricultural topics as you prepare. Returned Quiz 3 -- key to that is in Course Documents on Blackboard. You did beautifully on that quiz!
Wednesday Feb 13 We talked more about irrigation and problems associated with it, including salinization and waterlogging of soils. Introduced the topic of alternative agriculture ("sustainable agriculture") beginning with some general definitions, including discussion of what the label, "organic" means. We also talked a bit about the value of local foods. Midtern on Friday covers up though today's discussion of definitions of organic. I suggest that you review last year's version as part of your approach to studying, but please be aware that we are likely to be farther along in terms of what we've covered this year than we were last year at midterm time!
Monday Feb 18 We discussed discussed trophic issues as they relate to agricultural practices, intensity, and sustainability, and then moved on to talk about ways to conserve soil -- including conservation tillage. and then went on to talk about conservation compliance, including the Conservation Reserve Program . We talked just a bit about means by which we could decrease reliance on synthetic fertilizers by changing application methods and by maintaining and enhancing inherent soil fertility . I returned the midterm, and sent the key to you via email -- it was a very successful exam for most of you, which makes me happy! If it didn't go so well for you, feel free to see me about it after you've reviewed your responses in comparison to the key.
Wednesday Feb 20 Finished talking about means by which we could decrease reliance on synthetic fertilizers by changing application methods and by maintaining and enhancing inherent soil fertility , then talked about ways to decrease use of irrigation water .Moved on to talk about methods to decrease reliance on synthetic pesticides, introducing the concept of IPM . We talked about environmental controls and about biological controls of pests. Reproductive, genetic, and chemical controls to come on Friday (spilling over a bit into Monday...) and then we'll be "done" with topics related specifically to agriculture. TA DAH! Quiz on Friday will cover today's and Monday's lectures.
Friday February 22 Today, continued talking about components of IPM strategies, focusing today on reproductive and genetic controls, including issues related to use of "GMO's" (genetically modified organisms). I really meant to finish talking about issues related to agriculture today, but didn't quite make it! Monday FOR SURE! Took Quiz 4 -- the last one is next Friday.
Monday February 25 Today we "finished" discussing genetic controls, including issues related to use of "GMO's" (genetically modified organisms). The web notes to which this links contain a LOT more information than I had time to present in lecture -- particularly regarding regulatory, testing, and international trade issues; while I encourage you to familiarize yourself with that information, I will not hold you responsible for it. Then talked briefly about chemical controls as part of an IPM strategy and moved on to just barely start treatment of some general considerations about air quality.
Wednesday March 27 Today, we continued with treatment of some general considerations about air quality, including focusing on the criteria that would be met in an ideal world if one wanted to establish whether or not a pollutant was affecting an ecosystem. Talked about contrasting observational and experimental approaches to assessing causation. Moved on to introduce the topic of tropospheric ozone pollution, and about pollutants that lead to its formation. Last quiz will be on Friday, covering material from last Friday's lecture up through today's. Haiku due Friday March 8 on any topic from the term -- send to me by email; format = 7 lines; 1st = 5 syllables, 2nd = 7 syllables, 3rd = 5 syllables.
Friday March 1 (!!)Continued discussion of pollutants that lead to formation of ozone in the troposphere, including a very brief treatment of the chemistry of their interaction (web notes have more detail on this than I expect you to master!!), described "criteria pollutants" and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Talked about where tropospheric ozone levels tend to be elevated. Began discussion of effects caused by ozone pollution. Took the LAST quiz! See reminder about haiku assignmnet under Wednesday's entry above.
Monday March 4 Today we continued the discussion of effects caused by ozone pollution. We then moved on to talk about attempts to regulate it, and finished off with discussion of ways to control tropspheric ozone pollution. I didn't re-elaborate pros and cons of grain-based ethanol, as we'd talked about that previousl; see the following link if you want to remind yourself about that discussion grain-ethanol (scroll down to the bottom of this link to see material related to grain-ethanol). Haiku are rolling in -- keep them coming!
Wednesday, March 6 Today, we moved on moved on to talk about stratospheric ozone -- basic background about the protective function it serves (absorbing uv-B radiation) and some of the history of how we began to realize that it was in trouble. Also talked about the discovery of the Antarctic "hole," whether natural explanations sufficed, why it happens, what's happening with global levels of stratospheric ozone, and the biological implications.More to come!
Friday March 8 Today we took a welcome break -- at least for a while! from gloom and doom -- -- gave some good news in terms of policy steps that have been taken relative to stratospheric ozone, when ozone concentrations are likely to demonstrate noticeable repair, and what substitutes for "ozone eaters" have been found. Moved on to the topic of global climate change: I gave some basic background about "the greenhouse effect," carbon dioxide and human influences on it. We also looked at trends in CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, and, briefly, at what has happened to concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. More to come! Your wonderful haiku are posted in Course Documents on Blackboard -- thank you for the great contributions!
Monday March 11 Today we continued looking at what has happened to concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. We then moved on to talk about links between atmospheric CO2 and temperature; recent temperature trends and the question of whether the warming we've been experiencing is natural or unnatural. We also looked at the role of other trace gases as greenhouse gases, including water vapor, tropospheric ozone, and CFC's, N2O and methane, and black carbon ("soot")..A WORD OF CAUTION: I haven't had time to fully update the webnotes on this topic, so if I say something in lecture that differs from what is said in these notes, GO WITH WHAT I SAID IN LECTURE! Remember, also, that there are excellent readings on the topic of climate change in "Course Documents." I suggested that you read just the first four of those, but the others, including "Expert Credibility..." and the IPCC summary, are very useful as well.
Wednesday, March 13 Today we took up with discussion of predictions about what is likely for future climate change -- which depends, of course, on what is likely to happen to emissions of greenhouse gases and consequences for their concentrations in the atmosphere (this included discussion of feedbacks that might be important). We also talked, all too briefly about what the associated climate and sea level changes may be! Began talking about likely consequences of climate changes for nonhuman systems. We'll take up there next time, talk about consequences for human systems, and then a bit about policy steps that have been -- and could be -- taken to avert or minimize adverse consequences.
Friday March 15 Took up where we left off last time -- reviewed briefly what is anticipated for the future in terms of changes associated with global warming may be (including rising sea levels). Talked, oh so briefly, about likely consequences of climate changes for nonhuman systems,and then about consequences for human systems, and a little about policy steps that have been taken (or not, depending on where you live in this world). I hope final exams go well for all of you, and that you have fine spring breaks! You were a fantastic class. I appreciate very much your applause at the end of today's lecture, and the kind words that some of you said or wrote to me about the class....all mean a LOT to me! In anticipation of the final exam, I encourage you to look at the various study guides and also last year's midterm and final exams!
Click on "Contents" to jump to the master table of contents for this BI 301 web site. Page maintained by Patricia Muir at Oregon State University.