BI 301 Calendar

Biology 301, Oregon State University

Approximate matching between lecture dates and topics in these notes for winter 2014

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 rows 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 6 -- 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 place economic value on them, and we'll start to discuss human population issues.

Wednesday, Jan 8 -- I reminded folks about the 25-word summary assignment, which is due on Wed Jan 15 -- it is described in the "Assignments" tab on the Blackboard site, as well as in "Course Documents." We 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). We then talked about 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) ; took a quick look at the current human population situation, and looked briefly at historical factors affecting population growth.

Friday Jan 10 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, its sustainability, and cornucopian vs. neoMalthusian perspectives. W also talked about logistic growth and carrying capacity as it does or doesn't apply to humans. Did a super quick overview of current world population growth -- much more to come on that next week! 25-word summary due by 11:00 a.m. on Wed the 15th, if not before -- see Blackboard "Assignments" for detailed instructions!

Monday Jan 13 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 briefly about alternative approaches to stabilizing population growth rates and moved on to discuss 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? To answer, we looked at the influence of age structure and the momentum it introduces into population growth -- whether negative or positive momentum. We'll continue with that next time. 25-word summaries due no later than 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, to Caitlin by email -- First quiz will be on Friday -- see sample from last year in Course Documents on Blackboard. Please read the last two readings that were assigned for Week 1 during this week instead -- "Transitions in World Population" and "Population Policy Options for the Developing World."

Wed Jan 15 We continued looking 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 about patterns of change in TFR's around the world, with particular attention to China. First quiz on Friday -- bring calculators, and see the sample quiz from 2013 that is in Course Documents on Blackboard, along with a key to that quiz. Caitlin reports NO late submissions of 25-word summaries, at least so far -- great!

Friday Jan 17 Took Quiz 1 -- I 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 (Monday the 20th - Sunday the 26th)-- if you missed lecture today, be sure to get one from me on Wednesday! These will be due in class on Monday the 27th. 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 I want honest (not padded) summaries! Before taking the quiz, we wrapped up our discussion of human population (see last link, above) and we started talking about agriculture by talking about how we're doing with regard to feeding people and producing grain. Happy Martin Luther King weekend to all

Wed Jan 22 I returned quizzes at the end of lecture -- a key is posted in Course Documents on Blackboard. Most of you did very well on it -- YAY! If you did not pick yours up today, I'll have them in class again on Friday. Please remember to be filling in your Resource Use Reduction data, starting last Monday (the 20th) and running through Sunday the 26th -- turn these in on Monday the 20th. We started talking explicitly about agriculture; I 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 and looked briefly at the roles of fossil fuels in modern agriculture, focusing on US corn production as an example.

Friday Jan 24 Today we began talking about problems that have emerged with the Green Revolution, including effects on human population growth and crop diversity. We then moved on to focus on some problems that derive from reliance on inorganic fertilizers -- in particular, effects of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer on water quality. I look forward to receiving your Resource Use Reduction tallies on Monday, and hope you all have fine weekends!

Monday Jan 27 Thank you for turning in your resource use reduction worksheets today! I am eager for results. Today, we 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. We then talked briefly about human influences on the global nitrogen budget and then transitioned to the topic of pesticides and agriculture. I gave some background on why we need pest control in the first place and began telling a brief history of pesticide use including the "DDT story." More to come! 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 22 and running through this coming Wednesday's lecture. From the study guide, this would basically be material related to questions 1 and 2.

Wednesday Jan 29 Today, I elaborated on the history of pesticide use including the "DDT story." 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 explored some reasons for why we aren't making more progress even though we are well-armed with chemical defenses. See calendar entry for Monday for information about the upcoming quiz.

Friday January 31 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 2014 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 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 took Quiz 2. If speed of quiz-taking is an indication, this was an easy one for you -- we shall see!

Monday, Feb 3 I returned Quiz 2 -- the key for it is in Course Documents on Blackboard -- you should have interrupted to remind me that I needed to allow time for quiz return!! I developed the conceptual model of negative feedback regulation over pest populations, and we then discussed various aspects of why it matters if we keep using pesticides as heavily as we are now. (We'll talk 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 I introduced overgrazing as one cause of land degradation. I started to describe the typical pattern of change in vegetation and soils that overgrazing sets in place, but didn't quite finish that.

Wednesday Feb 5 I 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. Quiz on Friday will cover from last Friday's lecture through today's. Midterm is on Friday the 14th (Happy Valentine's Day!). I suggest that you review last year's version as part of your approach to studying, but please be aware that we may be at a different point in the course this year than we were last year at midterm time!

Monday, Feb 10 Welcome back to OSU, eh? Today we talked about soil erosion -- estimated amounts, and some discussion of consequences. We also talked about issues related to irrigation but didn't quite finish that, and then you took Quiz 3. We will finish talking about irrigation issues on Wednesday, and will then move on to talk about prospects for more sustainable agricultural systems. The midterm on Friday will cover material through this coming Wednesday's lecture. See comments about it, above -- and do bring a pencil (or two) and a calculator!

Wednesday, Feb 12 Today I returned Quiz 3 and sent you the key to it by email. Eventually, I'll also post it in Course Documents on Blackboard (once the last person has taken it!) We talked more about irrigation and problems associated with it, including salinization and waterlogging of soils. I 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 through today's discussion of definitions of organic. I suggest that you review last year's version as part of your approach to studying, but also use the study guides (population and agriculture), keeping in mind that we have talked only about questions 1 - 7 and part of question 12 on the agriculture study guide. Please bring a calculator and a pencil to the exam.

Monday Feb 17 Today, 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 conservation compliance, including the Conservation Reserve Program. I returned your midterms -- a key is posted in Course Documents on Blackboard. If you have any questions about the exam, after you've reviewed it and the key, feel free to see me!

Wednesday Feb 19

Today, we talked about means by which we could decrease reliance on synthetic fertilizers by changing application methods and by maintaining and enhancing inherent soil fertility and 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, biological controls and reproductive controls of pests. Just began talking about genetic controls, which include use of genetically modified organisms. We'll spend Friday on that before taking Quiz 4, which will cover material from Monday's and today's lectures.

Friday Feb 21 Today I talked more about genetic controls of pests and diseases, focusing on genetic engineering. On Monday, we will FINISH talking about agriculture and will move on! Took Quiz 4 today.

Monday Feb 24 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 for your own edification, I will not hold you responsible for it. Then talked briefly about chemical controls as part of an IPM strategy, and finished our treatment of topics related to agriculture! TA DAH!

Wednesday Feb 26 Today, I took up with a 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. We also 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 7 on any topic from the term -- send to me by email; format = 3 lines; 1st = 5 syllables, 2nd = 7 syllables, 3rd = 5 syllables.

Friday March 28 I described "criteria pollutants" and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Talked about where tropospheric ozone levels tend to be elevated and why, and talked about effects caused by ozone pollution. I kind of rushed the last part, so will gladly take questions on it at the beginning of Monday's lecture if you have them. then, you took the LAST quiz! See reminder about haiku assignmnet under Wednesday's entry above.

Monday March 3 Today, we talked about attempts to regulate tropospheric ozone pollution and discussed approaches to control the pollutants that contribute to its formation (drive less, drive cleaner cars -- that sort of thing). I didn't re-elaborate pros and cons of grain-based ethanol, as we'd talked about that previously; 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). Then, 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. I returned Quiz 5 -- a key for it is in Course Documents on Blackboard. Haiku are rolling in -- keep them coming!

Wednesday March 5 Today, I took up with continuing the history of realization that the stratospheric ozone layer was threatened by human-made compounds, and moved on to talk 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. Had a chance to share some good news in terms of policy steps that have been taken relative to stratospheric ozone and when ozone concentrations are likely to demonstrate noticeable repair. Next time, we'll finish this discussion and move on to the final topic for this term, which is global climate change.

Friday March 7 Today, we talked about 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! I will post the haiku collection as soon as it is fuly compiled.

Monday March 10 The haiku compilation is posted in Course Documents, and is it ever interesting to read through! I very much appreciate your efforts on that assignment. Your outside activity reports and whatever you do for communication/participation credit must be completed and submitted NO LATER THAN 11:00 a.m. this coming Friday, March 14! Today, we 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"). We had a brief discussion 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 some feedbacks that might be important).

Wednesday March 12 Today, we talked about what is likely for future climate change -- which depends, of course, on what is likely to happen to emissions of greenhouse gases and feedbacks that might be important. We also talked, 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, and will also 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. Get those outside activity reports to me by email, if you haven't already -- door on them slams shut at 11:00 a.m. this Friday! Final exam will be on Monday at 6:00 p.m. in the usual class room -- bring pencil(s) and calculator. See the sample final (and midterm) from 2013 as part of your review!

Friday March 14 Today, we talked, oh so briefly, about likely consequences of climate changes for nonhuman systems and 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! See you in Kidder 350 at 6:00 p.m. for the final.