Ecological diversity and climate change (ENV 623L, Fall 2017)

Anticipating climate effects on biodiversity challenges ecologists to translate information on individual organisms and processes to ecological dynamics. How are ecologists putting the information together? How much is supported by mechanistic evidence? By theory? Are experiments and observational studies contributing in different ways? The tools applied to interpret climate effects span the foundations in jointly distributed random variables to simulation and machine learning. The two goals of this course address the confluence of science and emerging tools to interpret the evidence.

The first goal is to evaluate the science of biodiversity and climate change, including the changes that are happening now, in the past, and what we can expect in the future.

Secondarily, the course provides an overview of analytical tools. However, we reverse the traditional approach–rather than describe a model, then look for an application, we start with compelling controversies involving global change impacts.

The format combines lecture material, weekly labs, literature discussion, and individual and group assignments.


Topics from 2016:

Wrangling big data from the internet

Trophic cascades in Yellowstone National Park

The impact of fishing technology on long-term trends in fish returns

Climate variation and its effects on phenology

Climate versus habitat effects on biodiversity in the NEON network

Climate versus soil effects on tree species distribution and abundance in the NEON network