birgit hagedorn stream

Students learning about sampling glacial runoff in Greenland

Biogeochemistry (cross-listed across multiple departments)

Via a grant from KU’s Center for Teaching Excellence, a team of inter-disciplinary instructors from across campus  developed this course with the goal of sharing the philosophy of Critical Zone science with Geology, Geography, Biology, and Environmental Studies students.  We use Schlesinger and Bernhardt’s text Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change and multiple journal articles to guide our studies.

Forest Ecosystems, Biol 594

In alternate falls, I teach Forest Ecosystems. We examine how material in forests is generated, cycled, and lost to other ecosystems, how tree physiology varies with age and environmental constraints, and how forest soils function to support the system. We also learn how forests may function in the future, when Earth’s climate is projected to be very different from today’s.  Readings are from the literature, and Perry, Oren, and Hart’s textbook Forest Ecosystems.

Introduction to Field and Laboratory Methods for Ecology, Biol 415

This course can be taken with or without Biol 414 (see below). In it, we explore key issues in field and laboratory methods employed for ecological studies. Students do field work in local ecosystems of interest, explore pre-existing data sets in computer labs (thus learning basic statistical tests), and learn some basic lab techniques. This is an energetic, dynamic course and active student participation is encouraged, expected, and fun.

Climate Change in the Arctic, Evrn 720

This course is taught as part of the NSF IGERT program at KU, C-CHANGE. In it, we explore how biogeochemical functioning of arctic ecosystems is changing with warming, the dynamics of ice sheets on Greenland and in Antarctica, and how changes in sea ice are influencing northern ecosystems. We also explore the indigenous cultures of the circumpolar region, and how they are undergoing change as the Earth warms.

Sharon lecturing

Principles of Ecology, Biol 414

In Biol 414, students learn the basic principles underlying ecological thought, the ideas driving current research, and critical issues that deserve our attention as human population pressures drive environmental changes. We cover the basics of population, community, ecosystem, and landscape ecology.