Course Purpose, Goals, and Objectives
Modern climate change poses an unprecedented environmental threat affecting species and communities across all of Earth’s biomes. The biological impacts of global climate change transcend political and jurisdictional boundaries and add significant uncertainty to the conservation and management of wildlife populations and natural resources. With a focus on wildlife ecology and management, the goal of this course is to provide an understanding of the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on organisms, species and communities. The course has three interconnected learning objectives for developing a comprehensive understanding of climate change ecology:
First learning objective: gain a basic understanding of the observed and predicted trends in climate within an ecological context.
Second learning objective: identify the ecological and evolutionary impacts of climate change on natural communities and wildlife populations (including changes in phenology and ranges, community dynamics, and altered trophic interactions).
Third learning objective: develop hands-on experience in developing a climate change vulnerability assessment for a given species or community.
Course Structure and Dynamics
This is an advanced course targeted to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students with a background in ecology or biology. There will be significant expectations for independent work and active in-class discussion and participation. Class grading will consist of exams, exercises, and group projects. The general structure of the class is a “power” lecture on Tuesday followed by class discussion of selected readings on Thursday.
Vulnerability Assessment and Presentation 40%
Exam I 15%
Exam II 15%
Group Project Progress Reports (2) 5%
Class Participation and Weekly Quizzes 10%
Vulnerability Assessment and Presentation 70%
Group Project Progress Reports (2) 5%
Class Participation and Weekly Quizzes 10%
*Undergraduates must take Option 1; Graduate students can choose between Option 1 and 2. Option 2 is offered for graduate students interested in developing a comprehensive climate change vulnerability assessment for a target species or community of interest. Specifically, to take option 2, graduate students should have empirical data at their disposal or be willing to acquire data from previous studies or online data repositories.
There will be two exams that will consist of 10 multiple choice, 3 short answer questions, and 1 essay question. The two exams will focus primarily on the class units: Trends and Changes and Ecological Impacts (see lecture schedule). Graduate students taking Option 2 are exempt from in-class exams.
Attendance at all classes is mandatory. In accordance with UW-Madison policy, I will make every effort to avoid scheduling mandatory course requirements on dates when a religious observation may cause substantial numbers of students to be absent. In addition, I will extend reasonable consideration to accommodate university-endorsed extracurricular activities (not including practice activities for performances or athletic events) when they conflict with class attendance requirements. You must provide adequate and reasonable advance notice (>24 hrs. notice) so that I can ensure that an accommodation is made.
You are required to be present at the beginning of the semester and to remain until the work of the semester is completed (which includes group projects and presentations). Exemptions from this must be given advanced notice from me at the beginning of the course. Note that any excused or unexcused absences may have a negative impact on your final grade. It is your responsibility to be mindful of class attendance policies for each of your classes.
Group Projects and Final Reports
The central project of the course consists of a semester-long group exercise (groups of 2-3 students) with the goal of developing a Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for a specific species or community. The core components of the plan will consist of a literature review, conceptual model, vulnerability assessment, and adaptation recommendations. The groups will give final presentations at the end of the class and complete a final report. Peer evaluations will be done periodically throughout the course of the semester. Full participation in the group project is mandatory and will be evaluated throughout the semester. Any prolonged inability to work with your group will have a negative impact on your final grade.
Learn@UW and Weekly Quizzes
Learn@UW will be used to post readings assignments, PowerPoint slides, and changes to the syllabus. There will be brief weekly online quizzes (4-5 questions) that are mandatory. These quizzes will be designed to gauge your level of understanding (and my ability to communicate) the week’s topics. You get full credit if you complete the quiz. Quizzes are posted every Friday by noon, and must be submitted by the following Monday at 12:00 p.m. There is a public course website at http://labs.russell.wisc.edu/zuckerberg/teaching/ but this is mainly for advertising purposes. Please do not visit this site for information on the class.
We will be exploring online climate visualization tools for accessing leading climate change information and visualize the impacts anywhere on Earth. These web-based programs will allow you to choose a state or country and assess how climate has changed over time and to project what future changes are predicted to occur in a given area.
Missed Lectures and Medical Absences
Campus policy with respect to flu and other contagious diseases places a premium on minimizing the risk of spreading disease. If you are running a fever over 100°F with a cough or sore throat, stay home. Wait until 24 hours after your fever breaks before returning to class. If you miss a lecture for any reason, you are responsible for the content covered in class. I will not respond to Learn@UW-posted queries about missed lecture content.
Students with Disabilities: Requesting Reasonable Accommodations
UW–Madison supports the right of full and equal educational opportunity for all students. Disability should not be the basis for exclusion from the institution’s programs, activities and services. All students are entitled to an accessible, accommodating, supportive and nondiscriminatory institutional environment. It is therefore the policy of UW–Madison to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified students with disabilities.
Implementing reasonable and effective accommodations is a shared institutional and student responsibility. Students with disabilities who need accommodations should notify the institution of such need as early as possible, preferably before the beginning of a semester. Students who incur or recognize a disability for which an accommodation is needed during the semester should notify the institution immediately. For instructional or academic accommodations, students are encouraged to notify me directly. Students may also make accommodation requests through the McBurney Disability Resource Center or a duly designated departmental or college Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinator (AARC).
I will work with students to provide reasonable instructional or academic accommodations, although the student is responsible for self-advocacy. In addition, the McBurney Disability Resource Center is available as a resource and can assist students with accommodation issues, can recommend appropriate instructional or academic accommodations to faculty and can recommend or provide other needed reasonable accommodations.
Academic integrity is critical to the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a research institution with high academic standards. All members of the University community play a role in fostering an environment in which student learning is achieved in a fair, just and honest way. I have zero tolerance for plagiarism. You are expected to uphold the core values of academic integrity which include honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. These core values, combined with finding one’s purpose and passion and applying them in and out of classroom learning, produce students who become extraordinary citizens. This unique path of opportunities, created by each student, is commonly known as the Wisconsin Experience and impacts our campus community and beyond in significant and positive ways. The value of a University of Wisconsin degree depends on the commitment of our academic community to promote high levels of honesty and respect for the intellectual property of others.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison takes academic misconduct allegations very seriously. If I suspect a student has engaged in academic misconduct, I will contact the student and ask them to explain their work. If I still believe the student engaged in such an act after meeting with them, I will decide on a sanction (with outside consultation), which may include a zero on the assignment or exam, a lower grade in the course or failure in the course. The Dean of Student’s Office will be informed and will contact the student about their rights. Repeated acts of academic misconduct may result in more serious actions such as probation or suspension.
For tips on how to avoid plagiarism see the following link at the writing center. http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/QuotingSources.html
Please see the additional document on Class Readings for full details of reading assignments. These are required readings that are meant to supplement the lecture material. You will be expected to know the information covered in these readings for the exams and be able to discuss in a class setting. All readings except for the textbook are available as PDF documents on Learn@UW. The main textbook is:
Title: Ecology of Climate Change: The Importance of Biotic Interactions
Author: Eric Post Publisher: Princeton University Press
You may purchase the text through your favorite local or on-line bookseller.
Final Grading Schema
All grades for assignments and exams will be reported as a percentage and final grades will be calculated based on grading components above.
|Letter Grade||Numerical Range|