Fall semester in odd years:
The Living Planet - Impact of the biosphere on the Earth System
Course IB 159; instructors: Cindy Looy and Ivo Duijnstee
Earth is a complex dynamic system. Interplay between its components (solid earth, oceans/ice and atmospehere) governs conditions on the planet’s outside that we inhabit. In turn, life asserts a vast influence on the abiotic components; in fact the biosphere itself is an important system component. We will explore the effect that 3.5 billion years of evolving biosphere had on System Earth and vice versa (e.g. in terms of climate), including the recent human impact on the system.
Fall semester in even years:
Paleobotany - The 500-million year history of a greening planet
Course IB 181L; instructor: Cindy Looy
Course description: This course is an introduction to the evolution of plants and their ecosystems through time. We will start off with the earliest plant life, the transition to land, and the emergence of terrestrial ecosystems. We will follow the evolution of major plant groups during important moments in time through the Phanerozoic (last 650 million years). We will explore ancient fossilized plant communities, their ecological properties, and we will examine how major environmental upheavals affected their evolution. Throughout the course, we will see what profound impact plants have on the functioning of our planet’s surface and atmosphere.
Offered every fall semester:
Biology and geomorphology of tropical islands
IB 158LF/ESPM C107; instructors always include 2 IB and 2 ESPM faculty members (in even years including Cindy Looy, and sometimes Ivo Duijnstee)
This course offers a field research experience that many former students consider the capstone to their years at Berkeley. The course begins with 3 weeks of intensive lectures and training on the UC Berkeley campus that provide the contextual framework for the remainder of the course. The students then depart for approximately 9 weeks at the Gump Research Station on Moorea in French Polynesia. While in Moorea, students design and execute their own independent research projects, starting with the initial preliminary studies and ending with statistical analyses and writing. The final weeks are spent back in the Berkeley campus where students write up their findings and prepare a professional seminar on their projects. The class size is limited to 22 students by the Gump dormitory facilities. Students learn about the biology, geology, evolution, and people of the South Pacific. They develop the fundamentals of field research and work with faculty members to develop an independent project on an island topic, such as marine or terrestrial ecology, volcanic geomorphology, biodiversity, invasion biology, animal behavior, or oceanography of reefs and islands.
What's on in Fall 2020?
INTEGBI 24-SEM 2
How Plants Changed the History of our Planet
During this freshman seminar we will discuss what profound impact plants have on the functioning of our planet’s surface, atmosphere and ecosystems. We will start off with the earliest plant life, the transition to land, and the emergence of terrestrial ecosystems. We will explore ancient fossilized plant communities, their ecological properties, and examine how major extinction intervals affected their evolution. In addition, we will tour the plant fossil collection of the UCMP (online).
IB 286-SEM 001 Seminars in Paleontology
Foundations of Paleoecology Seminar
The backbone of this seminar will be the recently published book Foundations of Paleoecology. This book brings together forty-four classic papers published between 1924 and 1999 that trace the origins and development of paleoecology. The articles cross taxonomic groups, habitat types, geographic areas, and time and have made substantial contributions to our knowledge of the evolution of life. Encompassing the full breadth of paleoecology, the book is divided into six parts: community and ecosystem dynamics, community reconstruction, diversity dynamics, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, species interaction, and taphonomy. Suggestions for the articles were solicited from a wide range of scientists, with the final choices being made by the members of the Evolution of Terrestrial Ecosystems Program (NMNH-Smithsonian) and a group of external contributors. The selection criteria included publication length, number of citations, taxonomic and environmental representation, impact on the field in terms of initiating new types of research and/or insights in paleoecology, and publication date. For this course, you will be asked to explore why these particular papers were “foundational” to the field of Paleoecology. We will spend two- or three-weeks reading a selection of papers from each section.
IB 286-SEM 003 Seminars in Paleontology
This seminar series is both a course and our weekly get-together with the entire UCMP community. Every week we have a guest speaker: visiting scientists, invited speakers, paleoscientists and science outreachers and educators from the larger Bay Area, or one of our own.