Posted by: csdailyblog | February 2, 2010

Conserve Science Classes at Work on Campus and in the Classroom


Jennifer, Bace, Di, Job, and Nicky wielding their loppers during their Applied Ecology class.

Environmental Sensing and Monitoring class is delving deeper into the science of climate change and learning the research behind theories of how humans contribute to changes in climate.  Over the next few weeks we will learn some of the stronger evidence supporting the effect humans have had recently on our climate while also exploring the questcontroversy result from e-mails leaked from East Anglia University.  Since the emails raise questions about tree ring growth and direct temperature observations, we will explore some of the long term methods of studying climate change, called paleoclimatology. We just finished a lesson during which we explored how changes in the ratios of oxygen isotopes in the calcium carbonate shells of foraminifera give us a good indication of changes in planetary temperatures over the past few thousand years. During my semester on a research boat in college, I helped collect sediment cores  that ultimately went to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute for this particular study as well as others.

Meanwhile, the Applied Ecology class has started work on clearing a single track trail around Lake Elaine.  We are clearing the trail using forest management practices, choosing to thin trees that are early successional and prone to increasing fire danger while leaving hardwood saplings intact.  In order to reduce the potential for accumulating fire fuels, we are cutting the thinned brush into small pieces that will remain flat on the ground and decompose faster than if the fallen brush were left fully intact. Many organisms on the forest floor speed the decomposition process.

Photos of the Applied Ecology class by Andy Milbauer.


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