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Undergraduate Bulletin 2008-2009

Courses in Environmental Science

A Env 105 (= A Geo 105) Introduction to Environmental Science (3)
Survey of contemporary environmental issues related to health and disease, nuclear waste disposal, water resources, energy use and conservation, land reclamation, global climate change, and industrial pollution. Scientific principles and data needed for gaining an understanding of environmental challenges on local, regional, and global scales will be emphasized. Three lectures per week. Fall semester only.

T Env 175Z Physical/Chemical Analyses of Ancient Environments (4)
Chemical/physical data derived from early Jurassic sedimentary rocks containing abundant dinosaur footprints (i.e., evidence for a rich ecosystem) will be used to develop multidisciplinary constraints on the nature of the environments that existed about 200 million years ago. Students also collect data bearing on the mechanical and behavioral aspects of theropod dinosaurs that thrived in those environments.  Two field trips to geological localities in Massachusetts and Connecticut occur during the semester to collect data that provide the basis for two, original 12-page papers written in a scholarly format. Fall semester. Only one of A Env 175 and T Env 175 may be taken for credit. Open to Honors College students only.

A Env 201 (= A Geo 201 &  A Gog 201) Environmental Analysis (3)
Uses laboratory work and local field excursions to give students “hands-on” experience in physical geography and environmental sciences. Focuses on human impacts on the environment and on problems of environmental contamination. Prerequisite or co-requisite: A Env 105 or A Gog 101.

A Env 210 (= A Geo 210) Earth Materials (3)
An introduction to the study of major rock- and soil-forming minerals at atomic to macroscopic scales. Major topics include the physical properties, structure, and crystal chemistry of minerals;  mineral-forming processes and transformations; minerals as environmental and geological indicators; and reactions among biota, minerals, and natural waters. Three lectures per week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105; A Chm 120 or 130 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 211 (= A Geo 211) Optical Mineralogy Laboratory (1)
Introduction to the petrographic microscope. Optical properties of minerals and their use for mineral identification. One lab each week. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 210 or permission of instructor. May not be offered in 2008-2009.

A Env 212 (= A Geo 212) Earth Materials Laboratory (1)
Mineral properties and identification in hand-sample and in thin section with the petrographic microscope. Two laboratory hours per week. Co-requisite(s): A Env 210 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 230 (= A Geo 230) Stratigraphy and Sedimentology  (3)
Stratigraphic principles and correlation, identification and classification of sedimentary rocks. Three lectures and one lab each week. Students must also register concurrently for either A Env 231 or A Env 231Z, Field Excursions in Stratigraphy. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105, or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 231 (= A Geo 231) Field Excursions for Stratigraphy (1)
One lab per week and five full-day weekend field trips to be taken concurrently with A Env 230 Stratigraphy. Co-requisite(s): A Env 230 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 231Z (= A Geo 231Z)  Field Excursions for Stratigraphy (2)
One lab per week and five full-day weekend field trips to be taken by Geology and Earth Science BS majors concurrently with A Geo 230 Stratigraphy. Extended written and illustrated reports must be submitted based on the observations made on each trip. A Geo 231Z is the writing intensive version of A Geo 231; only one may be taken for credit. Co-requisite(s): A Geo 230 or permission of instructor.  Fall semester only.

A Env 250 (= A Geo 250) Sustainable Development: Energy and
 Resources (3)
Examination of energy production using non-renewable (coal, oil, natural gas, uranium) versus renewable resources (hydroelectric, solar, wind, geothermal) relative to present and future environmental and societal impacts. Fields trips to energy producing facilities (e.g., Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Plant; Fenner Wind Power Project).
Prerequisite(s): A Env 105 or A Atm 100; A Chm 120 or 130 or A Phy 105; A Mat 111. Spring semester only.

A Env 327 (= A Atm) Meteorological and Environmental  Measurement (3)
Basic exposition of principles involved in the measurement of primary meteorological and environmental parameters. Topics to be covered include measurement uncertainty and the propagation of errors. Instruments for measuring temperature, pressure, humidity, wind field, solar and terrestrial radiation, precipitation, atmospheric aerosols, soil moisture, water quality, and data logging will be examined. Two lectures and one laboratory or demonstration per week. Prerequisites: A Mat 113 or 119; A Phy 105 or 140 or 141. Spring semester only.

A Env 350Y (= A Geo 350Y)  Environmental Geochemistry (4)
Contemporary topics are used to develop concepts of geochemical processes operating in Earth’s environmental system. These topics (a) PCBs in the Upper Hudson River, (b) biogeochemical cycles in the global climate system, and (c) geochemical constraints on long-term disposal of high-level, nuclear wastes. 3 hours per week in classroom setting + 1 hour per week of oral presentations by students. Prerequisite(s): A Env 250. Satisfies the University’s oral discourse requirement. Spring semester only.

A Env 395Z (= A Geo 395Z) Writing in Environmental Science (1)
May be taken with any A Env course at the 300 or 400 level to fulfill a writing intensive version of that course. Students will have an opportunity for assistance during writing and revision of written material with the help of editorial assignments from the instructor. Co-requisite(s): any A Env 300 or A Env 400 level course. Fall and Spring semesters.

A Env 420  (= A Geo 420) Instrumental Analysis in Environmental Science (3)
Hands-on application of instrumental analysis to problems in Geology and Environmental Science. Major topics include emission and absorption spectroscopy, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, sampling methodology, error estimation, and quality control. Two classroom hours and two laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 210 and A Env 350.

A Env 435 (= A Geo 435) Geohydrology (3)
Introduction to surface water hydrology and ground water hydrogeology. Topics to be covered include, stream hydrograph analysis, flood plain determination, drainage basin analysis, aquifer characterization, pump test analysis, groundwater chemistry and tracers, contaminant hydrogeology, regulatory policy, and introduction to groundwater modeling. . Prerequisite(s): A Mat 112, A Chm 120 or 130 or permission of instructor. Spring semester only.

A Env 450 (= A Geo 450) Climate Change (4)
Introduction to the field of Paleoclimatology. Focus will be on the use of sediments and other biological and geological archives to reconstruct environmental, climatic, and oceanographic change over a range of time scales. Lecture will also provide an introduction to the fields of climatology, age dating techniques, climatic/ environmental proxies (tracers), micropaleontology, and time-series analysis. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current scientific studies, class presentations by each student, and a review paper on a relevant topic of choice. 3 lectures each week and 2 hours each week of oral presentations by students; Prerequisite(s): A Chm 120 or 130, A Mat 108, or permission of the instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 455 (= A Geo 455) Special Topics (2-3)
A structured program of reading and seminars leading to an in-depth understanding of a chosen topic in environmental science. Prerequisite: A Env 210 and 230, and permission of instructor. Students may repeat course once for an additional two or three credits. Fall or Spring semester.

A Env 466 (= A Geo 466) Marine/Estuary Systems (3)
Interdisciplinary study of marine and estuary systems with a focus on marine/estuary sedimentology and biogeochemistry. Additional study of lacustrine systems will be integrated into the class. In addition to lectures, the class will involve review of current scientific studies, a class presentation by each student, and a review paper on a relevant topic of choice. 3 lectures each week. Prerequisites: A Env 105, A Chm 120 or 130, A Env 210, or permission of the instructor.

A Env 470 (= A Geo 470) Tectonics (4)
Seismologic basis for plate tectonics, kinematics of plate motions, paleomagnetism. Study of modern mid-ocean ridges, magmatic arcs, transforms, and collisional belts. Three lectures and one lab per week. Prerequisite(s): A Env 230 or permission of instructor. Fall semester only.

A Env 490 Major Topics in Environmental Science (3)
A required course for environmental science majors in their senior year that brings together students from all four concentrations (biology, geology, atmospheric science, and geography) to address major topics in environmental science. Formal presentations by faculty, students, and invited speakers will promote discussion and debate from multi-disciplinary perspectives. Prerequisite(s): A Env 105, 201, 250, and A Atm 301, or permission of the instructor.

A Env 496 Environmental Internships (1-3)
Provides students with practical work experience in environmental science through placements with federal, state, or local government agencies, or private firms. The supervisor’s reference and final report are required. Internships are open to qualified juniors and seniors having overall grade point average of >2.75, and GPA>3.25 in Environmental Science major.  A maximum of 3 credits may be applied toward the major. S/U graded, may be repeated once for credit. Prerequisite(s): permission of department internship coordinator.

A Env 497 (= A Geo 497) Independent Study (1-3)
Field or laboratory investigation of a chosen environmental problem, including the writing of a research report to be undertaken during the senior year. Prerequisite(s): permission of instructor. Students may repeat this course once for additional credits. Fall or Spring semesters.

A Env 498 (= A Geo 498) Undergraduate Honors Research (3)
Supervised research for undergraduates admitted to the Department Honors Program. To be taken summer and/or fall semester at beginning of senior year. Written proposal for research must be approved no later than end of spring semester of junior year. Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and chair. Fall or Spring semesters.

A Env 499 (= A Geo 499) Seminar in Geology (1)
Oral presentation by students of a research topic: attendance at weekly seminar given by other students in this course, and A Geo 500, and regular attendance at geological science seminars given by outside speakers [approximately once weekly in semester]. Students admitted to the Departmental Honors Program must take this course in the last three semesters of their degree program. Fall or spring semesters. May be repeated for up to 3 credits.