How can we feed a growing population and conserve biodiversity without destroying the planet?

Introduction to Environmental Biology is designed to teach important principles of environmental biology and general science literacy skills. The course is threaded around a central organizing question: how can we feed a growing and more urbanized human population and conserve biodiversity without destroying the planet? We focus on the foundational biological principles involved in four main topics in the context of some contentious and confusing issues related to environmental biology in everyday life: human population growth, biological fluxes of carbon and energy in the ecosystem, biodiversity and conservation, and sustainable agriculture. The science literacy skills that are covered in this course help students face scientific and pseudoscientific claims about the environment and society in everyday life and will form the foundation for your development as a critical consumer of science information in the media. This course is taught in an active learning format utilizing reading homework before class to learn content and a mix of active student discussion and short lectures during class. Grades are based on homework, unit quizzes, and scientific literacy projects. This is an introductory course designed for first and second year students, though students of all years have found the course impactful and meaningful. Students will be manually assigned to a section by the instructor after add/drop is over; sections allow assignment into groups with dedicated TAs, but all section-based work happens during the main course time slot. Fall semester; 3.0 Units; Instructor: Barbara Schaal, Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor, Department of Biology