In all of our interactions with the natural environment, we are realizing our intimate connection to the world. Whether we are concerned about catastrophic weather, global climate change, water shortages, or declining fisheries, Earth’s four natural subsystems all play a roll in our lives. In this class, we will focus on our relationship to the natural subsystems of the Earth: the hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. What better way to explore global systems than to travel around the world on the ocean (hydrosphere), explore stunning landscapes (geosphere), experiencing climates from temperate to tropical (atmosphere), and witnessing the animals and plants unique to these climates (biosphere). We will monitor the condition of these systems through activities on board and in port to see how each of us is part of this beautiful, inter-connected world.
- Understand the Earth from a system science approach
- Appreciate the links among the hydrosphere, geosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere and how system characteristics and interactions vary globally
- Recognize the ways in which humans impact the environment and are influenced by it
- Become familiar with methods and tools scientist use
- Become motivated to investigate environmental issues outside the classroom
*Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.
Field WorkCountry: Malaysia
Date: February 19, 2020
Mangroves are an important coastal ecosystem in the tropics. Mangroves offer habitat and a nursery for many species, including commercially important fish and shellfish. Mangroves also act as a buffer for the coastline when major storms, waves, and sea level rise threaten coastal ecology and communities. However, development, clearing for agriculture and aquaculture, illegal logging, and poaching all threaten the health of mangroves throughout Southeast Asia, including near Port Klang. We will explore rich plants and wildlife of a mangrove forest, the measures that have been taken to protect it, and the threats it faces, both from people and changing climate conditions.
1. Understand the role of mangroves, coastlines, and island landscapes in supporting wildlife
2. Explore the potential impacts of climate change on mangrove ecosystems
3. Investigate how human activities, such as logging and pollution, impact mangrove ecosystems
4. Participate in a service project to help restore mangrove habitat near Port Klang