Introduction to Environmental Studies

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Polozov
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 1 - Rio de Janeiro - Friday, 7 November | Brazil Download Syllabus

This introductory course will prove that with minimal efforts, vital environmental problems may be identified and productively addressed anytime, anywhere, and in any professional field. Foundational ecological, philosophical, social, cultural, and political aspects will be addressed within the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Science with emphasis on the urgency of educated professional actions in coming decades. Objective scientific reasoning behind important environmental collisions between the public, businesses, and governments will be used to encourage environmentally responsible actions of educated citizens. Importance of intercultural communication and international collaboration on environmental issues will be illustrated via regional and global examples; historical and contemporary events. Diverse field assignments will be incorporated into the course providing variety of options to learn about Environmental Science when following individual interests and career goals.

Field Work

Country: Brazil
Day: 1 - Rio de Janeiro - Friday, 7 November

This lab is 70 points (Participation -- 20 points; Field Notes – 20 points, and Field Journal – 30 points). As a preparation to this lab students will create and review data sheets on mangrove, restingas, forests, and beach ecosystems and the biodiversity of this specific location.  During the introductory field hike (lecture and observations), students will learn firsthand about general features of coastal vegetation (mangroves, restingas); major environmental factors impacting them; natural zonation; ecological successions; biodiversity, and human impact. After the lunch group will continue to explore coastal ecosystems, and anthropogenic factors impacting them. Small teams of students will be assigned to investigate and observe specific phenomena (factors, microhabitats, species, communities, interrelations, etc.) with collection of numerical data while performing independent observations and measurements in accordance with specific protocols. Every student will perform independent observations on location. Results will be assembled into Field Notes, and later – into a Field Journal. Academic Objectives:

  1. Study of General Ecology of coastal ecosystems (mangroves, restingas, forests, and beaches)
  2. Study of Biodiversity and Ecological Successions in Coastal Ecosystems
  3. Study of Anthropogenic Impact on Coastal Ecosystems of Brazil
  4. Development of independent field observational skills, and field data processing