Ecology and Earth Systems Field Research
Course Title: ENSC-4600 Ecology and Earth Systems Field Research
4 credits, advanced, liberal, does not satisfy a SUNY General Education requirement.
Instructors: Kevin Woo and Nathan Whitley-Grassi
Engaging in an undergraduate field research project is an educational opportunity for students with a desire to enrich their learning experience within a particular subject. For this particular course, students will explore perspectives in the areas of ecology, earth science and geology. Ecology and Earth Systems Field Research is an eight-week course, enabling students to design a research project, collect data and perform analysis, interpret results and prepare a written scientific paper of the work. Students will participate in a scientific field experience at SUNY Oneonta's Biological Field Station.
Each student will pursue an individual research project under the guidance of one faculty member, yet collaborate with all three faculty. Some projects may include techniques, such as nocturnal mammal trap and release, to identify and analyze animal behavior; capture and identification of invertebrate fauna to understand local aquatic ecology; and the use of rocks to decipher the geologic history of an area. This approach will provide students with the skills necessary to undertake similar projects in their career field or future graduate program.
In this course, students will become familiar with scientific and field research, as well as interdisciplinary collaboration. They will participate in the generation of new ideas and information through field data analysis. In addition to the field work, students will continue to connect with workshops presented by visiting scientists, shared field experiences, scientific presentations and diverse workshops that focus on environmental themes, like sustainability. Through discussions, students will cover basic field safety procedures, the scientific method, applied statistics, geology of the area and evolutionary biology. These discussions will help to provide the theoretical framework for conducting fieldwork.
Students will work online with faculty, before and after the onsite meeting.