2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Advanced Research in Environmental Studies

Last Updated: 03/19/2009

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Maria Bastaki environmental toxicology, Gerardo Chin-Leo marine science, Dylan Fischer forest and plant ecology, Martha Henderson geography, John Longino entomology, ecology, Nalini Nadkarni forest ecology, Lin Nelson environmental health and policy, Erik V. Thuesen marine science, zoology, Alison Styring ornithology

Faculty Signature Required: Students must contact individual faculty sponsor to work out arrangements.

Major areas of study include areas of student interest.

Class Standing: Juniors or seniors; transfer students welcome.

Prerequisites: Negotiated individually with faculty sponsor.

Rigorous quantitative and qualitative research is an important component of academic learning in Environmental Studies. This independent learning opportunity is designed to allow advanced students to delve into real-world research with faculty who are currently engaged in specific projects. The program will help students develop vital skills in research design, data acquisition and interpretation, written and oral communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills-all of which are of particular value for students who are pursuing a graduate degree, as well as for graduates who are already in the job market.

The research conducted by the student will generally last multiple quarters and function as a capstone to the student's academic work at Evergreen. Students can also take advantage of this opportunity to write a senior thesis. The following faculty are seeking advanced students to assist with their research projects.

Maria Bastaki studies the toxicity of chemical mixtures as representative of multiple exposures to environmental pollutants. Research projects include toxicological interactions among endocrine disrupters and genetic susceptibility to environmental exposures, and involve computer modeling of structure-activity relationships and laboratory methods using in vitro cell cultures. Students will learn how toxicological evidence is generated and the basis of remaining uncertainties.

Gerardo Chin-Leo studies marine phytoplankton and bacteria. His research interests include understanding the factors that control seasonal changes in the biomass and species composition of Puget Sound phytoplankton. In addition, he is investigating the role of marine bacteria in the geochemistry of estuaries and hypoxic fjords.

Dylan Fischer studies plant ecology and physiology in the Intermountain West and southwest Washington. This work includes image analysis of tree roots, genes to ecosystems approaches, plant physiology, carbon balance, species interactions, community analysis, and restoration ecology. He also manages the Evergreen Ecological Observation Network project: (academic.evergreen.edu/projects/EEON). See more about his lab'swork at: academic.evergreen.edu/f/fischerd/E3.htm

Martha Henderson studies rural Western landscapes as processes of geography and anthropology in Pacific Northwest areas of environmental stress and economic change. Research projects include Native American landscapes and environmental change, rural communities in a global perspective, and community leadership and decision-making. Students will engage in ethnographic and spatial data gathering and analysis including the use of geographic information systems. Local environmental histories, cultural diversity, and changing resource bases will be examined. Archival and field research is encouraged.

John Longino studies insect taxonomy and ecology, with a specific research focus on ants. His research program is a combination of field work in Costa Rica and collections-based research at the Evergreen campus. Students may become involved in local or neo-tropical fauna studies, with field- and/or collections-based activities.

Nalini Nadkarni is a forest ecologist and studies the ecological interactions of canopy-dwelling plants and animals in tropical and temperate rainforests. She is the president of the International Canopy Network, headquartered at Evergreen. She welcomes students who want experience in nonprofit organizations to work with her on communicating scientific information about forest canopies to other researchers, educators and conservationists. She is also interested in communicating her work to nonscientists and working with artists on collaborative ways of understanding trees and forests.

Lin Nelson studies and is involved with advocacy efforts on the linkages between environment, health, community and social justice. Students can become involved inresearching environmental health in Northwest communities and Washington policy on phasing out persistent, bio-accumulative toxins. One major project students can work on is the impact of the Asarco smelter in Tacoma, examining public policy andregional health.

Alison Styring studies birds. She will sponsor research on bird-focused projects or projects incorporating natural history and observational methods. Three areas of special interest are natural history collections, with specimen-based research and collection curation and management; the Evergreen Ecological Observation Network (EEON) for field projects focusing on wildlife in the evergreen forest; and restoring monitoring in the Nisqually delta.

Erik Thuesen conducts research on the ecological physiology of marine animals. He and his students are currently investigating the physiological, behavioral and biochemical adaptations of gelatinous zooplankton to estuarine hypoxia. Other research is focused on the biodiversity of marine zooplankton. Students working in his lab typically have backgrounds in different aspects of marine science, ecology, physiology and biochemistry.

Credits: 4, 8, 12 or 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 25

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Special Expenses: Transportation costs may be needed for field work.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in botany, ecology, education, entomology, environmental studies, environmental health, geology, land-use planning, marine science, urban agriculture, taxonomy and zoology.

Planning Units: Environmental Studies