2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Environmental Analysis

Fall 2012, Winter 2013 and Spring 2013 quarters

Andrew Brabban biology, genetics, microbiology , Clyde Barlow (F,W) chemistry, instrumental analysis , Kenneth Tabbutt geology
Fields of Study
biology, chemistry, ecology, environmental studies, field studies, geology and hydrology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
geology, hydrology, chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, ecology, chemical instrumentation, environmental analysis and environmental fieldwork.
One year college chemistry, and college algebra required. One year college biology with a molecular emphasis recommended.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." For scientists, beauty may be at the scale of the landscape, the organism, or the atomic level. In order to describe a system, scientists are required to collect quantitative data. This is a rigorous program that will focus on investigations in geology and biology supported with analytical chemistry. Instrumental techniques and chemical analysis skills will be developed in an advanced laboratory. The expectation is that students will learn how to conduct accurate chemical, ecological and hydrogeological measurements in order to define baseline assessments of natural ecosystems and determine environmental function and/or contamination. Quantitative analysis, quality control procedures, research design and technical writing will be emphasized.

During fall and winter quarters, topics in physical geology, geochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, freshwater ecology, genetics, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, GIS, and instrumental methods of chemical analysis will be addressed. Students will participate in group projects studying aqueous chemistry, hydrology, and the roles of biological organisms in the nutrient cycling processes of local watersheds. Analytical procedures based on EPA, USGS and other guidelines will be utilized to measure major and trace anion and cation concentrations. Molecular methods and biochemical assays will complement more classical procedures in determining biodiversity and the role of specific organisms within an ecosystem. Computers and statistical methods will be used extensively for data analysis and simulation and GIS will be used as a tool to assess spatial data. The program will start with a two-week field trip to Yellowstone National Park that will introduce students to regional geology of the Columbia River Plateau, Snake River, Rocky Mountains and the Yellowstone Hotspot. Issues of water quality, hydrothermal systems, extremophilic organisms and ecosystem diversity will also be studied during the trip.

Spring quarter will be devoted to extensive project work continuing from fall and winter. There will be a 5-day field trip to eastern Washington. Presentation of project results in both oral and written form will conclude the year.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Required Fees
$570 for a fall field trip to Yellowstone National Park; $200 for a spring field trip to eastern Washington.
Internship Required
Program content forms a foundation for informative spring internships with faculty approval.
Upper Division Science Credit
Up to 48 upper division science credits may be awarded.
May be offered again in
Offered During