EES 100 – Introduction to Oceanography
This class is in basic oceanography. Oceanography is the study of marine systems from a physical, chemical, geological, and biological point of view. In this class, we will explore the formation and structure of the oceanic basins, the geochemistry of seawater and sediments, the ocean circulation patterns, and the composition and distribution of biological populations as a function of different physical and chemical variables. At the end of the semester, we will discuss some special topics, such as global warming and ocean acidification, overfishing, and coastal pollution.
EES 274/474 – Paleoceanography and Climate Change
This course will explore the ocean-climate system from a geological perspective, with particular emphasis on the past 65 million years of Earth’s history. At the beginning, we will learn about the ocean-climate connection today. Then, we will explore how physical, chemical, and biological aspects of ocean and climate leave characteristic imprints in marine sediments and what are the tools available to scientists to extract and read such clues. Finally, we will assess the role of oceanic processes in the global climate by exploring past climate regimes, including past greenhouse periods, rapid climatic perturbations, and transitions to cooler climates. This class has no specific prerequisites, but some coursework in earth sciences, oceanography, and/or geochemistry might be helpful.
EES 220 – Geobiology
This course investigates Geobiology, the study of the interactions between the biosphere (living organisms and their products) and the geosphere (atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere). In the first part of the semester, the class will explore how the geosphere’s chemical and physical processes influenced life and evolution and how life influenced the Earth system during roughly the last 4 billion years. This will be done mainly through the reading and discussion of seminal papers. The second part of the semester will focus on students’ investigation of specific geobiology topics, like microbial weathering of minerals, biomineralization, the role of different microbial metabolisms in elemental cycling, the ocean redox history and its relationship to the origin of life itself. In addition to learning geobiology fundamentals, students will learn how to undertake a scientific literature search, read and understand scientific material, brainstorm and develop new ideas, and write a final research paper.
EES 310 – Science and Sustainability
The goal of this class is to acquaint students with the use and value of science in the quest for sustainability, with particular emphasis on energy, air and water quality, mineral resources, wastemanagement, and food. Students will attend weekly lectures that will be given by faculty from around the University of Rochester and neighboring institutions. In addition to attending lectures,students will read material relevant to each week’s lecture topic, will participate in discussions that will follow the lectures, and will write an essay every two weeks to discuss one of the topics presented in class. Grading is based on attendance and active participation in lectures and discussions, as well as on the written assignments.