A unique two-year virtual program of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.
In this course students will explore the science of climate change and the responses of biological and ecological systems to those changes. Students will compare current climate change to past climate cycles and use satellite-collected data and other technologies to explore the signals of a changing climate. Policy options related to conservation biology will also be discussed in the course.
Assignments in this course include weekly labs or case studies, readings and written problem sets based on the readings. There is one mid-term test and a major final project.
Students will emerge from the course with an understanding of climate change and climate change biology.
They will be able to:
1) Demonstrate a solid understanding of the climate system and their interrelationship with living systems.
2) Evaluate the various factors that shape climate and impact living systems.
3) Describe how past climates contribute to our current understanding of climate change.
4) Explain the consequences, risks, and uncertainties of climate change.
Students who are interested in biology, ecology, environmental and conservation will find this course to be rewarding.
This course is very similar to college courses in environmental science, ecology and environmental policy courses that focus on conservation biology.
The expected time commitment for this class is eight hours per week, though this number fluctuates up and down depending on the labs or case studies assigned. We meet in a weekly synchronous session (one hour per week. The week generally begins with an overview of weekly activities and then information about the weekly lab and readings.
Sample work schedule:
Monday Reading assignment questions
Wednesday Online meeting of the class (8 – 9 PM)
Friday Submission of activity, lab or group project work
Weekend Begin new reading assignment
Students should have studied biology and/or ecology at the high school level before taking this course. AP Environmental Science would be an excellent preparation but is not a formal prerequisite.
Climate change biology is the study of the impact of climate change on natural systems in the environment with emphasis on understanding the interactions between biological systems and the climate system. The goal of climate change biology is the development of management techniques designed to preserve natural systems. Students study past climate-biological systems interactions, currently observed changes, biological theory, and modeling in order to develop an understanding of possible mitigation and management approaches.
Textbook: Climate Change Biology by Lee Hannah, Elsevier, 2011 ISBN/9780123741820
Dr. Schmalbeck teaches Advanced Placement Environmental Science in the residential program at NCSSM. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Engineering from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Prior to becoming a teacher at NCSSM she worked as a research environmental scientist at RTI International in Research Triangle Park for many years.