Research & Teaching

Global leaders will increasingly be called on to navigate the competition between human needs and environmental protection.

Wildlife, vegetation, soil, air, water, and aquatic ecosystems, together with their human uses, are related to the distinctive, especially spatial, attributes of suburban and urban landscapes.

The German-speaking world has long been known for its ecological concern and green credentials. Myriad films and novels from the post-1945 period deal with the degradation of the environment and the concomitant threat to human life.

This course covers disasters including volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, fires, landslides, hurricanes, famines, pandemic diseases, meteorite impacts, and hurricanes. The course presents basic science, along with detailed case studies of past and present events.

Trees both provide a background in our landscape and play an important role in the ecosystems of the world. This course explores topics related to the growth patterns of trees, their physiology, and their identification. Basic concepts in ecosystem dynamics and forestry practices are discussed.

The oceans contain 97 percent of the Earth's water, and host the most disparate ecosystems on the planet. This course provides an introduction to deep sea ocean habitats, animals, and microorganisms.

This course provides an introduction to marine organisms and the physical and biological processes that affect them.

Our understanding of Earth has changed radically in the last two centuries: after many years of debate, many major questions have come to be seen as largely answered. It is now accepted that the planet formed over 4.5 billion years ago; that the Earth’s surface is made of rigid segments—called pl

This course will explore the relationship between climate, environment and human evolution. How did hominins and other mammals adapt to global cooling and grassland expansion?

The future is not what it used to be.

Confronting the reality of environmental degradation requires more than remote sensing, statistical analysis or institutional restructuring. As images of the changing planet become emblematic of our time, designers are responding with a scrutiny towards amplified scales and extreme events.

A survey of theory and applications of DNA technologies to the study of evolutionary, ecological and behavioral processes in natural populations.

This course focuses on the extraordinary growth and success of public and private land conservation in the United States and abroad during the past forty years.

This course provides extensive background on the history of ecotourism, its role in the development of local economies, its connection to the global tourism trade, its role in the conservation of natural resources, and its context in key case study regions including Central America, Southern Afri

This course examines the historical, social, and political life of nature in its many manifestations--as a source of life and livelihood, as a resource for exploitation, as a heritage to be protected, and as a post-industrial hybrid--in order to understand the variety of human interactions with t

This section gives new History concentrators an introduction to environmental history. Most historians leave the natural world out of the story, but environmental historians regard nature as the inescapable context for human history, including the human impact on nature.

Study of water as a critical resource and as a factor in Earth surface and near-surface processes. Focus on development of relevant mechanics and physics. Hydrologic cycle, surface and groundwater, evapotranspiration, soil physics.

An introduction to the biology of mammals. Lectures and laboratories examine the morphology, systematics, natural history, behavior, ecology, evolutionary relationships, and biogeography of all major taxa.

This seminar examines the world’s systems for the production and distribution of food as they relate to the earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems.  Using scientific readings, papers about economics and politics, and cases about firms, we consider agriculture and food from scientific,

This research seminar is intended for Master in Design Studies (MDES) candidates entering the Urbanism, Landscape, Ecology (ULE) stream as well as Master in Landscape Architecture candidates entering the post-professional (MLA II) Program.

Selected topics in the history of the North American coastal zone, including the seashore as wilderness, as industrial site, as area of recreation, and as artistic subject; the shape of coastal landscape for conflicting uses over time; and the perception of the seashore as marginal zone in litera

This course is intended for students interested in geological, hydrologic, biological, and social sciences with an specific focus on wetland environments and resources. In this course, students gain an interdisciplinary overview of physicochemical, biological, and cultural aspects of wetlands.

This course is a survey course on Natural Resources Law. Topics covered include Wildlife and Biodiversity, Living Marine Resources, Rangelands, Forest Lands, Protected Lands, Minerals, Forests, and Energy Resources.

This course will explore the intersection between religious traditions and ecological activism, with special attention to current conversations about "ethical eating." We will consider both the resources that religious traditions provide to ecological activists and the ways these activists have c

How plants are affected by climate - both spatially across the globe and as climate changes over time - is relevant to understanding patterns of plant evolution, ecosystem structure, and the impact of humans on our planet.

This course is focused on aspects of environmental engineering related to the fate, transport, and control of pollution in surface water ecosystems.

The oceans contain 97 percent of the Earth's water, and host the most disparate ecosystems on the planet. This course provides an introduction to deep sea ocean habitats, animals, and microorganisms.

Fishes inhabit diverse aquatic environments including deep seas, intertidal zones, coral reefs, polar waters, the vast Amazonian basin, and great East African lakes. A single fish species may occupy diverse environments through extraordinary long distance horizontal and vertical migrations.

In this course, we explore the development of our modern food production and distribution system and its effects on our environment and planet. We critically review published studies and other assessments that evaluate the environmental and social impact of food-related products and processes.

Do you think you know who Charles Darwin was?  The legend and sober-looking bearded scholar behind the most important paradigm shift in human history?  In this seminar, we will read a selection of Darwin's publications (including parts of Darwin's seminal work, On the Origin of Species), as well

This is an interdisciplinary graduate-level and advanced undergraduate-level course in which students explore topics in molecular microbiology, microbial diversity, and microbially-mediated geochemistry in depth. This course will be taught by faculty from the Microbial Sciences Initiative.

(Previously offered as IGA-944.) Sustainable development—promoting human well-being while conserving the life-supporting services of the natural environment over the long run—has emerged as a central challenge of the 21st century.

As a scarce and necessary resource for earthly activity, land triggers competition and conflict over its possession, use, development, and preservation. For privately owned land, the market manages much of the competition through its familiar allocative price-setting features.

Introduction to the structure, diversity, and physiology of plants with an emphasis on evolutionary relationships and adaptations to life on land.

An integrated approach to the diversity of life, emphasizing how chemical, physical, genetic, ecological and geologic processes contribute to the origin and maintenance of biological diversity.

An interdisciplinary exploration of Darwin’s ideas and their impact on science and society. The course links the history of Darwin’s ideas with the key features of modern evolutionary biology.

This course introduces basic concepts in the ecology of individual organisms, their populations, and the biological communities in which they live. Emphasis is on terrestrial plant and animal ecology.

This course provides students with a window to the underwater world while we investigate the world's oceans, their habitats, and the diversity of marine life found therein. Topics include the ecology of bays and salt marshes, coral reefs, coastal seas, and the deep sea.

This course surveys the scientific principles of environmental issues and environmental management practices, with attention to the health of both humans and the ecosystem.

This course will examine natural and anthropogenic processes affecting the coastal zone and nearshore environment. Ecological principles and their application to design and planning will be emphasized.

Fall term, four units, required for both MLA 1 and MLA AP students taking the third LA core-studio.

Recognizing that plants are one of the essential mediums of landscape architecture, this class seeks to introduce the student to two basic relationships; the relationship between plants and people (horticulture) and the relationship between plants and the environment (ecology).

Selected topics in the history of the North American coastal zone, including the seashore as wilderness, as industrial site, as area of recreation, and as artistic subject; the shape of coastal landscape for conflicting uses over time; and the perception of the seashore as marginal zone in litera

Field and laboratory research into the history, biology, ecology, culture, and economic problems of local, regional, and world forests. Individual research projects.
Note: Seminars, conferences, field, and laboratory work at the Harvard Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts.

This course examines how microbes and animals have evolved to maintain function throughout the wide range of extant habitats. Emphasis is on physiological/biochemical evolution in response to environmental conditions, including climate change and life in extreme environments.

The oceans contain 97% of Earth’s water, and host the most disparate ecosystems on the planet. This course provides an introduction to deep ocean habitats, macrofauna and microorganisms.

An introduction to the uses of plants by humans. Topics include the form, structure, and genetics of plants related to their use as sources of food, shelter, fiber, flavors, beverages, drugs, and medicines.

This course examines the relationships of organisms to their environment at the individual, population, and community level.

The course covers micro- and macro-evolution, ranging in its focus from population genetics through molecular evolution to the grand patterns of the fossil record.

Global change ecology is the line of scientific inquiry that integrates the responses of organisms, ecosystems, and their environments with changes in human activity and climate.

Conservation biology strives to describe, understand, and forecast biodiversity dynamics by applying ecological and evolutionary theory within the contexts of resource management, economics, sociology and political science.

The physical processes responsible for sea level changes over time scales extending from hours to hundreds of millions of years. Long-term sea-level trends: geological observations, physical mechanisms and eustasy, dynamic topography.

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