Welcome to the Biol 416 Web Page for Fall 2019
The ecosystem approach to ecology treats organisms and the physical aspects of their environment as components of a single integrated system. Terrestrial ecosystem functioning is governed by interactions amongst animals, plants, and soil organisms, as well as exchanges of energy and resources with the atmosphere, soils, rocks, and aquatic environments. This advanced undergraduate level ecology course is focused on plant-soil interactions as being a fundamental determinant of the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems around the world. As a group, we will attempt to synthesize recent advances arising from the ecosystem approach with established ecological theory to describe and explain ecosystem-level patterns and processes in the terrestrial environment.
The course content for the Fall 2019 iteration will be centered on identifying, critiquing, and applying terrestrial ecosystem ecological concepts to address the following thematic question: What specific terrestrial ecosystem-level ecology concepts would be most beneficial to meeting global food demands in 2050, while also addressing industrial agriculture’s deleterious impacts on soil, air, and human well-being?
By the end of this course, the student should be able to:
- Explain and evaluate the major concepts underlying terrestrial ecosystem ecology that distinguish it from lower hierarchical levels such as community and population ecology
- Describe and contrast the major processes and features that distinguish local terrestrial ecosystems, especially in the context of how soil-plant relationships influence farmers’ crop-type choices
- Formulate clear, original, challenging, and concise thematic questions from study reading material that are likely to lead to focussed and intellectually probing seminar group discussions, student-led seminar topics or short essay writing pieces
- Explain the concept of food insecurity as it applies at both local (Kingston) and global scales
- Synthesize, evaluate, and critique the potential solutions to meeting future local and global food demands
- Present a stimulating, informative and creative seminar on a fundamental issue connecting agroecosystem ecology and global food supply/demand
- Develop an original, cohesive, synthesis essay on the distinctive concepts of ecosystem-level ecology that would be most useful in developing and expanding sustainable farming practices.
Professor: Paul Grogan
Lecture times: Mondays 08.30-10.00; Thursdays 10.00-11.30
Lab/field trip times: Mondays: 2.30-5.30; Overnight field trip in October
Lab Instructor: Meghan Hamp (E-mail: email@example.com; Office: Room 2507)
Location: Room 3110, (Labs 3312) Biosciences building
15% Participation in seminar discussions
15% Seminar questions
15% Field trip discussion participation
30% Final essay
Required textbook: Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology. 2011. 2nd edition. Chapin, F.S. III, Matson, P.A. and Vitousek, P. Springer.
Schedule (to be updated throughout the course): Lecture/Seminar sessions are 80 minutes; Labs up to 3 hours.
|Week Beginning||Day and time||Convenor||Topic||Reading|
|9 Sept||Monday, 08.30||Paul||The Ecosystem Concept||Chapin et al, Chapter 1: 1-12,17-22.|
|Monday, 2.30 - LAB||
Discussion: The Future of Global Agriculture.
Field trip to Bellevue House Kitchen Gardens
|Paper: Foley, J et al. (2011). Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature. 478: 337–342.
Video: Foley, J. The Other Inconvenient Truth
Video: Food Inc. (accessible via Queen’s library video collection entitled Criterion on Demand at https://media3-criterionpic-com.proxy.queensu.ca/htbin/wwform/006?T=AL111097
|Thursday, 10.00||Paul||The Ecosystem Concept (contd.) and the State Factor Framework for understanding Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology||Chapin et al, Chapter 1: 13-17; Chapter 2: 23-26, 38-41, 50-61|
||Paul||State Factors to understand Soil Development||Chapter 3: 63-69.|
|Monday, 2.30 - LAB||Mara Shaw (Exec. Director - Loving Spoonful)||Local Food Security, Food Waste, Food Education & Political Action||Loving Spoonful
Cost of Healthy Eating in Kingston (2018) https://www.kflaph.ca/en/healthy-living/Cost-of-Healthy-Eating.aspx
||Paul||Anthropogenic impacts on Soils||Chapter 3: 78-82.|
|23 Sept||Monday, 08.30||Paul||Soil-types, Transformations, and Physical Properties||
|Monday, 2.30 - LAB||
|30 Sept||Monday, 08.30||Paul||The Biology of Soils I||Chapin et al, Chapter 7: 183-190; 243-244; Chapter 9: 271-280 (overview).|
|Monday, 2.30 - LAB||Compost and soil biology investigations|
||Chapin et al, Chapter 7: 190-194; Chapter 11: 321-324; 333-335.|
||Field trip||Forman Farm with Charlie Forman, Ironwood Organics Farm with Chris Wooding, and QUBS Bracken Tract|
|7 October||Monday, 08.30||Harris Ivens||Connecting plants to soil - As above, so below?; An agriculture-less future?|
|Monday, 2.30 - LAB||Dr. Christian Seiler, Research Scientist, Environment and Climate Change Canada.||Climate and terrestrial ecosystem modelling||Bonan, G. 2018. Climate Change and Terrestrial Ecosystem Modeling. Chapter 1, especially section 1.7.|
|Thursday, 10.00||Paul||Decomposition, and Plant-Soil interactions||Chapin et al, Chapter 7: 194-204; Chapter 8: 229-233, 238-241, 253-255.|
|14 October||Monday, 08.30||No class - Thanksgiving holiday|
|Thursday, 10.00||Paul||Do the concepts of terrestrial ecosystem ecology that apply to agriculture differ in relative importance between the temperate zone and the tropics? - Case studies from India and Guatemala||Grogan, P., Lalnunmawia, F., and Tripathi, S. K. 2012 Shifting cultivation in steeply sloped regions: A review of management options and research priorities for Mizoram state, Northeast India. Agroforestry Systems 84: 163-177.|
|20 October||Sunday||Field trip||Ravensfield Farm with Titia Posthuma|
|21 October||Monday, 08.30||No class – seminar preparation time|
||No class - Fall term Reading Break|
|28 October||Monday, 08.30||Ellie Hamburger and Samantha Peacock||Food losses and food waste: What practical changes can you make on a day-to-day basis to be less part of the problem and more part of the solution?||Gustavsson J. et al. 2011. Global food losses and food waste. Report. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.|
|Thursday, 10.00||Amber Guidice and Olivia Marshall||Will current soil amendments be able to remediate our arable land in order to sustain projected global food demands?||Kammann, C.I. et al. 2015. Plant growth improvement mediated by nitrate capture in co-composted biochar. Scientific Reports 5:11080|
|4 November||Monday, 08.30||Nandaraye Choi and Tristan Setoyama||With increasing population and decreasing reservoirs of fertile land, how can urban infrastructure incorporate hydrocultural technology for more sustainable food production in the future?||Martellozzo et al, 2014. Urban agriculture: a global analysis of the space constraint to meet urban vegetable demand. Environmental Research Letters, 9, 064025.|
|Monday 2.30||Paul||Essay brainstorming session||European earthworms demo.|
|Thursday, 10.00||Mike Hann and Thalib Nowshir||The yield gap between organic and conventional agriculture: is polyculture the best solution?||Ponisio, L et al. 2014. Diversification practices reduce organic to conventional yield gap. Proceedings of the Royal Society B (282):20141396.|
|11 November||Monday, 08.30||Jillian Campbell and Tavleen Matharu||Jillian Campbell and Tavleen Matharu||Barbosa, G et al, 2015. Comparison of Land, Water, and Energy Requirements of Lettuce Grown using Hydroponic vs. Conventional Agricultural Methods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 12:6879-6891.|
|Thursday, 10.00||Ellie Meldrum and Silvi Raud||
What would it take to make permaculture part of the solution to our global food crisis?
(Essay outline due)
|Hirschfeld S, and Van Acker R
2019. Permaculture farmers consistently cultivate perennials, crop diversity, landscape heterogeneity and nature conservation. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems 1–10.
|18 November||Monday, 08.30||Andrew Kusnierczyk and Jeffrey So||How can the often-demonized GMOs be a significant part of the sustainable solution to feeding our predicted global population in 2050?||Brookes G & Barfoot P. 2013. Key environmental impacts of global genetically modified (GM) crop use 1996–2011. GM Crops & Food 4(2):109-119.|
|Thursday, 10.00||Andrew Clifford and Gerard Manella||How can maintaining soil biodiversity within agro-ecosystems aid civilization in feeding 9 billion people by the year 2050?||Brussaard, L. et al. 2007. Soil biodiversity for agricultural sustainability. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 121:233–244.|
|25 November||Monday, 08.30||Meghan and Paul||
Meghan: How some of the concepts in this course underly my M.Sc. thesis research
Paul: Sustaining socio-ecological systems
|Chapin et al, Chapter 15, 423-446.|
Initial brain-storming blackboard session on the course theme and its relationship to the contents of Jonathan Foley's Nature paper entitled 'Solutions for a Cultivated Planet' and the Food Inc. video documentary
Class of Fall 2019! Back row: Ellie Hamburger, Andrew Kusnierczyk, Mike Hann, Andrew Clifford, Amber Guidice, Gerard Mannella, Thalib Nowshir, and you know who. Middle row (left side): Silvi Raud, Ellie Meldrum, Samantha Peacock, Tavleen Matharu. Front row: Meghan Hamp, Olivia Marshall, Jillian Campbell, Tristan Setoyama, Jeffrey So, and Nandaraye Choi. See other lab and field trip photos here
Last update: 21 November 2019