Applied Ecology (ENSC 550 / BIOL 464 / BIOL 564, Spring 2013)

Instructor: Dr. Zhi-Qing Lin

Office: 0328 SL


Phone: 650-2650

Class Schedule:  Thursdays, 6:00 pm -8:50 pm; 3225 Science Building (Lecture) and 1211A Science Building (Computer Lab)

Office Hours: by appointment

Course Description:
This graduate/senior-undergraduate course will explore the ways in which ecological science can be applied to solving some of the most important environmental problems facing our world today, such as the conservation of species, wetland restoration, and mitigation of environmental impacts. We will draw together, in a single course, major topics in environmental and resource management that traditionally have been presented amongst several different courses so that we will look at those difficult conflicts and choices in a balanced way. Students will be encouraged to explore current and emerging fields in applied ecology.


Course Prerequisites: A basic understanding of biology and general ecology is required.

Text Book: Applied Ecology and Environmental Management. 2nd edition. By Edward Newman. Blackwell Science, 2000.

Reference Books: First Ecology. 3rd edition. By Alan Beeby and Anna-Maria Brennan. 2008. Oxford University Press; Applied Ecology and Natural Resource Management. By G.R. McPherson and S. DeStefano. Cambridge University Press. 2003.

Additional selected articles from journals (e.g., Journal of Applied Ecology) and the internet will be given as supplemental reading materials.

Course Objectives:

1) To understand how basic ecological principles are applied to solve current important environmental issues; 2) To increase students’ awareness of the importance and complexity of evaluating potential impacts of environmental problems on the global ecosystem; and 3) To enhance students’ critical thinking ability.

Grading Policy:

Class exams (two midterms and one final): Material presented in class lectures and required readings will form the basis for examination questions. Class examinations will require an understanding of lecture and reading materials, and result in applications of the knowledge to practical situations. Students will need to give one research presentation on a selected topic of applied ecology. Graduate students will be required to prepare their research presentations more thoroughly and in depth. Each assignment and exam will also have at least one extra question for graduate students. To answer those extra questions, a comprehensive understanding of the text book and materials will be required.

Grading: Two midterm exams: 50% (25% each); Assignments: 10%; Research presentation: 10%; Final exam: 30%. Total Points: 100.  A: 90-100; B: 80-89; C: 70-79; D: 60-69; F: <60.

Attendance Policy:

Regular prompt attendance is required for success in this course. Only University approved absences will be accepted. Because classroom or group discussion will form an important part of class lectures, excessive absences may result in a 10% reduction of your overall grade or being dropped from the course.

Students with Disabilities


Students with disabilities should visit the Disability Support Services (DDS) located in the Student Success Center, Room 1270, at their earliest convenience to meet the director and discuss available services.  The student with a documented disability and a disability ID card from DSS should also notify the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements.


Academic Misconduct:

"Acts of academic misconduct for which students are subject to sanctions include, without limitation, plagiarism, cheating, failure or refusal to follow clinical practice standards, falsifying or manufacturing scientific or educational data and/or representing manufactured data to be the result of scientific or scholarly experiment or research, and soliciting, aiding, abetting, concealing, or attempting such act. Plagiarism is defined as including, without limitation, the act of representing the work of another as one's own. Plagiarism may consist of copying, paraphrasing, or otherwise using the written, electronic, or oral work of another without proper acknowledgement or consent of the source or presenting oral, electronic, or written material prepared by another as one's own. Plagiarism also includes using information from electronic resources, including the Internet, without the use of proper citations." (SIUE Student Academic Code, Spring 2003)

In the event of academic misconduct, the student is subject to a number of penalties, including a failing grade for a plagiarized assignment or for a course.

Lecture Schedule:

Week 1: Course Introduction. Basic natural resources; Energy, carbon balance, and global climate change


Week 2: Basic natural resources: Biofuels and ecological impacts; energetics of agroecosystem; Classroom discussion: Global warming/climate change


Week 3: Basic natural resources: Water and precipitation processes


Week 4: Basic natural resources: Soil and soil erosion; Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE)


Week 5: Biological resources – Fish from the Sea, surplus yield and sustainable fishery


Week 6: Term Exam I covers materials from Weeks1 to 4; Case study and classroom discussion


Week 7: Management of grazing lands; Tallgrass prairie


Week 8: Forest production, deforestation and management; Research outline due


Week 9: (Spring break, no class)


Week 10: Pest Control: chemical resistance and management


Week 11: Biodiversity - conservation and management of wild species


Week 12: Term Exam II covers materials from Weeks 5 to 10; Case study and classroom discussion


Week 13: Restoration of natural ecosystem: principles for wetland restoration


Week 14: Pollution and environmental health; Phytoremediation


Week 15: Ecosystem management - Adaptive community-based conservation


Week 16: Student research presentations


Week 17: Final Exam covers materials from Weeks 11 to 16.