Applied Ecology (ENSC 450/550 / BIOL 464, Spring 2018)

Instructor: Dr. Zhi-Qing Lin

Office: 2165 Science West


Phone: 650-2650

Class Schedule:Thursdays, 6:00 pm -8:50 pm; Peck Hall 3316

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: BIOL 365 (C or above) or equivalent, or consent of Instructor.

Text Books:

Ecological Applications: Toward a Sustainable World. 1st edition. Colin R. Townsend. Wiley & Sons, 2007.

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

Reference Books:

Applied Ecology, 1st edition. Anne Goodenough & Adam Hart. Oxford University Press. 2017.

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 books 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 studentsí awareness of the importance and complexity of evaluating potential impacts of environmental problems on the global ecosystem; and (3) To enhance studentsí critical thinking ability.

Course Requirements for Graduate Students:

For the third/last hour of each weekly meeting, the undergraduates will remain but graduate students will be excused. The third hour of instruction for graduate students will be on-line. Graduate students will study more in-depth research articles and participate in discussion on current literature pertaining to the course. Graduate students will also be required to give a research presentation on a selected topic of applied ecology. Graduate students also need to become familiar with the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE2) for soil erosion calculation.

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. The test questions will be different between undergraduate and graduate students.

Grading for undergraduate students: Two midterm exams: 60% (30% each); Final exam: 40%. Total Points: 100.A: 90-100; B: 80-89; C: 70-79; D: 60-69; F: <60.

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

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, including special assistance during an emergency evacuation.


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 (1/11):†††† Course Introduction;

Energy, carbon balance, and global climate change; Energetics of agro-ecosystems; Biofuels and ecological impacts


Week 2 (1/18):†††† Soil and soil erosion; Introduction of Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE); Soil salinity management


Week 3 (1/25):†††† Fresh water and precipitation processes;

Fish from the Sea: surplus yield and sustainable fishery


Week 4 (2/1):†††††† Management of grazing lands; Tallgrass prairie;

Forest production, deforestation and management


Week 5 (2/8):†††††† Case study and classroom discussion

Term Exam I covers materials from Weeks 1 to 4


Week 6 (2/15):†††† Pest Control: chemical resistance and ecological management

(Research outline due)


Week 7 (2/22):†††† Biodiversity - conservation and management of wild species

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Invasive species and management


Week 8 (3/1):†††††† Restoration of natural ecosystems; principles for watershed restoration; ecological engineering


Week 9 (3/8):†††††† (Spring break, no class)


Week 10 (3/15):†† Case study and classroom discussion

Term Exam II covers materials from Weeks 5 to 10


Week 11 (3/22):†† Phytoremediation of contaminated soils


Week 12 (3/29):†† Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatments: Concepts and principles


Week 11 (4/5):†††† Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatments: design, application, and field management


Week 14 (4/12):†† Ecosystem management: Adaptive community-based conservation


Week 15 (4/19):†† Case studies; Student research presentations


Week 16 (4/26):†† Student research presentations


Week 17 (5/3):†††† Final Exam covers materials from Weeks 11 to 16.