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Ecology

Ecology is the branch of science that studies the interrelationship of organisms and their environments. A student who pursues this concentration will study the major organisms that run and, to a large measure, control the ecosystem surrounding us. The concentration is designed both for students interested in understanding more about the world’s ecology and for those interested in pursuing further studies in ecology at the graduate level, or in entering the work force in the ecological fields. To gain the necessary background for such advanced work, students should complement work in the concentration with related coursework in the sciences and environmental studies. This concentration can be fruitfully combined with the science foundations or a concentration in biology or environmental studies. Faculty members in ecology are active researchers with ties to many local groups, including Hudsonia, Ltd., which is located at Bard College, and the Berkshire Environmental Research Center, Ltd. (BERC) at Simon’s Rock. Thus, they are able to help students secure local internships where they are involved in research that can serve as the basis for the thesis.

Curriculum

The curriculum is, as might be expected, centered around the ecosystem. The core courses, which all students in the concentration must take, provide the minimum breadth of understanding the student pursuing ecological studies should have in order to fully comprehend and evaluate the issues affecting the ecosystem. In addition, the concentration includes a course on research methods in the natural sciences and at least one approved elective for a total minimum of 23 credits to complete the requirements.

Core Courses

Biology 200 General Botany
Biology 203 Invertebrate Zoology
Biology 204 Vertebrate Zoology
Environmental Studies 200 Principles of Ecology
Natural Sciences 410 or Social Science 309 Research Methods

Acceptable Electives

Biology 206 General Microbiology

Recent Senior Theses

“A Study of the Life Histories of the Fishes of a Small Massachusetts Pond”
“Diggin’ in the Dirt: The Simon’s Rock Community Garden”
“Sex in the Multi-Dimensional Hypercube”
“A Study of Sympatric Populations of the Painted Turtle, Chrysemys picta (L.) and the Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpintina (L.) in a Berkshire County Pond”
“The Crenal Fauna of the Berkshires: A Survey of Three Berkshire County Springs”
“The Slimy Sculpin (Cottus Cognatus) of the Green River, Berkshire County, Massachusetts”
“Women’s Plant Gathering and Veld Resource Management: A Case Study of Mokokwana Village, Botswana”

Faculty

Christopher Coggins, Donald Roeder, Robert Schmidt
Faculty Contacts: Donald Roeder, Robert Schmidt