Ecosystems of Alaska Field Course Late Summer 2000

16 May 2000

Those interested in taking this field course should contact the Instructor,
Terry Chapin, More info is available at:

Invitation to Graduate and advanced Undergraduate Students
Join us in the Ecosystems of Alaska Field Course
August 14 - September 1
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Taught by F. Stuart Chapin, III (Terry)

Ecosystems of Alaska focuses on the application of ecological principles to
field research. The course emphasizes the integration of ecology with
climatology, geology, and hydrology to understand the functioning of
ecosystems at local and regional scales. The major objective of this course
is to introduce students to the concepts of ecosystem ecology and their
application to the major ecosystems of Alaska through field research in
these ecosystems. The field research is intended to provide students with
the opportunity to design and conduct several interdisciplinary research
projects and to analyze and interpret the results of this research.
Following several days of lectures, library research, and research planning,
we will spend ten days doing field research in the major ecosystems of
Alaska. At the end of the course, we will hold a symposium in which each
student presents an oral and written report on the ecosystem on which she/he
has specialized. The course involves a full-time commitment for three weeks
in late August/early September. The course provides three undergraduate

Dates, Prerequisites and Availability

August 14 - September 1, 2000.
The course begins 8 am August 14 and finishes at 8 pm September 1. The
course (Biol. 467) is listed as a fall-semester course at the University of
Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

The course is intended for advanced undergraduates or beginning graduate
students. The course requires permission of the instructor, and an undergraduate course in ecology, geology,
hydrology, or climatology.

Availability to Non-Alaskan Students
This course is intended for students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks
and students from other universities around the country. The course is
designed for students who seek a career in ecology and want practical
experience in ecological field research and the application of ecological
principles to northern ecosystems. The maximum class size is 25 students.

Format and Logistics

The course requires full-time involvement of students from 8 am until 8 pm
every day from August 14 through September 1, 2000. There are three major
sections to the course.

I. Introduction: Three days of introductory lectures and field trips will
familiarize students with principles of ecosystem ecology and provide
general background about Alaska.

II. Field research: Ten days of field research in selected Alaskan
ecosystems. Half the time will be spent conducting student-led research
projects. The other half of the time will be spent learning about other
ecosystems from selected ecosystem experts. The class will be divided into 5
research teams. Each team is responsible for designing a research project
to address a specific question that can be answered with one dayís field
work. The student team responsible for an ecosystem will decide on the
measurements to be made, using a research "toolbox" of techniques for which
we have the necessary equipment. The team will make brief presentations to
the rest of the class about their ecosystem, providing background
information about that ecosystem and about the research that will be done.
The team will then direct the rest of the class in collecting the essential
data and will be responsible for analyzing and interpreting these data. Each
student will be a member of one research team.

III. Data analysis and final presentations. For the last four days of the
course, we will prepare and analyze samples and analyze the data
statistically in preparation for a final symposium. At this symposium, each
team will present the results of their research project to the rest of the
class. Each student will prepare an individually written report in the form
of a 3-5 page scientific paper that is due October 1, 2000.

The course will be staged in Fairbanks Alaska. Arrange your own
transportation to and from Fairbanks. We will meet you at the Fairbanks
airport and take you to the dormitories on August 13. The introductory and
final phases of the course will be held at the University of Alaska
Fairbanks, where students will stay in dormitories and eat on campus. During
the field research phase, we will use university vehicles to go to field
sites and will camp near the experimental sites. During this time, students
will stay in tents and take turns preparing meals for the group. The course
begins 8 am August 14 and finishes at 8 pm September 1.
More information is available at the course web site: