Global Environmental Change - EBIO 1040

Cades Cove, Smoky Mountain
          National Park, photo by B.E. Fleury

These course materials are intended for students enrolled in EBIO 1040 for Fall 2013.
EBIO majors must take EBIO 2050, offered by Dr. Blum.

  • Lecture Syllabus

  • Class Schedule

  • Honors Syllabus

  • Terms

  • Lecture Notes

  • The Louisiana Environment

  • Links
     Return to B. Fleury's Home Page

    Lecture Syllabus

    Class Time:  Sections 01/02 - Tues. & Thurs., 11:00 to 12:15, in Dinwiddie 102; Honors students (02) will also meet Monday 3:00 to 4:50 in Boggs 242.

    Instructor:  Dr. Bruce E. Fleury
                        Stern 4030, (862) x8290, or leave a message at x5191 (EEB Office)
                        email to:
                        home page:

    Office Hours:  Mon. 1:00-2:30 PM, Tues.& Thurs. 1:30-2:30 PM, or by appointment.

    Textbook: Raven and Berg, Environment. Wiley, latest ed.; Mann, Michael E., Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming, DK.

    Course Philosophy and Goals

    Change is an integral part of natural systems. The constant cycling of energy and materials through ecosystems maintains a delicate natural balance. Human impacts on ecosystems, however, have affected natural cycles in many unexpected ways. By changing both the magnitude and timing of energy and materials cycling through global systems, by reinforcing some processes and restricting others, we are slowly but steadily changing the face of the planet we share. Some of these changes are desirable, but most are not.

    Somewhere in the course of human evolution, we have lost touch with the Earth. Most of us neither understand or appreciate the true complexity of our environment, nor the many ways in which we have disturbed it. This class will attempt to acquaint you with the natural processes that keep our planet alive, and the many ways in which we have upset those processes. This class will also help make you an environmentally literate citizen, who can speak (and vote) with authority on environmental issues. You will learn the language and conceptual structure of basic ecology and environmental science. This knowledge will allow you to develop informed opinions on a wide range of environmental issues.

    Course Requirements

    Readings:  Textbook and other reading assignments are listed below. The text should reinforce the lecture material, and fill in the cracks between lecture topics. Additional outside readings (book excerpts and journal articles) appear in italics. These outside readings are available on BlackBoard.

    Exams:  Exams will be based on materials covered in lecture and in your outside readings. Exams will not include topics in the textbook that are not specifically covered in class. The general format of the exams will be about 50/50 short-answer essays and objective questions (definitions or fill-ins). The final exam will be cumulative.

    Lectures:  The full text of all lecture presentations is available through the links to the "lecture notes" at the bottom of the page. The online lecture notes contain the full text of every slide. The lecture notes and term list, though an essential resource for exam review, are no substitute for regular attendance. Lecture presentations include extensive multimedia material, more detailed explanations of critical concepts, and LOTS of helpful hints on what you need to know for the exams.

    Grading:  Exams will be based solely on material covered in lecture, therefore attendance at lecture is strongly recommended. There will be three one-hour lecture exams and a cumulative final exam. Each of these exams will count for 100 points. There will be no make-up exams or extra credit work under any circumstances. Missing a lecture exam will result in a grade of zero for that exam. The lowest lecture exam, however, will be dropped before calculating your final grade. You must take at least two of the lecture exams and the final exam in order to pass the course. Each student will be expected to uphold the ideals of academic integrity expressed in the Honor Code of their college or division. The LAS Honor Code, which can be found at: Violations of the honor code will be prosecuted.

    Initial grades will be based on a standard percentage scale (see table below). Before final grade are assigned, however, significant individual improvement over the course of the semester will be considered as an important factor in the final grade. Further information about examination format and content will be given in lecture. Final grades will be calculated as a percentage of 300 points as follows:  

    A      93-100  B+    87-89 C+    77-79 D+    67-69
    A-     90-92 B      83-86 C      73-76 D      60-66

    B-    80-82 C-    70-72 D-    55-59

    Back to Top

    Course Topics

    Date Topic Readings - 8th Ed.


    Introduction to Global Change Ch. 1-2
    Attitudes Toward Nature White


    The Balance of Nature Ch. 5, Calhoun
    Earth Systems, Feedback Loops, and Gaia Ch. 4, 6
    Cycles of Nutrients and Materials Ch. 4
    Energy Flow and Ecosystem Structure Ch. 3
    Equilibrium, Feedback, and Disturbance - Community Processes Ch. 5, Reice
    Origin and History of Life on Earth
    Biodiversity and Extinction Ch. 16
    Lecture Exam #1


    Conservation I Ch. 16, 17
    Conservation II - Ecosystems as Islands
    Introduction to Population Ecology
    Fall Break
    Human Population Ch. 8
    Soil – Fertility and Degradation Ch. 14
    Agriculture, Food, and Water Ch. 13, 18
    Lecture Exam #2
    Global Change - Fossil Fuels and their Global Impact Ch. 10, 11
    Global Change - Alternate Sources of Energy Ch. 12


    Global Climate Change I Ch. 20
    Global Climate Change II
    Global Climate Change III
    Global Climate Change III

    Global Climate Change IV Taylor, Fischetti, Penland
    Trash Ch. 23, Rathje
    LA. Environment - Environmental Racism Ch. 2, 7, Bullard
    Thanksgiving Holiday


    Sustainable Lifestyles Ch. 1, 24
    Lecture Exam #3

    Dec. 11 (W)
    Final Exam , 10:30 - Noon

    Back to Top

    Honors Syllabus

    Honors students will follow the above syllabus, and the additional requirements listed below:

    Textbooks: In addition to the class textbook, honors students are assigned the following, available in the university bookstore: John Steinbeck, The Harvest Gypsies; Brian Fagan, Little Ice Age. Basic Books 2001; Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time. Mariner Books, 2006.

    Discussion Section: In addition to the regular section lectures and tests, the honors section will attend a weekly seminar to discuss the social impacts of environmental change, and to learn basic internet, paper writing and research skills. The discussion will focus primarily on the Little Ice Age in Europe, and the Dust Bowl in the American Midwest. Discussions will draw upon additional readings and in-class screening of selected films. Refer to the honors course weekly topics listed below. Attendance is mandatory, and your participation in class discussions will help determine your final grade. Be sure to do all assigned readings before coming to class. Take notes on the films and readings to help organize your thoughts for discussion.

    Term Paper:  Each student will complete a term paper on a topic chosen from one of the discussion topics (above), or a relevant environmental issue approved by the instructor. Papers will be between 10-12 pages in length, not including references. Check the Reserve Reading desk in the Howard-Tilton Library lobby for basic sources that will help you select and research your topic. Follow Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers for general paper format and citation style (simplified MLA style). A good tutorial for citing internet sources in your paper is Bedsfords/Martins site, which shows internet citation examples from several of the main style manuals. Each paper should contain at least 20 references, no more than five of which can be drawn from internet resources. Spelling and grammar will be considered in grading this paper. Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is highly recommended for general information on proper grammar and style.

    You will turn in a topic proposal, first draft, and final draft as indicated in the class schedule below. All term papers should be completed by the Thanksgiving Holiday. I will offer a library/internet research workshop in October to help get you started. You can get a copy of my workshop notes here, to help you review the strategies we will cover. Don't forget to consult my web page on How to Write a Decent Term Paper. It should answer most of your questions, and also explains the specific factors that I will use to grade your papers. Here is an example of a good proposal, and an A+ term paper.

    Web Project:  During the semester, each student will master the rudiments of web page construction, using SeaMonkey, a free browser and web editor from Mozilla (makers of Netscape, Firefox and Thunderbird) . Each student will learn how to create or upgrade their own personal web page on the Tulane server. I will teach you the rudiments of page design, construction, and publication. It’s easier than you might think. Notes from this workshop are available here. Check the Enviroweb to see several good examples of web page content submitted by previous students. Press the F1 function key for SeaMonkey help. There are many good online tutorials, such as the Seamonkey help pages at ,, and UT Austin's composer tutorial. You will use these skills to turn your term paper topics into web pages, following the general format used in the Enviroweb pages. The content of these pages will be drawn primarily from your actual term papers (hence the early paper deadline), supplemented with appropriate links, images etc...of your choosing. Superior student pages on original topics may be added (with your consent) to the Enviroweb page. Here is an example of an A+ web project personal page and topic page.

    Download Seamonkey directly from Seamonkey is an open source community project that keeps Mozilla's Netscape browser suite alive. Mozilla also publishes the Firefox browser and Thunderbird email programs (freeware). You will turn in two web pages on computer disk or CD. One page will be based on your term paper, the other will be a personal page reflecting your own interests and desires. You will not be required to post either page on the university server, but both pages will be graded as if they were actual online web sites. Your efforts will be graded on the basis of how well they integrate and present the usual elements of a web page, which may include external links, images and other graphic content (backgrounds, video etc..), style of writing, menu structure, tables, internal links, organization of material, aesthetic appeal etc.

    Grading In addition to the 300 points assigned for class exams (described above), honors students will receive a separate grade for their term paper (100 pts.) and web project (50 pts.), so honors student final grades will be based on a total of 450 points.

    Weekly Honors Section Topics


    9       Introduction - organization and syllabus
    - Read Fagan
    16     Little Ice Age film
    23     Little Ice Age - Discussion - Effects of natural global change on human society
    Ken Burns - Dust Bowl Pt.1 --- Read Worst Hard Times - Paper Proposal Due


    Ken Burns - Dust Bowl Pt.2 --- Paper proposals returned
    14     Term Paper Research and Writing Workshop

    21     Web Workshop
    28     Web Workshop pt. 2 --- First Draft of Paper Due


    4       Film - The Grapes of Wrath --- Read Steinbeck's Harvest Gypsies
    11     Discussion --- Grapes of Wrath --- Surviving the Dust Bowl

    18     Discussion --- The Plow That Broke the Plains; Woody Guthrie's Dust Bowl Ballads ---- Final Draft of Paper Due
    25     Discussion --- Katrina vs. The Dust Bowl --- Final Web Project Due

    Lecture Notes in Text Format

    Back to Top


    Go Here  for a list of links to general environmental sources on the internet.

    Go Here  for information on local ecosystems and local environmental problems.

    Go Here to access the textbook student web site, provided by the text publisher and keyed to the chapters in your text.

    Back to Top

    Return to B. Fleury's Home Page

    This page was last updated on 8/2/13