The Union College (New York) course Lakes and Environmental Change balances the practical constraints of offering a field-based limnology/ paleolimnology course during a winter term without the availability of a large lake or research vessel. Reliable ice conditions and an abundance of nearby small lakes assure a variety of candidate lake systems. Beginning with drainage basin analysis and progressing through water-column measurements, analysis of spatial distribution of surface sediment characteristics, and culminating with collection and analysis of sediment cores, this inherently interdisciplinary course ties together aspects of geochemistry, ecology, sedimentology, and physics. We compare two lake systems each year and in most cases the field and laboratory work represents some of the first limnologic work done on the lakes. Through this systematic framework for investigating each year's lakes, the course resembles an authentic research project, rather than a series of unrelated lab exercises. Classroom activities consist of lectures and literature discussions divided about equally between limnology and paleolimnology. Lab exercises take place in the field, where students learn to use a variety of field gear, and in the laboratory, where students master techniques for sampling and analyzing sediment cores.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)