BSc (Dalhousie), MSc (Dalhousie)
| Teaching Biology: Introductory Ecology
cology is the study of interactions between organisms and the environment. Understanding ecology is essential in understanding the world around us. As humans, we are a part of and have an influence on many of the interactions in all biomes and increasingly across all spatial and temporal scales.
All ecosystems on the planet, whether in the ocean or on land provide ecologically important services that all species and economies depend on. However, increasing human population density and resource consumption are not only negatively affecting our own interactions but also the interactions between other species (eg: over-fishing, invasive species) and with their environment (eg: nutrient loading) thereby affecting the ability of ecosystems to provide essential services. The effect of human activities on marine vegetated ecosystems is central to my research. The majority of coastlines around the world are dominated by vegetation, from intertidal and subtidal macroalgal and seagrass beds, to mangroves and salt marshes that provide a range of ecosystem services. Sadly, all of these ecosystems are a currently faced with declining global populations and an increasing number of threatened species. So understanding how the services they provide are affected by human activities is essential to human-well being.
Through my research, I have come to appreciate the role that ecology plays in our everyday lives. This has compelled me to teach people about the importance of these everyday interactions that happen everywhere around the world in hopes that this understanding will effect a change in our relationship with the world around us. As such, I now teach foundational ecological principles in the laboratory component of Introductory Ecology (BIOL 2060). This class examines the ecology of single species and species interactions and builds on this knowledge to examine the ecology of communities and ecosystems. It prepares students for advanced 3000 and 4000 level ecology courses and for many of the SEASIDE field classes. The labs build on concepts covered in lectures through hands-on exercises, experiments and field trips.