2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
    
    Oct 16, 2019  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

BIOL 359 - Environmental Monitoring & Emerging Technologies


Land conservation in the U.S. has shifted in recent decades from primarily a federal responsibility to one of innovative partnerships among land trusts, communities, outdoor and hunting clubs, private landowners, non-profits, corporations, and all levels of our government. Protected lands include recreational lands, urban parks, green and blue spaces, working farms, ranches, forests and other natural lands. Conservation goals and management strategies vary widely across the range of protected habitats, but from a community park to the Adirondack Park invasive species are a primary concern, and expense, for conservation. This course begins with a brief survey of the types and scale of protected lands in the U.S. but the majority of the course will focus on the development of management strategies, and deployment of emerging technologies to map and manage invasive species on a local scale. Students will use aerial drone imagery that they obtain to construct a 3D forest model of a protected wildlife area in Worcester. Subsequently, students will assess ‘forest health’ through the VARI and TGI algorithms, and discuss the values and limits of these emerging approaches. Using a long-term water quality data in conjunction with publicly available land-use data, students will construct and test a TMDL model for nutrient loadings in the Broad Meadow Brook watershed. Students will work throughout the semester in small groups, each of which will focus on one of the topics but participate in discussions and provide feedback on the others. Each group will present their work as a poster on Academic Spree Day. This course is designed to develop skills that are a high priority for businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations seeking the next generation of conservation professionals.

Anticipated Terms Offered: Spring 2019