Environmental Issues of the North

BIOLOGY 490/690

Environmental Issues of the North

Spring SEMESTER 2012



This course will focus on the current biological, cultural, and socioecological issues associated with climate and environmental change in the far North—including habitat and biodiversity change, community vulnerability and resilience, and environmental policy.  There will be a strong transnational focus on Alaska and Siberia, and the course will include participation by elder speakers of northern indigenous people, local and regional governmental authorities in the US and Russia, and private industry.  This course will be web-linked simultaneously with participating faculty and students at the University of Kansas, Tyumen State University (Tyumen Oblast, Russia), and Gorno-Altaisk State University (Altai Autonomous Region, Russia).


Lecture time:  4 – 6:30 PM Wednesday                       

Where class meets:  EBL 101

Instructors:  Lil Alessa, Douglas Causey

TA:  Veronica Padula

Office Hours:  By appointment


Guest Faculty and Institutions:

      Cynthia Annett (UAA)                                    

      Gerald Mikkelson (U Kansas)                           

      Helen Hundley (Wichita State U)                     

      Albina Kravchenko (Gorno-Altaisk State U)    

      Mariya Ostanina (Gorno-Altaisk State U)        

      Andre Tolstikov (Tyumen State U)                     


Course Documents and Materials:

All course information and materials will be available on the course Blackboard sites (BIOL490 and BIOL690 have different sites).


Basis—Regular attendance is required. 20% of your overall grade will be evaluated on the basis of attendance and participation (eg., discussions, oral presentations). There will be one written midterm (30%) that will cover the basic information presented in the first half of the course and a term paper will be worth 50%.

Term paper—The term paper is due on Wednesday, April 25. They should be at 15 – 20 pages (double-spaced) and demonstrate your own original research and writing. You will need to have your topic approved by Dr. Alessa or Dr. Causey by March 28 at the latest.

A: 100-90%; B: 89-80%; C: 79-70%; D: 69-60%.

Cheating, plagiarism, unprofessional conduct: Please don’t.

MAKEUP EXAM POLICY: Makeup exams normally will not be given. It is the student’s responsibility to take all scheduled exams on time. If makeup exams are given, it will be at the discretion of the instructor.






18 Jan

Introduction: “What is the Arctic?” Who are we, what are the issues?  Format of the course, guest faculty and lectures, participating institutions.



I.  People and Landscapes:  Socioecological Systems


25 Jan

1. Siberia, Circumpolar Arctic: Historical and Present Contexts


1 Feb

2. Western Siberia and Fennoscandia


8 Feb

3. Eastern Siberia, Canadian and Alaskan Interior


15 Feb

4. Siberian Far East, Beringia


22 Feb

5. High Arctic



II.  Arctic Environmental Impacts and Issues


29 Feb

6.  Climate Change Scenarios


7 Mar

7.  Historical Legacies of Colonization and Development


14 Mar

S P R I N G   B R E A K


21 Mar

8. Water


28 Mar

9. Landscape Change


4 Apr

10. Resource Flows



III.  Community Resilience, Environmental Policy and Security


11 Apr

11.  Resilience


18 Apr

12. Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy


25 Apr

13. Arctic Environmental Security


2 May

14. Oral Reports and Discussion



Dr. Cynthia Annett,
Jan 18, 2012, 7:15 PM