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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "NS 290"
COURSE NAME: "Science and Urban Ecology"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Margaret Kneller
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 8:30-9:45 AM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS:
PREREQUISITES:
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course provides the liberal arts student with an introduction to the scientific issues which underpin human health in the urban environment. We study components of the urban environment by using basic concepts from ecology, biology, chemistry, and geology. We then learn about “linkages” (or interactions) between humans and their physical, chemical, and biological environment in order to understand human health in the urban environment. The interactions examined will relate to actual conditions found in major cities in the 21st century: we look at water supply and quality, air quality standards, energy supplies, and common diseases.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
What can we learn about the scientific aspects of the urban environment in a single semester?  This course provides an overview of interesting urban environments, and issues directly relevant to humans within these cities.  The course concentrates on the issues of water, and air…because the provision of clean air and water is necessary to thriving urban life.  It provides a key introduction to energy, without which our climate-controlled 24/7 urban lifestyles could not proceed.  And then a primer in communicable diseases, since the high densities of cities makes the population more vulnerable to epidemics.
LEARNING OUTCOMES:

Each urban environment is unique in terms of ecological components and processes.  Class lectures and related articles have been selected, to provide examples of 21st century cities and urban ecology issues: for example drinking water quality, and air particle pollution.  Students learn to conceptualize their urban environment (global examples) as ecological components and processes—the class emphasizes issues with relevant to 21st century natural resource policy.

The course is organized into five units:
1.            Introduction: Homo sapiens, review of ecosystems, biomes and climate, the Anthropocene.
2.            Water: Sources and Quality
3.            Air: Urban Pollutants of Interest
4.            Energy:  main sources for power, the link to Climate
5.            Diseases:  common bacteria and viruses

TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Various: see Weekly Schedule section of this syllabus.VariousVarious Governement, Academic, research center, sources.various, see syllabus The texts are articles and chapters, found online (public domain or directly accessible on web sites). A few articles, are uploaded to the Moodle pages for this class. See the syllabus for a list of readings. During the course, relevant recent news articles will be introduced, in class.
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Midterm 30 %
4 Short PapersApproximately every two/three weeks, there will be an assignment, related to the material, where you will write or present your analysis. One page of 800 -1000 words of text, followed by a bibliography with the references. The quality of the references used, is important. Each bibliographic entry must be sufficiently complete so that I can find any entry that you give me (a single http address is incomplete). Aim to follow one format consistently for all entries. Each student will submit the electronic copy of the paper, to our Moodle JCU page. Late papers may not be graded. TurnitIn may be used to assess your citations. 30 %
Final 30 %
Class Discussion, Short AssignmentsRelevant discussion of topics, readings and assignments.10 %

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AThis type of work demonstrates the ability to learn the concepts and theories presented, and also to begin to make analysis. During class discussion and in written tests, the student shows clear evidence of a significant amount of reading, and comprehension, of the required and recommended articles and texts
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised. There is usually a demonstration of ability to learn the concepts and theories presented. During class discussion and in written tests, the student usually shows evidence of a significant amount of reading, and comprehension, of the required and recommended articles and texts. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading of the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:
 Class attendance is required, more than three unexcused absences will lower the grade by one half (e.g. B to B-). More than six unexcused absences will lower the grade by one whole point (e.g. from B to C). 
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

This table shows the program for the course: topic and related reading. 
Minor changes may occur: exact day topic covered, examples of concepts (I update with recent news, as possible).
Please do reading for the class, and ask questions.
Articles related to current events, not yet on the syllabus, will be used.

March 11, 2019 version.

Day

Topic, and Reading

1

Introduction: Cities are Ecosystems?  The Anthropocene.
·      Text: Articles by Crutzen, Carey, Steffen all in Moodle

2

10,000 years to 2008, Humans Become City Dwellers
·      Text: Rise of the Megacities-interactive from The Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/interactive/2012/oct/04/rise-of-megacities-interactive
·       Text: The Urban Millennium, selected pages from UNFPA State of the World Population, http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2007/english/introduction.html
·       Global Cities of the Future, interactive map: http://www.mckinsey.com/global-themes/urbanization/global-cities-of-the-future-an-interactive-map

3

Ecosystem Services, Carrying Capacity, and “The Commons”
·       Text:  “The Tragedy of the Commons,” by Garrett Hardin, a classic from 1968, <http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full>
·     
“Carrying Capacity concept”, see http://www.csus.edu/indiv/l/loom/lect%2031-32%20s07.htm
·       Text:  ESA Definition of Ecosystem Services http://www.esa.org/ecoservices/comm/body.comm.fact.ecos.html
·        in class: Constanza et al., 1997 (Moodle and http://www.esd.ornl.gov/benefits_conference/nature_paper.pdf )

4

Human Population
·        Text: C. Haub and J. Gribble, “The World at 7 Billion,” Population,  Bulletin 66, no. 2. (Moodle)
·       
Text: Norman Myers, “How we covered the world at 5 billion…” (Moodle)

5

Google Earth Exercise

6

Intro to Water Supply: groundwater, rainwater, glaciers, & rivers, precipitation (mean, anomaly)
·                    Text: The USGS Water Science school at https://water.usgs.gov/edu/gallery/global-water-volume.html [emphasis Surface Water and Groundwater tabs]
·        How NYC gets its water: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/03/24/nyregion/how-nyc-gets-its-water-new-york-101.html
·        Text: Lalasz and Richter, How Cities can get smart about water, to help you do Assignment http://www.globalwaterforum.org/2013/05/15/how-cities-can-finally-get-smart-about-water/  Moodle)
·       < Water_Supply_Bosnia_Egypt_Peru_Bolivia articles> [Moodle]
·       Obegi, California Drought (cities vs rural areas) ref. Vice documentary [Moodle]
· Optional: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_United_States
·   Just keyword search, e.g. <nytimes water supply> !!

7

Transboundary Water
·      Famiglietti: “Global Groundwater Crisis,” Nature, 2014 [Moodle]·       Libya_USMidwest_GWater [Moodle]

8

Awareness about Water Quality
·       Text:  A. Biswas, “clean water” vs. “improved sources” http://www.globalwaterforum.org/2011/11/16/evolution-of-global-developments-in-urban-water-management-part-2-of-2/ (Moodle)

9

Water Quality, continued
·     
“Flint’s Water Crisis and the ‘Troublemaker’Scientist” by D  Hohn, 2016, NYTimes [Moodle]

10

Are Drinking Water Standards, Standard??
·     Text: http://water.epa.gov/drink/contaminants/index.cfm
·      Text: https://www.safewater.org/fact-sheets-1/2017/1/23/purposeguidelinesregulations

11

Drinking Water/Watershed Online Exercise

12

What is an Exposure Pathway?
·      Articles compiled <Exposure_Pathway_cholera_articles_video> [Moodle]

13

Air Pollutants, London and Singapore
·      Text:  N Chestney and B Lewis, “Europe’s toxic air” (Moodle)
·     
Articles in: <London_Beijing_Air_Pollution> [Moodle]
·     
Text: G Mullany, “Pollution in Singapore” (Moodle)
·      
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2011/air_pollution_20110926/en/

14

·                      MIDTERM

15

·      Pollution Sources:  the case of Lead
       Text:  news articles <Lead Articles> (Moodle)

16

Databases on Air Pollution, Exercise
·      WHO Outdoor Air News: http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/en/
·       EU EEA Air Pollution https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/

17

Pollution Sources: Planning to Reduce Particles
·         Text: WHO Ambient/Outdoor air quality: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/
·         An Englishman confronts Particulates: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/12175306/Is-my-wood-burning-stove-really-killing-me-What-happened-when-I-monitored-my-exposure-to-pollution.html

18

Transboundary Air Pollution
·        Text: see previous articles

19

Intro to Global Health
·      http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/feb/19/coronavirus-how-easily-spread
·      Health Topics > Mortality/Infectious Disease/Non Communicable Disease/Vector Control at WHO http://www.who.int/en/
·      Summary of the paper, "Rising Morbidity and Mortality in Midlife Among White non-Hispanic Americans in the 21st Century," PNAS, Nov 2 2015 at http://wws.princeton.edu/faculty-research/research/item/rising-morbidity-and-mortality-midlife-among-white-non-hispanic
·       Mortality in the US, 2015: "Mortality in the United States," 2015, by Xu et al, 2016 NHCS Brief [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db267.htm and Moodle] and https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db267.htm and https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-08/americans-are-dying-younger-saving-corporations-billions

20

The Human Microbiome
·      See <Human Microbiome Articles> in Moodle
·     
Fast Facts About The Human Microbiome, U Washington [Moodle]
·      Lloyd-Price et al., “The healthy human microbiome,” Genome Medicine  (2016) 8:51. DOI 10.1186/s13073-016-0307-y [Moodle]
      
American Academy of Microbiology, 2013, Human Microbiome FAQ [Moodle]

21

Example of many Epidemics caused by a Bacteria
<WHO Pandemic Definitions> [Moodle]

22

Bacteria,  Antibiotic Resistance, Exposure Pathway
·     E. coli outbreak in Germany, 2011 [Moodle]
·   
Gale and Narayan, 2012, Drug-Defying Germs From India Speed Post-Antibiotic Era, Bloomberg Markets Magazine, (Moodle)
·     
News on Antibiotics in Livestock [Moodle]
·      
(on-line exercise in class)

23

Influenza as an Infectious Disease
·     WHO definition of Influenza epidemic [Moodle]
·     Lessons From a Past Pandemic, 1918, Photo audio review of the pandemic,
    
http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/science/20060328_FLU_FEATURE/blocker.html
·      Spiegel article on 2009 Swine Flu Panic [Moodle]

24-25

Ebola Virus
·       Moodle Folder: Ebola articles

26

Natural Hazards and Cities
·     Text:  The Economist, “Natural Disasters versus Natural Hazards” 2012 (Moodle)
·    
Munich Re Lost Events
·    
Munich Re Geophysical Events [Moodle]

27

Sea Level Rise in the 21st Century?
·      Text: Revkin “Coastlines and Cities” (Moodle)

28

Natural Hazards and Cities
        Case Studies: Tokyo and Fukushima, New York City and Sandy

 

FINAL—the date set by JCU Registrar.  NOTE that the FINALS period is in the first part of December!  We must take our Final on the scheduled day and time.