Course Descriptions

Course Catalog for ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
ENVS 110
The Earth's Climate
The course will introduce students to techniques that quantify past and present climates and present a history of the earth’s climate throughout geologic time. We will discuss past and future climate change, its potential causes and effects on society.
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 112
Introduction to Earth Science
The course will introduce students to the basic principles of geology, such as rock and mineral identification, the interpretation of the geological record, and the theory of plate tectonics. These principles will allow us to reconstruct the Earth’s history, to interpret sedimentary records in terms of environmental change, and to assess the impact of human activity on the Earth system. Additional topics include volcanoes and igneous rocks, sedimentary environments, the Earth’s climatic history, the formation of mountain ranges and continents, and an introduction to the Earth’s interior. Two one-day field trips focus on the local geology and the various rock types found within the state.
1.25 units, Lecture
ENVS 120
Water and the Urban Environment
This course provides an understanding of the hydrologic cycle in urban environments. The impact of urbanization and human activities on water circulation and the quality of urban environment is the major focus of this course. Topics include urban flood management, water and wastewater distribution, environmental pollution, municipal water demand and sustainable urban water management.
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 123
Cities of Asia – Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Development
Cities have been established along rivers throughout human history because of the benefits of the water resources and the functions of rivers in removal of waste and movement of goods. Consequently, rivers have undergone periods of extreme pollution then rapid changes as society has recognized the need to clean up these valuable waterways. This course will examine the basics of the ecology and environment of rivers and the types and consequences of human interactions with rivers. Pre-trip background material will engage students in building the scientific framework necessary to understand these issues. Students will read current material that explores interrelationships between rivers and the human enterprise then, in China, our field experiences along the Yangtze River will allow examination of interactions between humans and the river in locations from the smallest rural village to the rapidly growing megacities. Dr. Morrison’s extensive field research experience will facilitate the field aspects of our river studies by offering both natural- and social science-based insights into our understanding of how rapidly growing urban areas may affect the rivers and their surrounding environments. This course does not count toward the ENVS major or the natural science distribution requirement.
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 125
Wildlife Issues in a Changing World
This course deals with current issues in wildlife and conservation around the world, among the most complex concerns affecting global life. To understand and resolve these issues requires a broad understanding of wildlife biology, and ways that human efforts and laws create complications in managing wildlife. The class is designed for undergraduates who most likely will not major in the natural sciences, but who will be voters who ultimately decide many wildlife-related issues. Students will gain exposure to use of the scientific method, examine the principal causes of extinction, and discuss the role of wildlife rehabilitation, all by means of case studies. However, more than science is required for resolution of wildlife issues, since political, legal, and state goals often conflict with science-based knowledge. Thus, students will see wildlife issues as multi-faceted problems that require critical thinking to resolve.
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 149
Introduction to Environmental Science
An introduction to interrelationships among the natural environment, humans, and the human environment, including the biological, social, economic, technological, and political aspects of current environmental challenges. This course focuses on building the scientific framework necessary to understand environmental issues. It explores the structure, function, and dynamics of ecosystems, interactions between living and physical systems, and how human enterprise affects natural systems. It also examines current issues regarding human impacts on environmental quality, including global warming, air and water pollution, agriculture, overpopulation, energy, and urbanization. The laboratory section, which complements lecture material, incorporates laboratory and field exercises that include a focus on Hartford and a nearby rural area.
1.25 units, Lecture
ENVS 200
Urban Sustainable Development in China
Rapid urbanization and economic growth in China in the past 30 years have brought enormous change, raising living standards and reducing poverty, but at a considerable social and environmental costs. Presently China is search for a new path of sustainable urbanization for the next 30 years. This course will examine environmental challenges of sustainable urban development in China such as high energy and resource consumption, air and water pollution, climate-related hazards, insufficient water resources, and fragile ecosystems. Strategies and policies from different levels of government for ecological urban development will be introduced. Technical solutions and practical cases from single building to the whole city will also be analyzed.
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 204
Earth Systems Science
Over recent centuries humans have evolved as the major agent of environmental change and are altering the global environment at a rate unprecedented in the Earth's history. This course provides the scientific background necessary for knowledgeable discussions on global change and the human impact on the environment. The major processes that affect the geo- and biosphere, as well as connections and feedback loops, will be discussed. The course also explores techniques that enable us to reconstruct short and long-term environmental changes from geological archives. Particular emphasis will be placed on climatic stability on Earth, the effects of global warming, the human threat to biodiversity, and the depletion of the ozone layer.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Environmental Science 112 and Mathematics 107 or higher.
1.25 units, Lecture
ENVS 220
Biological Invasions
The spread of biological organisms around the globe has increased dramatically over the past two centuries with growing human exploration and settlement. A few of these introduced species have become invasive and caused major environmental, economic and public health problems. This course will explore several issues related to a variety of invasive organisms, including: historical and human perceptions; the ecological process of invasion; characteristics of successful invaders and vulnerable ecosystems; and, regulation, prevention and management.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Environmental Science 149, Biology 140 or Biology 182, or permission of instructor.
1.25 units, Lecture
ENVS 230
Environmental Chemistry
This course will cover basic chemical concepts, such as polarity, volatility, and solubility, as they relate to chemical behavior in the environment. The ability to predict environmental behavior from chemical structure will be emphasized. Human and environmental toxicology will be discussed, and specific pollutants will be examined. Case studies will be used to illustrate concepts. The laboratory will emphasize techniques used for environmental analysis.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Chemistry 111L and 112L, or permission of instructor.
1.25 units, Lecture
ENVS 242
Oceanography
This course will introduce students to the chemical, physical, biological and geological aspects of oceanography. Topics include ocean circulation, the properties of seawater, interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, biogeochemical cycles, primary productivity and threats to ocean ecosystems. The technology for measuring ocean properties, such as satellites, in situ sensors, floats and gliders and ocean observatories will also be covered. Since the oceans play a large role in regulating carbon dioxide and climate globally, the relevance of oceanography to issues of human and social significance will be examined. Students will use real-world current environmental data to investigate the role of oceans in the global climate system.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Chemistry 111 or Permission of Instructor
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 244
Watershed Hydrology
This course provides an understanding of hydrological cycle processes at the watershed scale. Emphasis is placed upon groundwater hydrology, groundwater contamination, and urban watersheds issues. Topics include groundwater and stream flow generation, groundwater contaminants, movement of water and pollutants in subsurface environments, the effects of urbanization on the hydrological cycle, water shortage in urban watersheds, and water management policy for sustainable urban development. This course counts towards the natural science elective for the Environmental Science major and towards the new Urban Studies minor.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Environmental Science 112L
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 275
Methods in Environmental Science
A field-oriented, problem-based course covering data collection and analysis methods commonly used to conduct environmental assessments and to solve environmental problems. This course includes methods for risk assessment, land management and land use history determination, habitat analysis, bio-monitoring, soil composition analysis, soil and water chemistry analysis, and GIS mapping. A strong emphasis is placed upon research design, data manipulation, and statistical analysis. As a culminating exercise, students in the course prepare a final report that integrates all the topics and techniques learned throughout the course and that addresses the focal problem. This course is not open to first year students without permission of instructor.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Environmental Science 149L.
1.25 units, Lecture
ENVS 286
Theory and Application of Geographic Information Systems
A lecture/lab course that focuses on the theory and application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) using the ESRI ArcGIS software package. ArcGIS is a powerful mapping tool that facilitates the compilation, analysis and presentation of spatial data for a wide variety of disciplines including the natural and social sciences and any other field that uses spatial data. This course will provide students with the fundamental skills needed to design and manage digital databases and map sets so that they may integrate GIS into future courses, research, or careers. Topics include basic and advanced navigation and functionality within the ArcGIS workspace; database management and querying; and methods of data acquisition for GIS project building. Class projects on lab computers will be an integral component of the course and will be tailored to the specific interests and goals of individual students. This course does not meet the natural science distribution requirement.
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 303
Advanced topics in Geographic Information Systems
This course applies spatial analysis techniques to a variety of topics in Urban Studies and Environmental Science. Prerequisite: ENVS 286 or instructor permission.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Environmental Science 286 or permission of instructor
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 305
Soil Science
After a brief introduction to the soil profile, its nomenclature and classification, the course will concentrate on the processes and factors that influence weathering and soil development. Topics to be covered include: physical and chemical weathering of rocks; the influences of parent material, topography, climate, and time on soil formation; and the relationships between soils and the biosphere. The remainder of the course will be taken up with the application of soils to geological and environmental problems. Two half-day field trips will familiarize students with the various soil types found in Connecticut.
Prerequisite: C- or better in Environmental Science 112L
1.00 units, Lecture
ENVS 350
Field Study in Environmental Science
This 10-12 day field trip to a particular region of the U.S. introduces Trinity students to field methods in the environmental sciences. Students will study the geology, ecology, and history of human impact on the region visited, which varies from year to year. Students will also gain experience in basic field sampling techniques, observational skills, field note-taking, and methods for data analysis and interpretation. Pre-trip readings and an oral presentation given during the trip are required. Camping throughout. Permission of instructor required. Does not count toward science distribution..
0.50 units, Independent Study
ENVS 351
Seismic Disasters in Japan, Then and Now: Earth, Environment, and Culture
Japan has faced seismically related disasters throughout its history, the most recent being the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. This course will tour sites in Japan for twelve days during the summer that have been impacted by such disasters – including Tokyo, Mount Asama, and the Pacific coast of northeastern Honshu – to explore the history of these events, and their environmental, cultural, and social impacts firsthand. Prior to departing in late May, students will have regularly scheduled group meetings with the instructors in the spring to be introduced to pertinent scientific, social, and cultural concepts through readings and discussions in preparation for the trip. Students who have taken or are concurrently enrolled in ENVS 112, ENVS 149, or HIST 326 will be given preference in enrollment.
1.00 units, Seminar
ENVS 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment.
0.50 units, Independent Study
ENVS 401
Advanced Seminar in Environmental Science
This capstone seminar will engage students in the interdisciplinary study of a local environmental issue. The course will include interaction with community groups and government agencies, library research, and the collection and analysis of data to explore the connections between science, public policy, and social issues. This course does not meet the natural science distribution requirement.
This course is open to senior environmental science majors and minors, and others by permission of instructor.
1.00 units, Seminar
ENVS 405
Internship in Environmental Science
This course allows students to meet the integrating experience requirement for the environmental science major through an approved integrated internship. Students who wish to use an internship toward the major must have their integrated internship contract approved by the Environmental Science Program director before the internship is begun. All students undertaking approved internships will be required to keep a detailed log of their activities, prepare a final written report and make an oral presentation of their work to the Environmental Science Program staff and students in order to complete the internship credit.
0.50 units, Independent Study
ENVS 405
Senior Project
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study
ENVS 419
Research in Environmental Science Library
Students will conduct library research projects under the direction of an individual staff member. Students electing this type of independent study should plan on a full semester culminating with the completion of a final formal paper. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units, Independent Study
ENVS 425
Research in Environmental Science Laboratory
Students will conduct original laboratory research projects under the direction of an individual staff member. Students electing to pursue independent study of this type should plan on initiating the work no later than the fall of the senior year, and should also plan on no less than two semesters of study with a final formal report to be submitted to the staff. Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar's Office, and approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units, Independent Study
ENVS 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment.
0.50 units, Independent Study
ENVS 497
Honors Research
An extended paper on the subject of the student's two-semester research project with a professor in environmental science, to be read by three or more members of the program. This course is open only to those environmental science majors who wish to qualify for honors (See paragraph on honors in environmental science in the description of the major). Simultaneous enrollment in Environmental Science 419 or 425 during the spring semester of senior year, submission of the special registration form available in the Registrar's Office, and approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment.
0.50 units, Independent Study