GEOS 312 Spring 2014 Mass Extinctions: Patterns and Processes (W)

Over the last 543 million years of life on Earth, five major mass extinctions have occurred, each dramatically changing the makeup and course of life on our planet. During some of these events, over 75% of all marine animal species went extinct and groups like the dinosaurs vanished from the planet after over 100 million years of ecological dominance. This tutorial course will explore the idea of extinction from the evolution of the concept in human thought to current research on the mechanisms and patterns of extinctions through time. We will examine how to determine when an extinction is "mass" versus "background", and delve into the causes and consequences of the major mass extinction events of the Phanerozoic, including tackling the potential human- induced extinction event occurring in the present day. Over spring break, we will travel to Italy to explore the geological boundaries of the second-largest mass extinction, the Cretaceous-Paleogene (where the dinosaurs and many other groups went extinct), exposed in the hills of Umbria. This trip will allow us to combine field observations with tutorial readings to fully synthesize the causes and consequences of major mass extinctions through time.
Class Format: tutorial
Requirements/Evaluation: four (4-5-page) papers, tutorial presentations, the student's effectiveness as a critic, 2 problem sets, and a field trip project
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: GEOS 101 or GEOS 212/BIOL 211 or BIOL 305 or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preference: Sophomore and Junior GEOS majors
Department Notes:
Material and Lab Fees:
Distribution Notes:
Divisional Attributes: Division III,Writing Intensive
Other Attributes:
Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 3518
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
GEOS312-T1(S) TUT Mass Extinctions (W) Division 3: Science and MathematicsWriting Intensive Phoebe A. Cohen
F 08:00 AM-08:50 AM Clark Hall 205 3518
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