Courses taught by  Dr. Sprunger

ROOT AND RHIZOSPHERE ECOLOGY (ENR 7580)

c 2012 Nature Education 1995, Natura

Background and Overview 

The rhizosphere mediates plant nutrient acquisition, sustains microbial communities, contributes to disease suppression, and regulates global nutrient cycles, directly impacting crop production and ecosystem services. This course will provide a broad overview of the fundamentals of root and rhizosphere structure and function. Key topics will include root production and turnover, rhizosphere communities, nutrient cycling in both managed and unmanaged ecosystems and rhizosphere responses to global climate change. An emphasis will be placed on methods and techniques used to monitor and measure roots and rhizosphere processes. By the end of the course students will be able to relate rhizosphere dynamics to plant growth, soil health, and ecosystem function.

Course Objectives:

 

  1. Define and describe root and rhizosphere structure and function

  2. Relate rhizosphere processes to crop production and ecosystem services

  3. Critically evaluate different methods and techniques used to measure rhizosphere processes.

  4. Comprehend and communicate the latest research in rhizosphere ecology

  5. Develop and expand skills in scientific writing, learn to effectively review and analyze the scientific literature, lead class discussions and present research topics.

FULL COURSE OUTLINE ACCESSED HERE

ADVANCED PRINCIPLES IN
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE  (ENR 6100)

Background and Overview 

This course will cover principal concepts of environmental science including global environmental challenges ranging from water quality, global climate change, to land use change. A major focus of the course will be to understand different global nutrient cycles and their linkages to pressing environmental issues. To this end, the biogeochemistry, food web dynamics, and abiotic and biotic factors of key ecosystems (forests, grasslands, wetlands, freshwater and marine environment) will be explored when discussing different environmental issues.

Course Objectives:

1. Describe principles of the natural environment including nutrient cycling, biodiversity, and soil food          webs and understand the mechanisms that control major global challenges.
2. Explain how key biogeochemical cycles are critical to solving pressing environmental problems.
3. Compare and contrast case studies highlighting the management of ecosystems and assess the                application of basic ecological principals to current environmental problems.
4. Explore interdisciplinary approaches required for managing key ecosystems and solving                              environmental issues.

FULL COURSE OUTLINE ACCESSED HERE