Conservation and Restoration Ecology Major – Diploma – Vermilion Campus

Year I Required Courses

BI 110 Ecology & Field Biology 3
Introduces fundamental ecological principles and concepts, emphasizing organisms and their environments as well as techniques for analysis of structure and function of these systems. Lectures cover ecological levels from individual, population and communities through to larger environmental scope of ecosystems and global ecology. Time spent in field studying plant and animal relationships in local community types using standard field equipment. Prerequisite: Biology 30.
BI 205 Limnology: Lakes & Rivers 3
Covers various physical, chemical and biological properties of freshwater systems. Introduced to techniques used in collection and analysis of limnological data. Prerequisite: BI 110 or BO 120.
BI 270 Managing Rangeland Ecosystems 3
Study of rangeland ecology, focus on soil-plant-animal-water interactions in rangeland ecosystems. Basic factors determining survival and competitive strategy of range plants studied. Sound range management strategies designed to ensure ecosystem stability and sustainability emphasized. Considerable time spent in lab learning to key and identify native plants. Prerequisite: BO 120.
BO 120 Field Botany & Plant Taxonomy 3
Study of native plants within Central Parkland and Boreal Forest. Emphasis on collection, identification, morphology, and classification of flora within local communities. Introduced to fundamental concepts of botany such as morphology, anatomy, and taxonomy. Fundamental ecological principles related to plant communities studied. Obtain practical field experience in plant community relationships while collecting and preserving plants for further study. Spend considerable time in lab learning to use plant keys for classification and identifying plant species and families.
CO 166 Scientific Writing & Computer Applications 3
Explore fundamental approaches to scientific writing. Time spent discussing what constitutes critical content and how that content is effectively organized for variety of documents used in scientific industry. Strategies for efficient technical writing emphasized for laboratory reports, formal technical and scientific reports, abstracts, and other discipline-specific applications.
MA 202 Statistics & Data Management 3
Introduction to basic statistical procedures and data management techniques used in environmental sciences. Emphasis on methods of organizing, storing, retrieving, analyzing, graphing and interpreting environmental data with database and spreadsheet software. Major topics include measures of central tendency and dispersion, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, correlation analysis, simple linear regression and single-factor analysis of variance.
SC 110 Inorganic Chemistry 3
This is a basic course in inorganic chemistry with an emphasis on environmental applications. Basic chemical concepts are presented in the lecture series with application of those concepts in the laboratory component.
SC 120 Maps, Air Photos & GPS 3
Introduction to map reading, map contents, coordinate systems and National Topographic System (NTS maps). Practice map interpretation, measurement, and scale calculations, and learn to interpret contours and visualize relief. Compass use and basic field orienteering taught. Aerial photography introduced, emphasis on understanding of annotation, scale, measurement, indexing and purchase of conventional and digital products. Practice stereo viewing, and learn to relate aerial photos to maps at different scales. Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments used for navigation, and learn to collect, differentially correct and upload field coordinate data.
SC 140 Environmental Sustainability 3
Focus on human interactions with the environment. Environmental impacts of food production and agriculture, forestry, mining, energy processing, urbanization, and other land-use activities explored. Considerable time spent investigating current environmental issues within context of society: water quantity and quality, global warming, air pollution, and biodiversity crisis. National and provincial environmental policy relating to these issues investigated.
SC 200 Organic Chemistry 3
Study structure, properties and reactions of main classes of organic compounds and relationship to living organisms and environment. Laboratory techniques, including tests required for assessing environmental quality. Prerequisite: SC 110.
SC 220 GIS & Remote Sensing 3
Learn Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing and aerial photography concepts. Practice photogrammetry, stereovision and image interpretation, while working with variety of hardcopy and digital imagery products. Use scanners, digitizers and Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments for data input. Gain proficiency with ArcGIS, ArcView and Idrisi GIS software packages in laboratory sessions that emphasize natural resource management applications. Prerequisite: SC 120.
SO 210 Introductory Soil Science 3
Overview of soil formation processes and fundamental morphological, physical, chemical and biological characteristics of soil. Gain knowledge of soils through lectures and hands on experience. Become familiar with The Canadian System of Soil Classification to Order level and issues associated with ‘problem soils’.
Year II Required Courses

BI 210 Forest Ecology 3
Introduction to ecological forest management. Emphasis on forest ecosystem function and impacts of industry and other land-use on forests on landscape scale. Topics include dendrology, ecological disturbance, forest biodiversity, forest management techniques, approaches to forest restoration and reclamation criteria for forested areas. Field trips and labs used to develop field skills in tree and shrub identification, timber cruising, stand assessment and ecosystem classification. Prerequisites: BI 110 and BO 120.
BI 317 Wetland Classification and Management 3
Study riparian and wetland ecosystems. Various wetland types described, emphasizing processes and functions involved in overall health and stability of ecosystems. Topics include wetland plants, vegetation and community identification, riparian health and inventory for wetlands and rivers, and discussion of conservation, water, and biodiversity issues. Impacts from disturbances such as industry, grazing, and recreation discussed, emphasizing management strategies that promote health of riparian and wetland ecosystems. Considerable time in field and lab spent studying vegetation and organisms associated with wetlands. Prerequisites: BI 270 and BO 120.
SC 281 Invasive Plant Ecology & Management 3
This course focuses on vegetation management with emphasis on invasive weedy plants. Weed Biology and competitive strategies of these plants are studied in detail. Tools and techniques for control, such as fire, grazing, and herbicides are described for control of invasive plants in native and nonnative communities. Students spend considerable time  in lab identifying weed species, seedlings and seeds. Prerequisite: BO 120.
SC 301 Watersheds & Water Resources 3
This course focuses on the main components of the hydrologic cycle and how this impacts quantity, quality and distribution of water resources within a watershed basin. Precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff, streamflow and groundwater flow are examined with reference to drought, flooding, erosion and sedimentation. Students are introduced to field techniques in stream discharge measurement, and geomorphic characterization of watersheds.
SC 307 Environmental Site Assessment 3
Gain basic understanding of how to evaluate contaminated sites through processes of a Site Assessment, Site Characterization, and parallel process of Environmental Risk Assessment. Effective management of environmental risks (i.e. contamination) and remediation of contaminated sites requires basic understanding of science, policy and culture of risk assessment and risk management. Prerequisites: SC 110 and SC 200.
SC 329 Fundamentals of Restoration Ecology 3
Focus on field techniques used to restore native plant communities in wetland, riparian and upland ecosystems. Examine agricultural, industrial and recreational causes of ecological degradation. Emphasizes approaches to restoring and maintaining ecological characteristics and processes. Field trips and field labs provide opportunity to participate in restoration activities in variety of habitat types, including grassland, wetland and parkland areas. Prerequisites: BI 110 and BO 120.
SC 444 Land-use and Urban Ecology 3
This course focuses on land-use planning frameworks, legislation and policies. It demonstrates how these activities function together, and how they coordinate activities that impact land-use and stewardship. Emphasis is on forms of site characterization, environmental impact processes, and integrated land management, including urban environments.
SC 470 Applied Techniques in Restoration 3
Applied restoration ecology provides students with an advanced and applied understanding of current techniques. The course addresses how practical restoration techniques are applied based on scientific, environmental, and social considerations. Students will develop critical thinking and analytical decision making skills through scientific review, case studies and discussion.
SO 320 Soil Conservation 3
Study soil properties from soil conservation perspective. Understand soil properties to achieve soil and water conservation objectives and prevent soil degradation. Use field techniques to assess soil degradation and implement erosion and sediment control projects. Prerequisite: SO 210.
SO 340 Soil Classification & Landforms 3
Study of the Canadian System of Soil Classification with emphasis on factors affecting soil genesis and taxonomy. Topics include geology, glaciation, weathering, chemistry and physics of Canadian soils. Extensive fieldwork on methods of classifying soils and landforms, soil mapping and report preparation/use and basic procedures in land assessment. Prerequisite: SO 210.
ZO 350 Wildlife Biodiversity 3
The terrestrial vertebrate and invertebrate wildlife biodiversity of the Prairie Provinces in western Canada are surveyed. An understanding of biodiversity requires a basic knowledge of the species present and their ecological roles. This class focuses on visual and auditory identification, ecology, taxonomy, survey techniques, natural history and the conservation of selected species. Emphasis is placed on species that breed in the prairies and species at risk.
ZO 245 Wildlife Habitat Conservation 3
This course introduces key concepts required to conserve, mitigate, enhance and manage wildlife habitat in the Prairie Provinces. The habitat requirements of selected species at risk, game species, and non-game species are described such that they can be identified in the field. The status assessment and listing processes under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) are described. Habitat conservation programs, partnerships and agencies are profiled. Regulations and guidelines for mitigating impacts of development on wildlife habitat in Alberta are explored. Wildlife distributions, habitat associations, feeding and foraging strategies, diets, digestive anatomy, and the field signs of selected wild vertebrates are described and distinguished. Students quantify habitat variables, explore disturbance mitigations, and design and implement habitat enhancements during field labs. Prerequisites: BI110 and BO120.

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