Geography and the Environment Courses
The primary objective of this course is to provide an introduction to the complex themes of environmental science that arise from the interactions between humans and the environment. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary field that synthesizes information from natural and social sciences and humanities to understand the natural world and our relationship to it. The content includes overviews of select biophysical systems and how they impact and are impacted by human agencies, and interdisciplinary approaches necessary to contend with modern environmental challenges are emphasized. Current environmental issues will be considered theoretically and through case studies.
Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory period. Earth-space relations, latitude and longitude, seasons, time, weather, climate, and vegetation. Particular attention is given to the causes of weather and climate and why they tend to be different from place to place.
Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory period. Study of earth-surface processes, with consideration of human interaction with the physical environment. Subjects include landforms, water resources, soils, and mapping the physical environment.
This course, through lecture, lab and on-campus field trips, will introduce students to earth materials and their origins, and the dynamic physical processes that shape the Earth’s landforms and landscapes. Topics covered will include earth structure and materials, tectonic processes, soils, weathering and mass movements, karst processes and landscapes, fluvial systems and landforms, coastal process and landforms, glacial and periglacial processes and landforms, and both surface water and groundwater resources. Through on-campus field trips and interactions with current research faculty on campus, students will gain an understanding of how current geographic research is applied to solve complex global issues.
Introduction to geography through a survey of the world's major geographic regions. Examines their physical and cultural features, economies, and populations.
Introduction to geography as a science for learning the fundamentals of human behavior and decision making. Examines how human events, natural resources, economies, development, and urbanization impact the way humankind lives, organizes its space, and makes decisions for the future.
This course is about water on earth, and the content will integrate scientific elements from the disciplines of atmospheric science, geography, geology, hydrology, oceanography, and water resources. The course is organized based on the large-scale elements of the hydrologic cycle and the smaller-scale elements of the water balance concept, especially as they affect water resources.
Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory period. Fundamentals of map reading and interpretation.
Water is one of the most abundant, yet most precious, natural resources on Earth. Its movement and properties are determined by processes occurring within and across many geosystems, including rivers, lakes, glaciers, groundwater, and climate systems. This course explores how different components of Earth’s water system operate and the processes linking the components together. We will also explore how people modify and utilize Earth’s water systems. Our course will be based in Innsbruck, Austria, a geographic location with a variety of water systems, including glaciers, which have very strong ties to Earth’s climate system. We will take fieldtrips to local glaciers and rivers to examine how water systems operate in the “real world” and learn techniques used to measure and understand how these systems change over space and time. We will also take fieldtrips to Prague, Czech Republic and Munich, Germany to better understand how humans modify water systems, through processes such as river regulation. GY 207 is designated a natural science (NS) course.
Introduce the fundamentals of the earth-atmosphere system as they comprise the climate of Earth, drive spatial and temporal climate variability, and impact life.
This course is devoted to the topic of the management of the public domain of the United States. It will examine how the public domain came to be, how it has been disposed through the centuries by homesteading, and how remaining public lands are managed by different government agencies for mining, grazing, tourism, defense, or water storage and energy production. The focus will be on western states but public holdings in eastern states, oceans, and the electromagnetic spectrum will be covered.
Examination of the causes, consequences, and spatial distribution of climatic, geomorphic, and human-induced natural hazards. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory period. Introduction to computer graphics and their application in both the natural and social sciences, with special emphasis on mapping. Computing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course.
Analyzes human interactions with the physical environment and ways of dealing with them. Integrates environmental science, social science, and planning, and includes environmental impact assessment.
Study of the physical and human geography of the United States and Canada.
Study of the physical and human geography of Africa.
This course is designed to provide a regional survey of Latin America’s environments and peoples from a geographic perspective. The course presents the physical landscape as well as the changing environment in Latin America. The course then explores the major historical, cultural, and economical aspects of the region. The course will have an emphasis in processes that shape the major contemporary issues, such as development, urbanization, and environmental change.
This course is designed to provide a regional survey of Europe in terms of economic activities and the physcial environment. Special emaphasis is on the historical development of European landscapes.
Examines the growth of cities, their spatial distributions, internal dynamics, functional bases, and social and political patterns.
Environmental problems are social problems, and social problems are environmental problems. This truism is becoming increasingly apparent with the convergence of several grand challenges: climate change, biodiversity loss, widening socioeconomic inequality, and meeting the growing food demands of a global population expected to top 9 billion by 2050. Moreover, possible solutions to these problems often present unavoidable social value tradeoffs that are difficult to judge objectively, and the complexity of social and ecological systems make unintended consequences nearly impossible to foresee. In other words, social-ecological problem are “wicked problems”.
This course provides a broad introduction to the study of transport and other networks around the world, such as roads, rail, air, water, electronic, and social. Students will explore a variety of approaches to networks, beginning with fundamental definitions, a review of transport networks around the world, and then move through a range of topics, including topological measures, models of network formation, network components (links, nodes, flows), accessibility measures, spatial interaction, political influences on networks and flows, urban transport networks, and social networks.
No description available.
Sports are an important part of society and contribute billions of dollars to the global economy. This course examines the geographic dimensions of sports, primarily in North America, with some reflections on Europe for contrast. The geography of sports can be analyzed through the use of concepts found in a variety of human geography subdisciplines, including cultural, historical, economic, population, urban, and political geography. The course covers a variety of topics and helps students develop a holistic view of sports with regards to spatial interactions. Geography courses explain why things are where they are on the surface of the Earth. In other words, students develop a spatial perspective in thinking about their surroundings.
This course is designed to be primarily an experiential course and will address development and implementation of a Watershed Management Plan. The North River Watershed Management Plan will be used as a working model and students will review theory before carrying out experiential learning in the field.
A study of the physical landscapes in the southeastern United States. Emphasis is on the geological setting, geomorphic features, climate, soils, and vegetation, and the interrelationships of these conditions that shape the landscape in this region.
Hands-on, problem solving in the field of physical geography.
Hands-on, problem solving in the field of human geography.
This course is devoted to the changing geography of the national park system and protected areas, with an emphasis on their design, planning, and operations.
Applied Climatology is a graduate/senior level course designed to expand upon fundamental concepts learned in GY 101. Within this broad field, a specific focus in GY 413 concentrates upon climate and human health/behavior, and human modification of climate. The course contains a mixture of lecture, lab, and field assignments.
This course is an introduction to the effect of global climate change on health. The course will be taught from a geographical perspective and will introduce students to the physical science of climate change and the impact it has on health through discussion of extreme weather events, altered ecological systems, and threats to human security and welfare. Discussion will build on the core concepts of climate change science to provide students with a solid foundation to further examine a variety of topics from acute impacts such as heat waves and other weather extremes to chronic conditions such as shifting disease vector habitats, degraded air quality, and food security. Direct correlations between health impacts and climate change will be emphasized throughout as will discussion of mitigation and adaptation strategies.
This course examines the individuals, institutions, research, controversies, and policies that have developed around wildlife extinction, ecological problems associated with extinction, and endangered species. The course also examines the stories of several lost or vanishing species. This course, which has been developed out of the instructor's current research projects, uses lectures, readings, student-led discussions, writing assignments, and one exam to explore how humans have contributed to, while at the same time grappling with, the issue of wildlife conservation and extinction.
This course is an introduction to geostatistical data analysis using R. The course will be taught from the perspective of geographical and climate data analysis but serves as a broad introduction to the high-level programming language, R, as well as applied spatial data analysis. Students will load and manipulate data of different types, perform a variety of statistical analyses, generate graphical output, and create productive workflows using R alone. The primary outcome will be to facilitate students’ use of R to analyze data of their own choosing on a final project. Students will present these methods to the class for others to critique, analyze and learn from. Code sharing and re-use is highly emphasized, as is collaboration. The course is designed as a 1-hour lecture plus 2-hour lab each week.
EW&S is an integrated physical and social science seminar class consisting of readings, discussion, and lectures on perception, understanding, and communication of severe weather hazards. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
This course presents a comprehensive overview of the geographic sub-disciplines of Spatial Statistics and Geostatistics. Students will learn about the nature of spatial data, and the methods of centrography, point pattern analysis, spatial interpolation, spatial autocorrelation, density mapping and estimation, spatial regression, and both spatio-temporal and network based spatial statistical analyses. Students will learn the limitations of the methods, their proper use, and how to accurately describe their outputs.
Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory period. Introduction to the basic principles of electromagnetic radiation, interaction between energy and earth features, remote sensing instruments, and information extraction from remotely sensed data. Computing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course.
Individual work experience in cartography, supervised by faculty and staff of The University of Alabama. A maximum of 3 hours of internship or practicum credit can be applied to the geography major. Credit for GY 424 cannot be applied to the geography minor.
Individual work experience on a cartographic project, supervised by the staff of an off-campus agency. A maximum of 3 hours of internship or practicum credit can be applied to the geography major. Credit for GY 425 cannot be applied to the geography minor.
This course is a hands-on, practical Geographic Information Systems (GIS) introduction for non-majors in Geography or GIS Certificate.
Three hours lecture and one hour laboratory period. Introduces the basic concepts of GIS, including definition and components of GIS, spatial data structures, data sources, data input, manipulation and analysis, applications of GIS, and managing GIS. Computing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course.
Individual work experience in GIS, supervised by the faculty and staff of The University of Alabama. A maximum of 3 hours of internship or practicum credit can be applied to the geography major. Credit for GY 433 cannot be applied to the geography minor.
Individual work experience in GIS, supervised by the staff of an off-campus agency. A maximum of 3 hours of internship or practicum credit can be applied to the geography major. Credit for GY 434 cannot be applied to the geography minor.
Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory period. Analysis and extraction of thematic information from nonphotographic remotely sensed data for geographic information systems. Topics include image processing, image enhancement, and image classification. Computing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course.
Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory period. Evaluation of case studies, spatial model development, and database design for geographic information systems. Computing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course.
The application of Geographic Information Systems to transportation has resulted in a sub-field known as GIS-T. This course will provide a hands-on introduction to GIS-T.
Principles, processes, and analysis of public facility location planning, with emphasis on the spatial search process, impact analysis, and public facility location models. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
Theory and use of zoning, eminent domain, taxing and police powers, enabling acts, charters, official maps, codes, nuisance ordinances, and environmental impact statements in community planning.
This course presents the theory and practice of Location Science – the study of the optimal or near optimal spatial location and allocation of facilities, routes, personnel, or other assets. A variety of optimal procedures for location problems is presented, including minimum spanning tree, shortest path, maximal flow, and transportation problem algorithms. The Simplex method as applied to location problems is outlined and demonstrated. Heuristic approaches to location problems including greedy heuristics and Tabu search heuristics are reviewed.
Three-week intensive field study in Ghana. Explores geographical perspectives on Africa's level of development and the responses of the African peoples to their circumstances.
This course examines the geographical elements of how people use the biophysical environment to grow domesticated plants (crops). Agriculture is understood in this course as the transformation of biophysical or “natural” environments into "cultural" environments. It is assessed in regard to both the plants cultivated, and the soil, slope, moisture, and temperature conditions that exist and then are modified or created by farmers. Ecological and systematic approaches are taken in order to understand how different agricultural strategies insure continual long-term productivity and stability. Microeconomics is an important and recurring theme.
Ireland with its long history of occupation, colonization, invasion, emigration and immigration, together with its diverse geology, geomorphology, culture, history and heritage is an ideal location to study the intricacies of human-earth relationships in a dynamic modern setting. Located on the western most edge of Europe, and a member of the European Union, Ireland welcomes over 11 million visitors each year and during the last decades has evolved into a forward-thinking center of globalism and multiculturalism. This course is designed to immerse each student in all things Irish, past and present, and through readings, field visits, excursions and exposure to the Irish people and culture develop an understanding of the complexity, interdisciplinarity and global interconnections that exist in Ireland and throughout our global community. This is a unique opportunity for students to experience the real Ireland.
Study Belize’s diverse rainforests, coral reefs, and visit Mayan ruins for a glimpse into a past civilization. Belize is unique in that it still contains relatively undisturbed rainforests and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. However, while Belize has emerged as an international leader regarding conservation efforts, threats from climate change, poverty, and development still exist. The purpose of this course is 1) examine current conservation efforts to safeguard this biodiversity; 2) familiarize students with the most important aspects of tropical lowland terrestrial and marine ecosystems; 3) understand the role of local culture in sustainable conservation; 4) gain an understanding of the fundamental importance of biodiversity; and 5) expose students to new and unique cultures and environments. The course is designed for students who are interested in conservation issues, biogeography, marine sciences, ornithology and birding, archaeology, and outdoor adventures.
Global Environmental Change focuses on the major issues of global change, including anthropogenic climate change, land use and land cover change, biodiversity issues, environmental pollution, potential global change-related impacts on human health, and relevant social policies. The class will follow a quasi-seminar format where individual presentations and group discussion will comprise a large portion of the in-class activity. Each week students will do research on and/or read assigned articles and additional articles of your own selection on relevant subjects. I will provide a summary of the weekly topic and as a class we will discuss issues raised in the research and readings.
Review of the history of natural resources in the U.S. and current environmental topics, followed by discussion of techniques to facilitate environmental decision making and management.
Exploration of the linkages between the biophysical environment and human social systems. Public policy implications are viewed from a social science perspective. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
This program will provide students with a broad interdisciplinary experience encompassing tropical ecology, conservation and development (TECD) in a highly experiential learning context. Specific topics will vary.
Individual work experience in planning, supervised by the staff of an off-campus agency. A maximum of 3 hours of internship or practicum credit can be applied to the geography major. Credit for GY 456 cannot be applied to the geography minor.
Interested in starting a nonprofit? Working with or leading one? In this course students will create their own nonprofit organization from conception to incorporation. Build on an existing idea or start a new organization around students' goals and passion. Learn what it takes to run an organization by building one from the ground up, including business planning, legal structures, board development, and incorporation process. Classes will be structured around brief lectures, reading quizzes, class discussions, maker space project development, and presentations.
A study of contemporary urban landscapes, political and economic power structures, and resultant conflicts. Includes an in-depth analysis of the role of externalities, the urban planner, urban policymaking, and analytical methods in the planning and administration of urban landscapes. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
The primary objective of this course is to introduce students to the essential characteristics and basic processes of inquiry and analysis in the area of the water-energy-food (WEF) nexus. Specifically, the WEF nexus will be considered in relation and its application to human concerns, such as emerging supply and demand issues and their impacts of social and economic systems, ecological health, and human well-being. This course will encourage the development of critical thinking skills and requires students to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate knowledge about core WEF concepts.
Political ecology is a multidisciplinary approach to studying the environment through interrogating how power shapes and intersects with human-environment relationships. As a field of inquiry and practice, political ecology has greatly expanded over the past several decades to not just understand the political foundations of environmental problems or challenges, but also the co-production of environments with close attention to matters of justice, power, and inequality. Political ecology contends that through critical analysis and interdisciplinary methodologies, we can come to better understand the roots of socio-environmental problems in order to work for political change and social good.
This course explores the interactions between land use, land cover, and social and environmental processes at multiple scales. The emphasis is on understanding how the natural landscape influences human activities, how humans modify the natural landscape to meet our needs, and how those modifications create a co-evolution between landscapes and human use. Understanding how land uses are, or should be, allocated to achieve multiple goals, including food and fiber production, space for human settlement, provision of ecosystem services, and access to renewable energy sources, requires consideration of these multiple objectives and of the various factors driving land-use decisions at multiple scales.
In this reading intensive and discussion based course, students will engage with a variety of contemporary texts that grapple with pertinent questions about the meaning of conservation in our contemporary moment, one which many have labelled the Anthropocene. The seminar will introduce students to key theoretical concepts related to the Anthropocene and its Anthro-adjacent terms (the Capitalocene, the Plantationocene, etc.), with particular focus on how new ways of understanding human transformation on the planet inform and push us to re-evaluate human relationships with nonhuman species. Students will pay special attention in this course—through a variety of ethnographic, empirical, and more theoretical texts—to reconfigurations and rearticulations of human-wildlife relationships and conservation politics, inclusive of both plant and animal life and human efforts to govern nature on a rapidly changing planet. As we face the rapid and ongoing acceleration of planetary species extinction and anthropogenic climate change, new ways of articulating environmental discourses and nature-society relations are necessary, which students will discuss and debate from a number of vantage points where the ecological meets the social (and thus, political).
This course is devoted to the geography of the automobile/highway/sprawl system, primarily in an urban North American context. Examines the location and function of the multimodal North American transportation system, the urban transportation planning process and methodologies. Assesses the political and environmental contexts of transport systems, including impacts of continued reliance on the automobile.
This upper level writing course teaches students how to create and present a nonprofit grant writing program. Students will work with local nonprofit organizations and develop research opportunities, prepare reusable master language, and draft real grant applications for their nonprofit client. Students will be required to construct a strong grant application portfolio and presentation on behalf of project partner(s). Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
No description available.
Three hours lecture and required field and lab work. Introduction to the study of soils, including soil formation, classification, and the interpretation of soils to reconstruct environmental histories.
This course will evaluate the current approaches to policy theory and examine systematically the broader implications of the substantive aspects of public policy development in the water resources spectrum. In analysis of public policy development in water resources, the student will look at both policy process and policy substance. Attention will be given to the questions of how and why water policy differs across states, and how one might evaluate policy performance cross-nationally.
The Water Resources Management, Law, and Policy course will provide students with a survey of water resources development, control, law, policy and management with particular emphasis on public policy considerations including: the acquisition and exercise of water rights—appropriative and riparian; groundwater management; water districts and user organizations; environmental considerations; Federal/State relations including interstate allocation; and the Alabama Water Resources Act. The course will also address international water law—the multinational treaties, laws, cases, practices and politics governing Earth’s transboundary freshwater resources (watercourses including rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater aquifers) shared by two or more countries.
The course will focus on the linkages between water resources policy and conflict or cooperation with primary interest on interstate (transboundary) and intrastate water issues. The conceptual framework of the course is centered on water scarcity, water conflict, hydropolicy, hydrohegemony, water security, and dispute resolution. The role of disparate stakeholders and the problem of scale will be considered. The policy, norms and laws for mediating water conflict at different jurisdictional levels, including adversarial legalism (lawsuits) are examined.
Individual work experience in environmental science, supervised by the staff of an off-campus agency. A maximum of 3 hours of internship or practicum credit can be applied to the geography major. Credit for GY 483 cannot be applied to the geography minor.
Rivers are dynamic natural systems that are of great importance to ecosystems and society. This course examines river hydrology processes from a physical geography perspective. A major theme of the course will be impacts of human actions on river systems.
An examination of the physical operation of watersheds focusing on surface water hydrology, erosion, and sedimentation. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
This course covers concepts, numerical algorithms, and techniques for digital terrain and watershed analysis. It combines lectures with a substantial practical lab component. The lectures covers spatial representation of topography, topographical data acquisition techniques(Photogrammetric Stereo, InSAR, LiDAR, GPS, cartography), terrain visualization, terrain parameter derivation, extraction of critical terrain features, landform recognition and classification, viewshed analysis, cut-and-fill and volumetric analysis, drainage network extraction, watershed delineation, and distributed watershed models. The practical component, involving 8 lab assignments and one individual mini-project, will give students hands-on experience in using proprietary GIS software packages, ArcGIS, EPA BASINS 4.0 and HSPF 12.0 to handle topographic and image data for terrain and watershed analysis.
Three hours lecture and required field work. Study of the nature of forest communities and the interrelationship of organisms that compose them. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
Work experience in an agency involved in geographical analysis. A maximum of 3 hours of internship or practicum credit can be applied to the geography major. Credit for GY 490 cannot be applied to the geography minor.
This course provides an in-depth investigation of the processes that determine the form and evolution of rivers and streams. Questions addressed by this course include the following. What processes determine the form and evolution of rivers and streams? How can we infer process from form and vice versa? How do river form and process vary spatially and temporally? What principles of fluvial geomorphology are needed for river restoration and management? The course will combine lectures, discussions, field data collection, and modeling activities. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
This field course is focused on the biotic and abiotic elements that create distinct forest communities throughout the eastern US, with a particular emphasis on woody plant assemblages including the silvics of dominant and indicator species in different community types. Applications to forest management are stressed.
In this course silviculture is treated as applied forest ecology. The goal of this course is to provide students with a knowledge of silviculture and its ecological basis so they can design manipulations in forest ecosystems to achieve a range of management objectives. The course requires field trips to tour different sites and visit with forest scientists and managers. In this course students learn about tree growth and stand development and use this information to develop silvicultural prescriptions to meet a diverse range of management goals. We will explore how silvicultural treatments can influence stand structure and composition and how these changes influence timber quantity and quality, forest health, biodiversity, soil, and wildlife habitat among other features. We will also focus on how silviculture is influenced by broader social, economic, and ecological issues. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.