Ornithology (BIO 386) Birds have captivated our passion and fascination for thousands of years. One of the most diverse groups of vertebrates on Earth, they have colonized a staggering range of habitats. We explore the evolution of birds, feathers, and flight, their habitat ecology, mating behavior, and migration. In the field we will learn how to survey for birds by sight and sound and how to safely capture passerines with mist nets. Our class project focuses on the phenological synchrony of bird migration with flowering and leaf oout of Oregon white oak here in the Upper Klamath Basin. We go on field trips to local hotspots as well as a "Big Weekend" to the coast. Photo: Oregon Juncos are a common winter resident around Klamath Falls foraging for insects and seeds. In the spring they migrate to higher elevations and latitudes. Photo by Jherime Kellermann
Wildlife Ecology and Research (BIO 377) My goal in this course is to provide students with hands-on experience and exposure to a wide range of wildlife research methods for field studies and data analysis as well as core elements of wildlife ecology which will help prepare them for technical jobs with wildlife and natural resource agencies and graduate school programs. We cover study and sampling designs, wildlife capture techniques, marking and tracking animal movements, habitat use and selection, fragmentation and disturbance, wildlife diseases, and conservation and management issues. OIT is well placed in the upper Klamath Basin to explore a fantastic diversity of habitats and wildlife species just out our back door.
Photo: Students search for wildlife while rafting the Rogue River in southern Oregon during during a weekend field trip. Photo: Jherime Kellermann
Crater Lake Ecology (BIO 407) As part of the Summer Institute at Oregon Tech, I am offering a series of intensive summer field courses at OIT. In summer 2014 our focus was Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). We studied ecology, biology, and field research methods of lepidoptera. Students also participated in the 2014 Lepidoptera BioBlitz, a citizen science event at Crater Lake National Park as assistant trip leaders working directly with experts and national park staff. As part of the course we spent a week camping in Crater Lake National Park and exploring the diversity of ecosystems that occur there through the "lens" of butterflies. Future courses will focus on a range of different taxa.
Photo: OIT students, graduate students from Southern Oregon University, national park staff, and other regional scientists identify butterfly species during the 2014 Lepidoptera BioBlitz at Crater Lake National Park. Photo: David Grimes.
Conservation Biology (BIO 446) Conservation Biology is the science and practice that seeks to understand biological diversity, the factors that are threatening it, and ways we can manage, protect, and restore it. Topics we study include ecosystem services, habitat loss and fragmentation, overharvesting, invasive species, climate change vulnerability and adaptation, fire ecology and forest management, endangered species and extinction, and conservation planning and practice. We will have guest lectures by professionals from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds.
Photo: ENV student Tosha Bunnell studying wocus and their obligate host the wocus beetle for her senior project. This species is aan important cultural resource and a focus of conservation in Klamath Lake. Photo: Jherime Kellermann
Field Methods in Environmental Sciences (ENV265/365) Each term we explore a different topic and its associated field methods. Typically class projects focus on a particular location and discipline in environmental sciences. In Fall 2015 our focus is Fire Ecology and our study site is Crater Lake National Park. Students can take this course multiple times during their degree since it changes each year. Stay tuned for next year's topic!
Photo: Dr. Daniel Leavell, a fire ecologist from the OSU Forestry Dept. and Klamath Basin Research and Education Center joins our class for the weekend field trip to monitor the National Fire Complex in Crater Lake National Park. Here we view a surface fire still burning in late October. Longer and more severe fire seasons are occurring under recent climate change conditions. Photo: Jherime Kellermann
Developmental Biology (BIO352) In this course we explore primarily vertebrate development from the point of fertilization, through embryonic and post-embryonic development to senescence. We explore the complex roles and interactions of genetics, epigenetics, proteins, bacteria and microbes, and the environment. We examine how teratogens such as endocrine disruptors are affecting the development of humans and wildlife and their relationships to cancer and other diseases. Photo: Climate change has important implications for species such as turtles whose sex ratios can be temperature dependent. Photo: Jherime Kellermann
Scientific Reasoning & Methodology (ENV224) In this course we explore what science really is, what it means to "do science", and how society views science. We answer questions like "What is science?", "Who are scientists?", "How do we distinguish science from psuedoscience?". We explore the intricacies and reality of "the scientific method", work on developing multiple alternative hypotheses and strong predictions, understanding what "data" really is and how we can effectively visualize it, and dabble in the foundations of scientific thought and philosophy from Aristotle to Feyerbrand. This is perhaps the most important class I teach during an unprecedented time in our country when science is under intense scrutiny and attack within our government and media.
Figure: Per capita CO2 emissions increase with income per person. Graphic created with Gapminder Tools http://www.gapminder.org/
Principles of Biology (BIO211 & BIO212) In this course series we make a phylogenetic exploration of the evolution and diversity of life. The origins of life, Darwinian evolution, genetics, phylogenetic relationships, inheritance, population ecology, behavioral ecology, community ecology, ecosystems, and global change are just a few of the key topics we address through readings, discussion, independent research projects, and multimedia. I teach Principles both on campus and online through our Distance Ed department.
Photo: A student removes a deer mouse from a Sherman trap for a class project at Caledonia Ranch, a private preserve near OIT.