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Foundation species change in coastal habitats

Syllabus for fall semester of 2019

1. Time.  The class will be held on Friday 4-5 pm Eastern Time. The first day of class will be August 23

2. Contacts. The course is being organized by Steven Pennings at the University of Houston. Email, Telephone 713 743 2989. The course is being offered for credit at the University of Houston and at the following additional institutions. Enrolling in these courses may involve additional course work beyond the weekly internet lecture. See the bottom of the syllabus for instructions about logging in and taking the course for credit.

Institution                                                 Course number and instructors

Boston Univ                                  ES543, September only, Sergio Fagherazzi

Boston Univ                                  XXX, October only, Alyssa Novak and Zoe Hughes

Coastal Carolina Univ                   XXX, X credits, Richard Peterson (tentative)

Florida International Univ           BSC 6926, 1 credit, Andrea Nocentini

Texas A&M Galveston                  MARB 681-602, 1 credit, Anna Armitage

University of Alabama BSC 695-954, 1 credit, Julia Cherry

Univ of California, Los Angeles  XXX, X credits, Kyle Cavanaugh

Univ of Florida                              XXX, X credits, Christine Angelini (tentative)

Univ of Georgia                             ECOL 8990, 2 credits, Jeb Byers

Univ of Houston                            BIOL 4197 and 6197, 1 credit, Steven Pennings

Univ of New Orleans                    XXX, X credits, Ioannis Georgiou

Univ of Virgina                             EVEC 5559, 1 credit, Linda Blum and Karen McGlathery

3. Course content

Coastal habitats are often dominated by one or a few “foundation species” that dominate and drive most ecological processes in the habitat. Given various global changes, which (if any) foundation species is present at a site may change. This is expected to have significant consequences for ecological function at that site. This course will provide a unique opportunity to learn from experts in the field distributed across multiple universities. Speakers will discuss the topic from various perspectives. Course content will be delivered live over the internet.

Schedule of lectures

August 23. Allyson Degrassi. Shenandoah University. Introduction to the Foundation Species concept.

August 30. Edward Castaneda, Florida International University. Extreme events and foundation species change.

September 6. Steven Pennings, University of Houston. Coastal geomorphic effects of shifting from mangrove to salt marsh vegetation.

September 13. Michael Osland, USGS. Global change and changes in coastal foundation species distributions.

September 20. Evelyn Gaiser or Luca Marazzi, Florida International University, foundation algae.

September 27. John Kominoski, Florida International University. Consequences of foundation species shifts for organic matter and biogeochemistry in coastal wetlands and forested streams.

October 4. Jeb Byers, University of Georgia. Ecosystem change driven by Gracilaria invasion of southeastern US mudflats.

October 11. Debra Peters, USDA. Greening of the desert: causes of grass expansion in desertified shrublands.

October 18. Kyle Cavanaugh, University of California, Los Angeles. Effects of climate variability and change on giant kelp forests.

October 25. Dennis Whigham, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Phragmites invasions, causes and consequences.

November 1. Andrew Altieri, University of Florida, Consumers and phase shifts in coral reefs.

November 8. Christine Angelini, University of Florida. Foundation species in dune habitats.

November 15. Max Castorani, University of Virginia, effect of giant kelp loss on kelp forest communities.

November 22. Keryn Gedan, George Washington University, marsh transgression into upland habitats.

November 29. Thanksgiving Holiday; no class.

December 6 (TBD)

4. How to participate

If you wish to take this course for credit, you need to enroll in one of the courses listed above or arrange a “special topics” course with a willing instructor at your home institution. If you simply wish to sit in on the lectures, you are welcome to do so without formally enrolling.  In either case, please subscribe to the course blog on the course website so that you will receive course-related announcements. All you’ll need to participate is a computer with a high-speed connection to the internet.

A link to join the lecture will be posted each week on the course web site. To join, you’ll have to download the skype for business web app (free). This will take a few minutes, so join a few minutes early the first time. The plugin may not work well with all computers or all browsers. It will probably be easier if you use a PC rather than a Mac and if you have an Ethernet connection rather than wireless. I encourage you to test out skype for business (if you have access to it) before the class period starts, so that you have time to resolve any issues.

During the lecture, please leave your camera turned off to save bandwidth and your microphone muted to prevent feedback. After the lecture, please ask questions using the chat feature in the lower left hand corner of the screen.

We will make many of the lectures available on the course website as recordings, so that you can view them at a later date.

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