400 Level

Current offerings of Earth & Environment courses can be found on the course listing of the BU Bulletin.

All courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.

GE 400 Environment and Development: A Political Ecology Approach

Prerequisite: senior standing.

Theory and practice of development with an explicit focus on environmental issues. Introduces history of development and the environment; explores select themes in development and environmental studies (e.g. rural livelihoods, conservation, urbanization, and climate change); and considers alternative development paradigms. Meets with GRS GE 600.

GE/ES 401, 402 Senior Independent Work

Prerequisite: approval of Honors Committee.

ES 420 Aquatic Optics & Remote Sensing

Prerequisites: CAS ES 107 and CAS GE 270 (or CAS MA 213); or consent of instructor. CAS GE 302 is recommended.

An introduction to the use of optical measurements and remote sensing to study the biogeochemistry and water quality of aquatic environments. Covers fundamental concepts and measurements in optics/remote sensing and provides hands-on experience with real data. Meets with GRS ES 620.

GE 420 Methods of Environmental Policy Analysis

Prerequisites: CAS EC 101 and CAS MA 121 or 123.

Introduction to the analysis of environmental policy, the implications of environmental problems for public decision-making, the tools available to decision-makers, and their effectiveness, advantages, and disadvantages. Meets with GRS GE 620.

ES 423 Marine Biogeochemistry

Prerequisites: CH 101 and 102, admission to BUMP or ES 144, or consent of instructor.

Over the past decades biogeochemistry has become an essential tool to further our understanding of human impacts on the globe. In this class we discuss coastal and open ocean biogeochemical cycling and how these cycles have been altered by global change. An emphasis is placed on the linkages between local and global scales. We also discuss how biogeochemical tools help unravel various environmental questions. Topics include, but are not limited to marine primary production, iron limitation and fertilization as a response to climate change, oceanic glacial-interglacial biogeochemical cycles, biogeochemical cycles in wetlands and mangroves, and impacts of nutrient pollution on the coastal ocean. Meets with GRS GE 623.

GE 425 United States Environmental Policy

Prerequisite: CAS GE 309.

Survey and historical overview of key environmental policies and regulations in the United States. Emphasis on policy development, including formulation and implementation of federal pollution control regulations since the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970. Considers possible future policy needs. Meets with GRS GE 625.

GE 440 Digital Image Processing – Remote Sensing

Prerequisite: CAS GE 302 or equivalent.

At least introductory statistics (and preferably multivariate statistics) recommended. This course pursues both the algorithms involved in processing remote sensing images and their application. Topics include preprocessing, image transformations, image classification and segmentation, spectral mixture analysis, and change detection. Examples cover a wide range of environmental applications of remote sensing. Students do a project. Meets with GRS GE 640.

ES 440 Marine Geology

Prerequisite: Any 100-level ES course or consent of instructor.

Examines the evolution of ocean basins and marginal seas, changes in structure and composition of ocean basins throughout the last billion years, and the contribution of oceanic geological processes to the chemistry and biochemistry of Earth. Meets with GRS ES 640.

ES 443 Terrestrial Biogeochemistry

Prerequisites: BI 107 or ES 105 or ES 107 and CH 101/102, or consent of instructor.

The patterns and processes controlling carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Links between local and global scales are emphasized. Topics include net primary production, nutrient use efficiency, and biogeochemical transformation. Meets with GRS ES 623.

GE 445 Physical Models in Remote Sensing

Prerequisites: CAS GE 302 or equivalent.

Devoted to understanding the physical processes involved in remote sensing. Emphasis based on topics of radiative transfer in the atmosphere, at the surface, and in sensors. Reflectance modeling, advanced sensor systems, and geometric effects. Meets with GRS GE 645.

GE 446: Remote Sensing of the Lower Atmosphere

Prerequisites: GE 302 and GE 310 or consent of instructor.

Remote sensing has transformed the study of Earth’s atmosphere. Learn the principles of retrieving meteorological parameters (humidity, temperature, precipitation) and key atmospheric constituents (clouds, greenhouse gases, aerosol) from satellite observations. Explore applications to climate change, disaster monitoring, and public health. Meets with GRS GE 646.

GE 456 Terrestrial Ecosystems & the Carbon Cycle

Prerequisites: GE 100, 101, or 104, college level statistics (MA 113, MA 115, MA 213, or equivalent), and one of the following: BI 306, BI 443, or GE 530; or, consent of instructor.

The course is directed at graduate students interested in global environmental change and undergraduates with a solid science background interested in pursuing an environmental career. In this class we will focus on applying the fundamentals of climate science, ecosystems ecology, and biogeochemistry to explore the past, present, and possible future dynamics of the carbon cycle. Meets with GRS GE 656.

GE 460 Food, Energy, and Water Policy

Prerequisite: GE 420 (may be taken concurrently); or consent of instructor.

Economic and policy analysis of how to manage ecosystems for the provision of food, energy, and water. Introduces cost-benefit analysis, dynamic optimization, and ecosystem service valuation as tools for understanding the optimal management of ecosystems and tradeoffs. Meets with GRS GE 660.

GE 475 Urban Ecology

This course explores the biophysical environments and ecology of urban settlements. Key topics covered include the physical environment (particularly climate & water), patterns in human population growth and development, ecosystem structure and function (net primary productivity, soils, nutrients cycling, organismal populations), global change (urban growth, disturbance, climate change), urban environment pollution and management (air and water quality), and sustainable urban development policies and regulations. Also offered as BI 475. Meets with GRS GE 675.

GE/ES 483 Geodynamics II: Fluids and Fluid Transport

Prerequisites: CAS MA 124, MA 127, or MA 129, and CAS PY 211 and CAS ES 360; or consent of instructor.

Large- and small-scale phenomena in oceanic, atmospheric, and landsurface fluids. Properties of gases and liquids; surface and body forces; statics; flow analysis; continuity and momentum conservation. Darcy’s Law; potential, open channel, and geostrophic flow; dimensional analysis; diffusion, turbulence. Meets with GE/ES 683.

GE/ES 491, 492 Directed Study

Prerequisite: junior or senior standing and consent of instructor. Credits can vary.

Individual instruction and directed research of a selected topic.