600 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.

Prerequisites apply to BA/MA students only; please with your advisor.

GE 600 Environment and Development: A Political Ecology Approach

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. Meet with GE 400.

ES 620 Aquatic Optics & Remote Sensing

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. Meet with ES 420.

GE 620 Methods of Environmental Policy Analysis

Prerequisites: EC 101, MA 121.

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. Meet with 620.

ES 623 Marine Biogeochemistry

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

Nutrient and biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems; global biogeochemistry. Topics include anthropogenic effects on ecosystem cycles and productivity, wetland ecology and biogeochemistry, ecosystem restoration, ocean productivity, climate change and temperate, tropical, and aquatic ecosystems, oceans and the global CO2 budget, marine sediment chemistry. Meet with ES 423.

GE 625 United States Environmental Policy

Prerequisites: 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. Meet with GE 425.

GE 640 Digital Image Processing – Remote Sensing

Prerequisite: 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 GE 440.

ES 640 Marine Geology

Examines the evolution of ocean basins and marginal seas, changes in structure and composition of ocean basins throughout the last one billion years, and the contribution of oceanic geological processes to the chemistry and biochemistry of the Earth. Meet with ES 440.

ES 643 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 ES 443. Also offered as BI 643.

GE 645 Physical Models of Remote Sensing

Prerequisite: 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. A short research paper is required. Meet with GE 445.

GE 646 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 GE 446.

GE 648 Remote Sensing of Vegetation

Examines the use of remote sensing to study vegetation. Topics include resource inventory and evaluation for forests and agriculture; ecosystem processes like primary productivity and biogeochemical cycles; and spectral reflectance measurement and models. A research paper is required. Meet with GE 448.

GE 656 Terrestrial Ecosystems and 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.

Explores the past, present, and possible future dynamics of the terrestrial carbon cycle. Key topics include the physical climate system, variability, ecosystem processes, land use issues, and impacts of global change on society. Meets with GE 456.

GE 660 Food, Energy, and Water Policy

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. Meet with GE 460.

ES 671 Geochemistry

Prerequisites: any 100-level ES course and CH 101 or equivalent, or consent of instructor.

Chemical features of Earth and the solar system; geochemical cycles, reactions among solids, liquids, and gases; radioactivity and isotope fractionation; water chemistry; origins of ore deposits; applications of geochemistry to regional and global problems. Meet with ES 371.

GE 675 Urban Ecology

Prerequisites: GE 100 or GE 101 or GE 104; and one of the following: BI 306, BI 443 or BI 643, GE 456 or GE 656, or BI 530 or GE 530; or consent of instructor.

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. Meets with GE 475. Also offered as BI 675.

ES/GE 683 Geodynamics II: Fluids and Fluid Transport

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

Large- and small-scale phenomena in oceanic, atmospheric, and land-surface fluids. Properties of gases and liquids; surface body forces; statics; flow analysis; continuity and momentum conservation. Darcy’s Law; potential, open channel and geostrophic flow; dimensional analysis; diffusion, turbulence. Meets with ES/GE 483.

ES 699 Teaching College Earth Sciences

Required of all teaching fellows. The goals, contents, and methods of instruction in Earth Sciences. General teaching-learning issues. 2 credits.

GE 699 Teaching College Geography

Required of all teaching fellows. The goals, contents, and methods of instruction in Geography. General teaching-learning issues. 2 credits.