Stephen Trombulak

Prof of Environ'l & Biosphere Studies; Director of Sciences

 
 work802.443.5439
 M-F all day: email me to make an appointment
 Franklin Environmental Ctr Hillcrest 216

I am a conservation biologist and landscape ecologist, with particular interests in (a) the field biology of mammals, birds, and beetles, (b) the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to develop science-based conservation planning tools, and (c) natural history education.

I teach in both the Biology Department and the Program in Environmental Studies, where my primary teaching focus is on environmental science, vertebrate natural history, and conservation biology. My emphasis in the classroom is on hand-on engagement with real techniques and skills used by professionals in the discipline, whether it is mist-netting birds, trapping small mammals, or developing computer models to assess the population viability of an endangered species.


I currently run two primary research programs—one on forest-dwelling beetles and one on landscape-level wildlife connectivity in the Northern Appalachians—but I regularly direct student independent study and thesis research on a wide range of topics. My philosophy is that if it interests you and I can provide professional advice, I’m happy to help you work on it. Recent projects carried out by undergraduates in my lab include studies of population genetics in sea lamprey, secondary stress responses in thresher sharks, and the relationship between landscape transformation and species endangerment.

 

Courses

Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

BIOL0302 - Vertebrate Natural History      

Vertebrate Natural History
This course deals with the natural history of vertebrates in the context of the forests, fields, wetlands, and rivers of western Vermont. We will explore in depth the taxonomy of the local vertebrate fauna; techniques for capturing and handling live animals, particularly birds, mammals, and fish; and address experimentally specific questions about the distribution and abundance of vertebrates in a range of natural plant communities. Topics considered will include conservation biology, population and community ecology, and behavior. Field work will involve several early morning and weekend trips. (BIOL 0140) 6+ hrs. lab/field. SCI

Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

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BIOL0392 - Conservation Biology      

Conservation Biology
This course will focus on advanced topics in applied ecology and population genetics as they relate to the protection and restoration of biological integrity in the natural world. Emphasis will be placed on in-depth exploration of current issues, such as the design of nature reserves, genetic and demographic factors associated with population decline, metapopulation analysis, connectivity, and large-scale ecological processes. This course will involve reading from the primary literature, discussion, computer modeling, and writing assignments, and will build upon the information presented in the prerequisite courses. (BIOL 0140) SCI

Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

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BIOL0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0500, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in BIOL 0700, Senior Independent Study. (Approval required) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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BIOL0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course students complete individual projects involving laboratory and/or field research or extensive library study on a topic chosen by the student and a faculty advisor. Prior to registering for BIOL 0700, a student must have discussed and agreed upon a project topic with a member of the Biology Department faculty. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. (Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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BIOL0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
Seniors majoring in Biology who have completed one or more semesters of BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 and who plan to complete a thesis should register for BIOL 0701. In this course students will produce a written thesis, deliver a public presentation of the research on which it is based, and present an oral defense of the thesis before a committee of at least three faculty members. Additional requirements include participation in weekly meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and attending all Biology Department seminars. Open to Biology and joint Biology/Environmental Studies majors. (BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 or waiver; instructor approval required for all students) 3 hrs. disc

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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ENVS0112 - Natural Science & Environment      

Natural Science and the Environment
We will explore in detail a series of current environmental issues in order to learn how principles of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics, as well as interdisciplinary scientific approaches, help us to identify and understand challenges to environmental sustainability. In lecture, we will examine global environmental issues, including climate change, water and energy resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services, human population growth, and world food production, as well as the application of science in forging effective, sustainable solutions. In the laboratory and field, we will explore local manifestations of global issues via experiential and hands-on approaches. 3 hrs. lect., 3 hrs. lab. SCI

Spring 2014

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ENVS0330 - Conserving Endangered Species      

Conserving Endangered Species
The planet is in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event. In this course we will examine the science of species endangerment and recovery and how human society, through its political and legal systems, seeks to conserve endangered species. We will explore several case studies, primarily focused on species recovery efforts in the United States. The course will culminate in a student group project. (BIOL 0140 or ENVS 0112 or ENVS 0211) 3 hrs. sem.

Fall 2014

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ENVS0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
In this course, students (non-seniors) carry out an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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ENVS0700 - Senior Independent Study      

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018

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SENV3120 - Intro Environmental Analysis      

Introduction to Environmental Analysis

Using a case study method and a lecture/lab format, students in this course will explore deeply the critical environmental issue of society’s energy future through science, policy, and aesthetic design. Students will come away from this course with a solid background in both how to approach a holistic understanding of environmental issues and the importance of interdisciplinary thinking in shaping environmental solutions. Weekly field trips will introduce students to renewable energy technologies being implemented in the local region. Credit: 1 Unit (3 semester-hours).

Summer 2015 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont, Summer 2016 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont, Summer 2017 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont

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SENV3410 - Sustainability Practicum      

In this course we will explore, through reading, discussion, and direct engagement, an issue associated with sustainability, such as energy, food production, land management, or environmental justice. Using a case study approach to analyzing existing sustainability initiatives, we will explore—and eventually practice—the process of advancing a project from inception to launch. This class will involve team-based research projects focused on identifying and analyzing solutions to real sustainability challenges confronted by government, business, or individuals. Much of your work in this course will take place within small (3-5 students) research teams. Credit: 1 Unit (3 semester-hours).

Required Text: Kahane, Adam. Solving Tough Problems, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2007

Summer 2014 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont, Summer 2015 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont, Summer 2016 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont, Summer 2017 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont

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SENV3420 - Understanding Place      

In this course we will explore the environmental challenges experienced by a specific place through both its ecological and cultural narratives. Solutions to environmental challenges require an understanding of the history, culture, economy, and ecology of a location. In this way, we will develop an interdisciplinary perspective that will allow is to understand how the place came to be; its global connections on multiple temporal and spatial scales; and how to improve conditions for this place and the human communities with which it is associated.

Summer 2014 Sch of Environment, School of Environment Vermont

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Department of Biology

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753