COVID-19: Essential Information

Alexis M. Mychajliw

Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies

 
 work802-443-5439
 Tues. 9-11 in MBH 374, or by appt. on Zoom
 McCardell Bicentennial Hall 374

 Professor Mychajliw leads the interdisciplinary HEDGE (Holocene ecology, diversity, and global extinctions) Lab. Written in the Holocene - roughly the last 10,000 years - is the story of how we got to now. Deciphering this recent past can help us navigate difficult decisions about the future of people and our planet. 

Our lab applies a diverse set of methods to reconstruct the ecological and evolutionary histories of living species and place these results in a conservation context. We employ toolkits that can accommodate data from fossil, natural history, and modern specimens, such as stable isotopes, DNA, morphology, and models. We conduct fieldwork that includes both excavations of Quaternary sediments and non-invasive surveys of extant mammals. We strive to include stakeholders, students, and conservation professionals from local communities wherever possible at all stages of our research.

Current projects include: the historical ecology of California Channel Islands vertebrates, dietary analysis of California’s last grizzly bears, paleoecology of Pleistocene asphaltic fossils ("tar pits"), extinction and conservation of Caribbean mammals, and developing approaches to study the long-term natural history of cities.

Upcoming local student research opportunities will focus on fur-bearing mammals of the Gulf of Maine (muskrats, minks, beavers), bridging archaeological assemblages, the historic North American fur trade, and present day management and trapping practices. This work offers the possibility to learn from collaborators at U Oklahoma, U Maine, the Passamaquoddy tribe, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

If you're interested in joining the HEDGE Lab or want to learn more about Professor Mychajliw, please visit our website and reach out by email with a copy of your CV and research interests. Lab members typically have backgrounds in biology or geology, but we welcome perspectives from other sciences and the humanities to join us; we believe everyone has something valuable to contribute to conservation.

 

Courses

Course List: 

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

BIOL 0308 - Mammalogy      

Mammalogy
Thanks to a rogue asteroid, we now live in the Age of Mammals. Mammals fulfill important ecological roles and have adapted to a wide range of habitats – flying, swimming, and scurrying their way to survival. Mammals are also central to numerous livelihoods and cultural practices. We will use the phylogeny of mammals globally to build expertise with evolutionary concepts. Locally, we will work within Vermont to develop a field-based toolkit for studying wild mammals. Experiential learning opportunities may include preparation of salvaged animals, non-invasive monitoring, engagement with trappers/hunters, and introduction to molecular techniques. (BIOL 140) 3 hrs. lect./3 hrs. lab. SCI

Fall 2021

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BIOL 0392 - 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 2021

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BIOL 0500 - 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 attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. This course is not open to seniors; seniors should enroll in BIOL 0700, Senior Independent Study. (BIOL 0211. Approval required) 3 hrs. disc.

Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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BIOL 0700 - 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 attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. (BIOL 0211. Approval required; open only to seniors) 3 hrs. disc.

Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022

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BIOL 0701 - 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 attendance at all Biology Department seminars and participation in any scheduled meetings with disciplinary sub-groups and lab groups. Open to Biology and joint Biology/Environmental Studies majors. (BIOL 0211 and BIOL 0500 or BIOL 0700 or waiver; instructor approval required for all students) 3 hrs. disc

Fall 2021

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ENVS 0112 - 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 2021

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ENVS 0401 - Community Engaged Practicum      

Community-Engaged Environmental Studies Practicum
In this course students work in small groups with one of a variety of partners and organizations to complete a semester-long, community-engaged project. Project themes vary by term and typically focus on local and regional environmental issues that have broader application. Projects rely on students’ creativity, interdisciplinary perspectives, skills, and knowledge developed through their previous work. The project is guided by a faculty member and carried out with a high degree of independence by the students. Students will prepare for and direct their project work through readings and discussion, independent research, collaboration with project partners, and consultation with external experts. The course may also include workshops focused on developing key skills (e.g., interviewing, public speaking, video editing). The project culminates in a public presentation of students’ final products, which may various forms such as written reports, policy white papers, podcasts, or outreach materials. (Open to Juniors and Seniors) (ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120 or GEOG 0150) 3 hrs. sem./3 hrs. lab

Fall 2021

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ENVS 0500 - 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 2021

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ENVS 0700 - 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) or ENVS 0703 (ES Senior Integrated Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Fall 2021

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ENVS 0701 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Senior standing; ENVS major; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0700; Approval only)

Fall 2021

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Department of Biology

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