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Major Environmental Biology (42 credits)

Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences     Degree: Bachelor of Science (Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)

Program Requirements

The Environmental Biology Major is about the biology, diversity, and ecology of a broad range of organisms, from plant and vertebrate animals to insects, fungi, and microbes. This Major places a strong emphasis on the ecosystems that species inhabit and the constraints imposed by the physical environment and by environmental change. Environmental Biology has significant field components worked into the course sets, and through this experiential learning, biological diversity, and the ways that species interact with their physical environment in a variety of ecosystems will be studied. The Major makes full use of the unique physical setting and faculty expertise of McGill's Macdonald campus to train students to become ecologists, taxonomists, field biologists, and ecosystem scientists.

Program Director: Professor Christopher Buddle
Academic Adviser: Dr. Julie Major
Macdonald-Stewart Building, Room 2-082
Telephone: 514-398-8380

Program Prerequisites

Please refer to "Faculty Information and Regulations" > "Minimum Credit Requirements", in this eCalendar for information on prerequisites and minimum credit requirements.

Required Courses (30 credits)

  • AEBI 210 Organisms 1 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Plant Science (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Biology (Agric & Envir Sc) : The biology of plants and plant-based systems in managed and natural terrestrial environments. The interactions between autotrophs and soil organisms and selected groups of animals with close ecological and evolutionary connections with plants (e.g., herbivores and pollinators) will be explored in lecture and laboratory.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Jaswinder Singh (Fall)

    • Restriction(s): Not open to students who have taken PLNT 201 or PLNT 211
    • 2 hour lecture and 3 hour lab
  • AEBI 211 Organisms 2 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Biology (Agric & Envir Sc) : Introduction to the biology, physiology, structure and function of heterotrophs and their interactions with other organisms. This course will focus on animals in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments. Topics include bioenergetics and functional metabolism, adaptations to environments, animal-animal, animal-plant, and animal-pathogen interactions.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: David James Lewis (Winter)

    • Winter
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken WILD 200
  • AEBI 212 Evolution and Phylogeny (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Biology (Agric & Envir Sc) : A phylogenetic-based overview of the tree of life and examination of relationships between major taxa, from bacteria and archaea to eukaryotes. Evolution will be discussed via topics including: evolution by natural selection, neo-Darwinism and alternatives, myths and misconceptions in evolution, species and speciation.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: Terry A Wheeler (Winter)

    • Winter
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken WILD 212.
  • AEHM 205 Science Literacy (3 credits)

    Offered by: Agricultural & Env.Sc.-Dean (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    English (Agric & Envir Sc) : Development of English language and information literacy. Problem-based approach using science topics from specializations offered by the Faculty will be central to skill development. The course includes how to research and compose work in scientific format and will encourage a reader-oriented style.

    Terms: Fall 2013, Winter 2014

    Instructors: Carole Newman, Natalie Heather Waters (Fall) Carole Newman, Natalie Heather Waters (Winter)

    • Students whose first language is not English are encouraged to register for CESL 299, ESL: Academic English Seminar, or equivalent, prior to starting their program.
  • AEMA 310 Statistical Methods 1 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Plant Science (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Mathematics (Agric&Envir Sci) : Measures of central tendency and dispersion; binomial and Poisson distributions; normal, chi-square, Student's t and Fisher-Snedecor F distributions; estimation and hypothesis testing; simple linear regression and correlation; analysis of variance for simple experimental designs.

    Terms: Fall 2013, Winter 2014

    Instructors: Pierre R L Dutilleul, Valérie Gravel (Fall) Pierre R L Dutilleul, Valérie Gravel (Winter)

    • Two 1.5-hour lectures and one 2-hour lab
  • ENVB 210 The Biophysical Environment (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : With reference to the ecosystems in the St Lawrence lowlands, the principles and processes governing climate-landform-water-soil-vegetation systems and their interactions will be examined in lecture and laboratory. Emphasis on the natural environment as an integrated system.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Caroline B Begg (Fall)

    • Fall
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken SOIL 210
  • ENVB 222 St. Lawrence Ecosystems (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Integrative field course about the biological diversity and ecology of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems within St Lawrence lowlands and adjacent realms. Natural history and systematics of regional flora and fauna and interactions between organisms and their physical environment. Fundamentals of ecosystem and landscape ecology.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Christopher Buddle (Fall)

    • Fall
    • This course carries an additional charge of $15.39 to cover the cost of transportation (bus rental) for local field trips. The fee is refundable only during the withdrawal with full refund period.
  • ENVB 410 Ecosystem Ecology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Biotic and abiotic processes that control the flows of energy, nutrients and water through ecosystems; emergent system properties; approaches to analyzing complex systems. Labs include collection and multivariate analysis of field data.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: James W Fyles (Fall)

    • Fall
    • Prerequisites: ENVB 222, AEMA 310 or permission of instructor
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken WOOD 410
    • This course has an additional charge of $15.39 to cover the cost of transportation (bus rental) for local field trips. The fee is refundable only during the withdrawal with full refund period.
  • LSCI 204 Genetics (3 credits)

    Offered by: Plant Science (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Life Sciences : The course integrates classical, molecular and population genetics of animals, plants, bacteria and viruses. The aim is to understand the flow of genetic information within a cell, within families and in populations. Emphasis will be placed on problem solving based learning. The laboratory exercises will emphasize the interpretation of genetic experimental data.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: Jean-Benoit Charron (Winter)

    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken CELL 204.
    • Pre- or Co-requisite: FDSC 211 or LSCI 211
  • LSCI 211 Biochemistry 1 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Parasitology (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Life Sciences : Biochemistry of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids; enzymes and coenzymes. Introduction to intermediary metabolism.

    Terms: Fall 2013, Winter 2014

    Instructors: Armando Jardim, Elias Georges, Timothy Geary (Fall) Armando Jardim, Elias Georges, Reza Salavati (Winter)

    • Co-requisite: FDSC 230
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken FDSC 211

Complementary Courses (12 credits)

12 credits of complementary courses selected from:

  • ENTO 330 Insect Biology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Entomology : Insect structure and function, development and specialization; ecology and behavior; diversity, evolution and classification of insect orders and common families; pest management.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Christopher Buddle (Fall)

    • Fall
    • 2 lectures and one 2-hour lab
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken NRSC 330
  • ENVB 301 Meteorology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : The physical processes underlying weather. Topics include: the atmosphere - its properties (structure and motion), and thermodynamics (stability, heat and moisture); clouds and precipitation; air masses and fronts; mid-latitude weather systems and severe weather.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Ian Brett Strachan (Fall)

    • Fall
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken NRSC 201
  • ENVB 305 Population & Community Ecology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Interactions between organisms and their environment; historical and current perspectives in applied and theoretical population and community ecology. Principles of population dynamics, feedback loops, and population regulation. Development and structure of communities; competition, predation and food web dynamics. Biodiversity science in theory and practice.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: Crystal Ernst (Winter)

    • Winter
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken WILD 205
  • ENVB 313 Phylogeny and Biogeography (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Phylogeny reconstruction; principles of systematics; predictive power of phylogenetic trees; theory and principles of biogeography; historical biogeography of plants and animals; role of abiotic and biotic factors in shaping distributions.

    Terms: This course is not scheduled for the 2013-2014 academic year.

    Instructors: There are no professors associated with this course for the 2013-2014 academic year.

    • Fall
    • Prerequisite: AEBI 212 or WILD 212
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken WILD 313
  • ENVB 315 Science of Inland Waters (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Nature and history of limnology; divisions of inland waters; properties of fresh water; habitats; zones; nutrient cycles; biota; adaptations; seasonal variation; distributions; pollution; succession and evolution of fresh water environments. Includes field excursions.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: David James Lewis (Fall)

    • Fall
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken NRSC 315.
  • ENVB 430 GIS for Natural Resource Management (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis techniques to the presentation and analysis of ecological information, including sources and capture of spatial data; characterizing, transforming, displaying spatial data; and spatial analysis to solve resource management problems.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Jeffrey Cardille (Fall)

    • Fall
    • Prerequisites: At least one environmental science course and one ecology course or permission of instructor
    • Restrictions: U2 students and above. Not open to students who have taken GEOG 201, 306 or 307 or BREE/ABEN 430 or NRSC 430. Limited to 32 students.
  • ENVB 437 Assessing Environmental Impact (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Theories and procedures of assessing environmental impact. An examination of the environmental impact of existing programs and projects to examine their accuracy in predicting consequences and attenuating undesirable effects.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: There are no professors associated with this course for the 2013-2014 academic year.

    • Winter
    • 2 lectures
    • Restrictions: U2 students and above. Not open to students who have taken WILD 437 or NRSC 437.
  • ENVB 497 Research Project 1 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Independent research project in consultation with a faculty supervisor. Selection of a research problem, formulation of hypotheses and objectives, research design, comprehensive literature review, commence data collection.

    Terms: Fall 2013, Winter 2014

    Instructors: James W Fyles (Fall) James W Fyles (Winter)

    • Fall and Winter
    • Restriction: Only open to U2 and above, not open to students who have taken NRSC 496 D,N or NRSC 497 D,N or NRSC 497.
  • ENVB 498 Research Project 2 (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : Continuation of the independent research project begun in ENVB 497. Data collection and analysis, testing of hypotheses, discussion of results.

    Terms: Fall 2013, Winter 2014

    Instructors: James W Fyles (Fall) James W Fyles (Winter)

    • Fall and Winter
    • Restriction: Open only to U2 and above,not open to students who have taken NRSC 496 D,N or NRSC 497 D,N or NRSC 498.
  • ENVB 506 Quantitative Methods: Ecology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Environmental Biology : The process of formulating models of natural systems and confronting them with data, along with the necessary statistical computing skills. Emphasis on hands-on experience with current approaches for building, fitting, and comparing models.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: Christopher Solomon (Winter)

    • Winter
    • Prerequisites: AEMA 310 and ENVB 305; or graduate student status; or permission of instructor
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken AEMA 306 or AEMA 406.
  • ENVR 203 Knowledge, Ethics and Environment (3 credits)

    Offered by: McGill School of Environment (School of Environment)

    Administered by: Faculty of Science

    Overview

    Environment : Introduction to cultural perspectives on the environment: the influence of culture and cognition on perceptions of the natural world; conflicts in orders of knowledge (models, taxonomies, paradigms, theories, cosmologies), ethics (moral values, frameworks, dilemmas), and law (formal and customary, rights and obligations) regarding political dimensions of critical environments, resource use, and technologies.

    Terms: Fall 2013, Winter 2014

    Instructors: David Goodin, Julia Freeman (Fall) Jaye Dana Ellis (Winter)

    • Fall - Macdonald Campus; Winter - Downtown
    • Section 001: Downtown Campus
    • Section 051: Macdonald Campus
  • LSCI 230 Introductory Microbiology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Life Sciences : The occurrence and importance of microorganisms (especially bacteria) in the biosphere. Principles governing growth, death and metabolic activities of microorganisms. An introduction to the microbiology of soil, water, plants, food, man and animals.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: Sebastien Faucher (Winter)

    • Winter
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken MICR 230.
  • MICR 331 Microbial Ecology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Microbiology (Agric&Envir Sc) : The ecology of microorganisms, primarily bacteria and archaea, and their roles in biogeochemical cycles will be discussed. Microbial interactions with the environment, plants, animals and other microbes emphasizing the underlying genetics and physiology. Diversity, evolution (microbial phylogenetics) and the application of molecular biology in microbial ecology.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: Brian T Driscoll (Winter)

    • Winter
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have successfully completed NRSC 331
  • PLNT 304 Biology of Fungi (3 credits)

    Offered by: Plant Science (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Plant Science : This course describes the various groups of fungi and explores in depth their biology and physiology, their ecological niches and the role in various ecosystems and their benefits and uses in industry and biotechnology.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: Suha Jabaji (Winter)

    • 3 lectures and one 3-hour lab
  • PLNT 358 Flowering Plant Diversity (3 credits)

    Offered by: Plant Science (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Plant Science : Principles of classification and identification of flowering plants and ferns, with emphasis on 35 major families of flowering plants and the habitats in which they grow.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Marcia J Waterway (Fall)

    • 2 lectures, one 3-hour lab, plus a 4-day field week held the week preceding the start of classes
    • Prerequisite: PLNT 201 or AEBI 210 or ENVR 202 or permission of instructor
    • A $51.30 fee is charged to all students registered in this course, which has a fieldwork component prior to the beginning of classes in August. This fee is used to support the cost of excursions, a hand lens, instructional handouts and identification aids. Students who have already received a hand lens may request a reimbursement of a portion of this charge through their department.
  • PLNT 460 Plant Ecology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Plant Science (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Plant Science : Theory and practice of plant ecology with an emphasis on the interaction between patterns and ecological processes and the dynamics, conservation and management of plant populations and communities over a range of temporal and spatial scales.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Sylvie de Blois (Fall)

    • 3 lectures and one 3-hour lab
    • Prerequisite: AEMA 310 or permission of instructor.
    • This course carries an additional charge of $25.65 to cover the cost of transportation (bus rental) for local field trips. The fee is refundable only during the withdrawal with full refund period.
  • SOIL 300 Geosystems (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Soil Science : Interactions between Earth's various geologic systems and how these interactions lead to mineral and rock formation. Geomorphic processes and how various landforms are created by the interactions at the Earth's surface between the various geologic systems.

    Terms: Winter 2014

    Instructors: George McCourt (Winter)

    • Winter
    • Restrictions: Not open to students who have taken SOIL 200. Restricted to U2 students and above.
  • SOIL 326 Soils in a Changing Environment (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Soil Science : Soil processes responsible for soil formation will be studied and the impact of changes to the physical and chemical environment will be discussed.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: William H Hendershot (Fall)

    • Fall
    • 3 lectures and one 3-hour lab
    • Prerequisite: A previous course in soil science, geography, geology or permission of instructor.
  • WILD 302 Fish Ecology (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Resource Development : Introduction to the biology and ecology of freshwater and marine fishes. Topics include taxonomy, physiology, biogeography, competition, predation, fishing, and conservation. Lab exercises and field trips emphasize familiarity with local fishes and their ecological interactions.

    Terms: This course is not scheduled for the 2013-2014 academic year.

    Instructors: There are no professors associated with this course for the 2013-2014 academic year.

    • Prerequisite: AEBI 211 or permission of instructor
    • This course carries an additional charge of $30 to cover the cost of transportation (bus rental) for local field trips. The fee is only refundable prior to the deadline to withdraw with full refund.
  • WILD 307 Natural History of Vertebrates (3 credits)

    Offered by: Natural Resource Sciences (Agricultural & Environmental Sciences)

    Overview

    Resource Development : Review of higher taxonomic groups of vertebrates and prochordates, emphasizing diagnostic characters evolution and distribution.

    Terms: Fall 2013

    Instructors: Murray Mitchell Humphries (Fall)

    • Fall
    • Lectures and modules
    • Restriction: Not open to students who have taken ZOOL 307
    • This course carries an additional charge of $15.39 to cover the cost of transportation (bus rental) for local field trips. The fee is refundable only during the withdrawal with full refund period.

Specialization

At least one specialization of 18-24 credits.

Specializations designed to be taken with the Environmental Biology Major:

- Applied Ecology
- Plant Biology
- Wildlife Biology

Note: For a complete list of specializations offered for students in the Bachelor of Science in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, refer to "Academic Programs" > "Bachelor of Science (Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) - B.Sc.(Ag.Env.Sc.)" > "Specializations", in this eCalendar. Consult the Academic Adviser for approval of specializations other than those listed above.

Electives

To meet the minimum credit requirement for the degree.

Faculty of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences—2013-2014 (last updated Aug. 21, 2013) (disclaimer)