Disturbance Ecology

Subject code


Course Number



C. Aoki

Course Long Title

Disturbance Ecology

Cross Listed Courses


Many ecosystems have a long evolutionary history of being adapted to natural disturbances such as wildfire, insect outbreaks, and drought. These disturbance processes are required for such systems to persist. On the other hand, anthropogenic disturbances—nuclear disasters, invasive species, oil spills—can have profound effects on systems that are not evolutionarily prepared for them. In this course students examine the effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on ecological systems and discuss whether climate change is increasing disturbance severity. Students are introduced to concepts of disturbance probability and risk, and the complexities of conveying this information to the general public. Prerequisite(s): one of the following: BI/ES 246, 271; BIO 113, 128, 133, 206, 221, 270; ENVR 203, 221, 240, or 310. Open to juniors and seniors.

Writing Credit


INDS Program Relationship

IDES - ENVR Program

Class Restriction

Exclude First Years, Exclude Sophomores