I’m really excited about one of my new classes this semester. NRE 639-039, Don Zak’s ecology seminar, entitled “Biodiversity & Ecosystem Function: Are There Any Links?”. After having taken a rather more technical course last term on measuring and storing data on biodiversity and ecosystem informatics, I was left asking myself over and over if biodiversity was really a monolithic good and if for instance, there were any links between biodiversity and ecosystem function. I’ve become an evangelist of function and raw physical mechanism as a relevant focus for ecosystem study, especially as opposed to our Victorian-artifact fetish with whatever species are.
So oh boy this otta be a good course, the kind of course you say, carve out a chunk of your life to go to graduate school for. Dr. Zak is consistently rated by his students as a great instructor, just as an added enticement. He’s asking for a weekly “insightful analysis” response one-pager to one of the papers we read. Putting the adjective “insightful” in the title of the assingment seems optimistic, but opt ism is good and I’m sure we’ll all do what we can. I’m inclined to treat them as a sot of blog thing. So I’m going to post them to my blog, natch. The first one is the next entry. Yay!