Biology 1 |
Design and Technology |
Chemistry 1 |
Physics 1 |
The Research Labs |
TJ Star 2012 |
The course where it all comes together:
Geosystems is the study of the earth’s many interfaces between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, rock structures, and biosphere that includes both internal energy sources and external energy from the sun that drive the varying changes on our planet. The course requires a prior knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics and is highly quantitative. All students will encounter problems that will exercise their math skills up through calculus and opportunities arise for the application of multivariable calculus and differential equations for those students so prepared.
Students will examine three major problems: the evidence for the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, ozone depletion, and loss of biodiversity. Students will undertake these studies by investigating the historical context of past ice ages, periods of no annually continuous earth ice, isotopic evidence from gases, fossils, ecosystem adaptation and revegetation following glacial retreat. Three paradoxes are studied: faint young sun, the Pleistocene interglacial period of 120,000 year ago when sea levels were 30 meters higher but carbon dioxide levels were less than that of today, and how the salt marshes are the least biologically diverse of all ecosystems yet the most productive in the sequestration of carbon.
Via the Stella application, students will be introduced to computer modeling and will undertake the mathematical analysis of the Gaia hypothesis in its dynamic form. The effect of perturbations to the system will also be modeled.