Fundamentals of Ecosystem Ecology (FEE)

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is offering a short course on ecosystem ecology during the January intersession (5-16 January 2015). This course is intended to provide a brief intensive introduction to modern ecosystem ecology and is taught by the staff of the Cary Institute, including some of today’s top ecosystem ecologists.

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2015 course.

The FEE class emphasizes critical examination of ideas through lectures, extensive readings, group discussions, and exercises. Students will have the opportunity to interact with each other and with Cary staff outside of the classroom as well. The class size is limited to ~18 students to allow for lively interaction among students and staff.

The syllabus includes:

  • The ecosystem concept: history, approaches, theories, and utility
  • Energetics: primary and secondary production, decomposition, and food webs
  • Biogeochemical cycles at local to global scales, including C, N, and P
  • Current topics in ecosystem ecology (specific topics TBD; examples from recent years include heterogeneity, urban ecology, ecological stoichiometry, use of stable isotopes, response of ecosystems to stress and disturbance, and effects of invasive species)

The course will be held at the Cary Institute’s rural campus in Millbrook, NY. Students should plan to be in residence during the entire course and devote their full time to this course. Comfortable dormitories are available on site. The cost of the class is $1500 per student, which includes course fees, materials, a copy of Fundamentals of Ecosystem Science, and dormitory fees. Students will need to provide their own transportation to and from the Institute and, with the exception of light snacks and coffee which will be available in the classroom each morning, their own meals (kitchens are available in the dormitories).

Students who can demonstrate that they do not have personal or institutional resources to pay FULL TUITION for the course SHOULD CONTACT US. Many universities have money available to help students pay for courses such as this one; the Cary Institute is willing to provide documentation to help applicants apply for such university funds, if necessary.

This course is intended for graduate students in ecology, environmental studies, or related fields. Advanced undergraduates with appropriate background may be admitted if space permits. The course is listed by Rutgers University for 4 semester-hours credit; students may wish to arrange to receive credit for the course through their home universities under “special topics”, “seminar”, or a similar heading.

For further information about the course content or eligibility, contact Dr. Stuart Findlay, For all other information about the course, please contact Ms. Claudia Rosen,

To apply for the course, please complete the online application. Applications for the 2015 class are due by 29 October 2014; admission decisions will be made by 12 November. This popular course often is oversubscribed, so be sure to apply early.

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies | Millbrook, New York 12545 | Tel (845) 677-5343

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