First-Year Studies: Urban Ecology


Ecology is a scientific discipline that studies interactions between living organisms and their environment and processes governing how species are distributed, how they interact, and how nutrients and energy cycle through ecosystems. Although we may think of these processes occurring in “natural” areas with little to no human development, all of these processes still take place in environments heavily modified by humans, such as cities. This course will cover fundamental concepts in the discipline of ecology and then further explore how these patterns and processes are altered (sometimes dramatically) in urban environments. We will use examples from our local environment—the New York City metropolitan area—to understand ecological concepts in light of urbanization. Special attention will be paid to the ecology of the Hudson River, including field trips and work involving the Sarah Lawrence Center for the Urban River at Beczak.