2018 Global Environmental System and Ecosystem Dynamics

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Global Engineering for Development, Environment and Society
Nakamura Takashi 
Course component(s)
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon7-8(W935)  Thr7-8(W935)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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Course description and aims

In order to understand recent global climate change and associated ecosystem changes, and to predict the future, it is necessary to understand the climate change history and the global environmental system. Ecosystems respond to environmental conditions. On the other hand, we need to understand that environment can also be affected by ecosystems. Therefore the interaction between environment and ecosystems is also an important factor for environmental system. In this course, historical changes of past-present-future climate and driving forces in each time scale are reviewed, and some monitoring and estimation techniques for past and present environmental parameters are explained.
The aims of this course are (1) to understand past-present-future history of climate change, its driving force and an overview of global environmental system, (2) to understand ecosystem dynamics under various environmental conditions and environment-ecosystem interactions, (3) to acquire modeling skills for ecosystem phenomena and mechanisms, and (4) to acquire basic skills for numerical simulation of the model.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this class, students will be able to:
(1) understand past-present history and future of climate change, its driving forces and an overview of the global environmental system,
(2) understand ecosystem dynamics under various environmental conditions and environment-ecosystem interactions,
(3) acquire modeling skills for ecosystem phenomena and mechanisms,
(4) acquire basic skills for numerical simulation of the model.


ecosystem, global environmental system, material cycle, modeling, numerical simulation

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
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Class flow

For the first half part of this course, lectures about various topics are scheduled. For the second half, a mixed style of practices of MATLAB programming and lectures are scheduled.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction, Progressing climate changes Understand overview of the situation about present climate change, the social-system and ecosystem.
Class 2 Material cycle and ecosystem Understand material cycle and roles of organisms in ecosystems.
Class 3 Technology of environmental monitoring Understand various types of environmental monitoring systems, their results and issues.
Class 4 Methods for estimating paleo-environmental parameters Understand various methods for estimating paleo-environmental parameters.
Class 5 Paleo-climate change and its driving forces Understand paleoclimate change in geological time scales and its driving forces.
Class 6 Projection of future climate changes Understand projection of future climate change by IPCC report and others.understanding ecosystem.
Class 7 Introduction to mathematical ecology and ecosystem modeling Introduce basics of mathematical ecology, and explain basic equation for expressing an ecosystem.
Class 8 Modeling coral reef ecosystem (1): metabolisms and processes of material cycle Understand modeling of coral reef ecosystem especially focused on coral metabolism and material cycles, and learn its application.
Class 9 Modeling coral reef ecosystem (2): population dynamics Understand population dynamics modeling of coral communities, and learn its application.
Class 10 Basics of programming and numerical simulation Acquire basics of MATLAB programming and numerical simulation.
Class 11 Numerical simulation for partial differential equation models Acquire basic skills for numerical simulation of 1D and 2D diffusion equation and visualization of the results.
Class 12 Self-organization phenomena in reaction–diffusion systems Understand self-organization phenomena in reaction–diffusion systems based on interactions between environments and organisms and resultant complex spatio-temporal patterns.
Class 13 Numerical simulation of reaction-diffusion system Acquire reaction-diffusion system modeling, its numerical simulation and visualization of the results.
Class 14 Acquisition and application of global reanalysis products Acquire the skills for downloading data of reanalysis products by global ocean model, and analyze the data.
Class 15 Global environments and ecosystems Consider relationship between historical environmental parameters obtained from global reanalysis products and historical records of ecosystem responses.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

Handout will be distributed before the beginning of class via OCW-i.

Assessment criteria and methods

Learning achievement is evaluated by combining results from quizzes/short reports in every class (60 %) and homework (30 %), and report (10 %).

Related courses

  • GEG.E511 : Socio-ecological systems in changing global and local environments
  • TSE.A312 : Introduction to global and local ecology
  • TSE.A206 : Biological engineering
  • CVE.B310 : Coastal Engineering and Oceanography
  • CVE.M301 : Computers and Fundamental Programming

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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