Forest ecosystem dynamics is an upper-level course (juniors, seniors, graduate students) focused on stand-level carbon cycling and forest ecophysiology. In addition to the technical content, the course focuses heavily on improving students' abilities to critically analyze and interpret scientific literature. This is accomplished by spending the semester conducting an extensive review of the literature on topics such as the effects of genetics, nutrition, competition, and silviculture on stand level carbon cycling, biomass partitioning, respiration, and canopy-level photosynthesis. Topics are adjusted each semester to align with research topics of enrolled graduate students and focus on subjects of interest to the class.
In addition to the lecture portion of the course, a field trip gives students experience in various methodologies for quantifying stand level carbon cycling such as infrared gas analyzers and eddy-covariance flux towers.