John McCarty - Teaching Interests

I teach a variety of courses in Biology and Environemntal Studies. Depending on the year and semester I might be teaching non-majors environmental science, introductory biology for majors, and advanced ornithology course, or a lab in geographic information systems (GIS) and related technologies.

Environmental Studies/Biology 4610 - Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

Most fall semesters I teach Environmental Monitoring and Assessment (formally Environmental Field Methods - cross listed as BIOL/ENVN/GEOL/GEOG 4610). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment is the capstone course for seniors in Environmental Studies but if I have room I welcome students from related majors. The course provides an overview of how decisions are made about the environment and introduces tools that environmental scientists use to help insure those decions are informed by the best available information. A major component of the course is an investigation of some of the common tools used to integrate the environmental sciences into decision making. The course is organized around a series of group projects where students work in teams to design an environmental monitoring scheme, evaluate an environmental document, and write an Environmental Assessment following NEPA guidelines. Along the way students gain practice writing grant proposals and reports, and giving professional presentations.

Biology 1330 - Environmental Biology

Environmental Biology (BIOL 1330) is an introductory level course the covers the relationships between living organisms - plants and animals (including humans) - and the environment around them. Environmental Biology starts out with an introduction to the science of ecology. Ecology provides the rigorous, scientific framework for examining the interactions between organisms and their environment. The second half of the course looks at how we make decisions about how we interact with our environment. This includes integrating political, economic, and social factors with the science of ecology. The course concludes by looking at important current issues in the environmental science and how decisions are being made to address these issues. Biology 1330 is part of the core curriculum for Environmental Studies majors and is also taken by non-majors interested in the environment.

Biology 4980 - 8986 Ornithology

Ornithology is the scientific study of birds and their biology. I usually teach this course in alternate springs. My goal is to provide an overview of the field of ornithology. With the information we cover in lecture, a student who completes this class should be able to attend a meeting of the American Ornithologists' Union and understand the research being described and where that research fits in to the body of scientific knowledge we call ornithology. While we will discuss all aspects of avian biology, these discussions will take place in the context of the evolution, ecology and conservation of birds. Ornithology also includes a lab (with a scheduled starting time of 7:00 AM that scares away all but the most dedicated field biology students!). The first few weeks of lab are indoors and focus on the general anatomy of birds, identification of major orders and families, and exploration of the use of vocalizations in avian communication. (The good news is these labs usually start a bit later than the 7:00 AM advertised). Once the weather warms up and spring migration begins labs head outside. We work to teach you how to identify the common birds of Nebraska and in the process to develop the skills needed to identify birds anywhere in the world. By the end of the semester most students recognize that getting up early in the morning is a small price to pay for the fun and excitement of seeing new birds!

Environmental Studies/Biology 4600 and Biology 8606 - GIS Applications for Environmental Science

This is a lab based course for advanced undergraduates and graduate students intended as an introduction to the use of geographic information systems (GIS) and related tools in the fields of environmental science, ecology, and natural resource management. The course emphasizes obtaining a working knowledge of the common software and hardware tools used by ecologists and environmental scientists through hands-on projects.

Environmental Studies 2010 - Environmental Problems and Solutions

In most years I participate in the environmental seminar ENVN 2010 - Environmental Problems and Solutions. We designed this course as a way to bring together students interested in environmental topics early in the careers at UNO and to provide a forumn for discussing environmental topics and as a way of meeting environmental professions from UNO and the surround community. Each semester we invite a series of guests speakers to visit and discuss topics identified by students as being of particular interest. This seminar is required for students in the Environmental Studies Program but we encourage any student interested in environmental topics to participate.

Environmental Studies/Biology 4800 - Internships in Environmental Studies

One graduation requirement for a degree in Environmental Studies ­ Life Sciences is completion of an internship. This is usually done in the Junior or Senior year and can be designed to mesh with a student's specific interests. While intended for Environmental Studies majors, students in other majors interested in exploring careers in environmental science and related fields may enroll in this course to receive credit for internship experience. I especially encourage students working towards a minor in Environmental Studies and Biology majors interested in ecology or field biology to seek out the hands-on experience provided by an internship.

Biology 1750 - Biology II

BIOL 1750 is the second semester of a two semester introductory biology course for majors in biology and related fields. When my schedule permits, I particpate in teaching either the lecture or lab portion of this course. The main topics covered include evolutionary biology (emphasizing natural selection), an overview of the diversity, form, and function of major groups of plants and animals, and an introduction to ecology and conservation.