Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

New article in Science provides a comprehensive overview and update on Yellowstone National Park

Posted 24 Apr 2015 / 0

Since I began teaching Ecology at Pratt, I have used the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone as the cornerstone case study of my community ecology lessons. Using material originally developed by my colleague Damon Chaky for the Ecology for Architects course, I ask my students to use ecological theory to explain some of the changes that Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Interactions, Keystone Species, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Predation, Public Policy

My ecological footprint for 2014-2015

Posted 06 Apr 2015 / 0

Every year in my ecology courses I have my students complete an ecological footprint analysis of their own lifestyle and the lifestyle of an older relative. I have been asking my students to do these for each of the eight years that I have taught at Pratt Institute, so I have accumulated a lot of Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Biomes, Ecological Footprinting, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Food, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Quantitative Analysis, Resource Consumption, Sustainability

Eco-mysticism in the Ecology Classroom, Discontinuity in Evolutionary Theory

Posted 17 Sep 2011 / 0

After many semesters teaching an introductory Ecology course to non-majors, I have gotten a pretty good sense of the misconceptions that they bring to the subject. Most students receive little or no high school education in ecology: the majority of secondary school biology curricula are still predominantly organismal in their approach, with ecology and maybe Read More

Ecology Education, Evolution, MSCI-270, Ecology, System Stability, Teaching

Online tools for teaching the basics of population growth

Posted 08 Sep 2011 / 5

WARNING: Unfortunately, the applets that I discuss below (“Otherwise”) no longer meet Java security specifications. As a result, they won’t work on computers with the most updated version of Java. Please see the other tools listed in the Comments section below as alternatives. I am still searching for the perfect user-friendly package to teach about Read More

Carrying Capacity, Ecological Modeling, Educational Software and Apps, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-270, Ecology, Population Growth, Teaching Tools

Using Ecological Footprints to Teach Sustainability

Posted 27 Nov 2010 / 1

Technically- and traditionally-speaking, an ecology course should not really deal too much with policy. A strict definition of ecology should limit the topic to the study of the interaction between organisms and their environment, and for decades now that has meant looking at how non-human animals and other organisms constitute ecosystems. Discussions of policy, economics, Read More

Anthropogenic Change, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Ecological Footprinting, Ecology Education, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Ethics, MSCI-270, Ecology, Pollution, Public Policy, Quantitative Analysis, Sustainability, Teaching Tools, Web

National Geographic “Wolf Wars”

Posted 28 Sep 2010 / 0

In the March 2010 issue of National Geographic there’s an excellent article on the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park entitled “Wolf Wars”. I was excited to discover it because I use the example of how wolves were brought back to Yellowstone as a way of discussing various issues in population and community ecology Read More

Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Conservation Biology, Ecology Education, Grasslands, MSCI-270, Ecology, Reviews, Temperate Forest

Sourcing sources of selection

Posted 25 Sep 2010 / 1

One of the most difficult challenges that my non-major students face is gaining access to the scientific process. Although almost all of my students have been given some version of the “scientific method”, very few of them have any real sense of how to go about assessing the validity of claims that “sound scientific”. Of Read More

Adaptation, Coevolution, Ecology Education, Evolution Education, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-270, Ecology, Teaching

Understanding biome-level response to climate change

Posted 19 May 2010 / 0

This month’s Scientific American contains a great article (“Arctic Plants Feel the Heat“) on how scientists are documenting climate change in the Arctic. Focusing on the two dominant biomes of this region, the tundra and the taiga, author Matthew Sturm explains how three sources of data are allowing us to see recent changes linked to Read More

A Major Post, Articles, Climate Change, Data Limitation, Long Term Ecological Research, MSCI-270, Ecology, Phenotypic Plasticity, Taiga (Boreal Forest), Tundra