Climate and Biodiversity

Module 2 courses will not meet the week of spring break,
March 18th – 22nd; note course dates.

Instructor: Dr. Shahid Naeem

Fulfills requirement: Case Study (CS)
Day: Wednesday
Dates: Feb. 27, March 6, 13, 27, April 3 (Module 2, 5 sessions)
Time: 6:10 – 8:10 PM
Room location: TBD
Course number: ENVB 0423 N

Course Description

Life on Earth is often perceived as a passive player in world events, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Earth’s climate, for example, has been strongly regulated by life for over 3.5 billion years, and its current change is as much a function of life on Earth as is it is of greenhouse gas emissions. This course explores the biosphere from a unique perspective, one in which climate is understood as a function of plants, animals, and microorganisms. It goes beyond the conservation problems of mass extinction (e.g., the loss of polar bears and penguins) and shifting biogeography (e.g., the northern migration of species on a warmer planet) and considers how biodiversity conservation is also critical to managing and adapting to climate change.

About the Instructor

Dr. Shahid Naeem is the Director of The Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability (EICES). Naeem studies the ecological and environmental consequences of biodiversity loss. He is interested in how changes in the distribution and abundance of plants, animals, and microorganisms affect ecosystem functions and, by extension, how ecosystem services are affected. He is actively involved in bringing the science of biodiversity and ecosystem function to conservation, restoration, and policy development. He is author, co-author and editor of over 100 scientific publications and co-chaired the UN Millennium Assessment’s Biodiversity Synthesis Report published in 2005. Naeem is also a professor of ecology in Columbia University’s Department of Evolution, Ecology and Environmental Biology (E3B). He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley; was a postdoctoral fellow at Imperial College of London, the University of Copenhagen and the University of Michigan; and served on the faculties of the University of Washington and the University of Minnesota before coming to Columbia in 2003.