Tropical Ecology

Description: Lecture, one hour; discussion, two hours. Requisite: Life Sciences 1 or 7B. Broad introduction to biodiversity, community structure, and dynamics and ecosystem function of range of tropical forest habitats. Discussion of such themes as biogeography, forest structure, plant growth forms, animal communities, herbivory, forest dynamics, and disturbance regimes. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 4.0
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Overall Rating 2.8
Easiness 1.2/ 5
Clarity 3.0/ 5
Workload 1.4/ 5
Helpfulness 2.8/ 5
Overall Rating 3.8
Easiness 3.2/ 5
Clarity 4.6/ 5
Workload 2.6/ 5
Helpfulness 4.2/ 5
Most Helpful Review
Winter 2017 - Honestly, I would not recommend this class - for the amount of work you do, it does not pay off well. I was fooled by the Winter 2016 distribution - it is inaccurate for Winter 2017. The class average was an 86% and she curved down to an 82%, which drags the A- to a flat B due to her grading scheme (see later). Gorlitsky is an organized, compelling, engaging lecturer who integrates videos well into lectures - she just severely lacks in understanding that students are not only taking her class and she overloads not only the students but her 2 TA's for a class size of around 50-80 students. My TA was fairly sleep-deprived just from grading all the assignments due every week. The class was at 8 - 9:15AM and she expects attendance every lecture by having random participation checks (not designed as pop quizzes, but you need to submit some sort of response to a question from class). This class is structured so that there are no +/- grades (ie a B+ is a B and an A- is an A) In the end her grading scheme was A, A-, B, B-, C, C-. Each week for discussion you are required to read research papers for ecology and write a 1 page single spaced critique/review on the paper and participate during discussion. Keep in mind that these critiques are due even on the same day as the other projects. Furthermore you have one 4-5 page double spaced literature review on a tropical ecology subject of your choice and a following 2-3 page research proposal based on your literature review - none of which we received the grades for (thus, we had to go into our research proposal blind and the final). There is also one midterm and one final and an "optional" extra credit project. In addition to studying for the detailed lecture slides for the exams, you were required to read several chapters from a book as well, as there is always a question on the exam regarding several chapters of the book. At the end of week 9, she dropped an extra 2 page paper on different tropical forests for a group project. Thus, during week 10, we had the group paper, the research proposal, and the extra credit due in class on the same day. She graded the midterm so harshly (class average was a C) that the "optional" extra credit was mandatory in order to salvage your grade. On top of that, she curved DOWN the overall class average by 4%. While this class is honestly very interesting and I understand the professor means well to have us do different activities (ie research proposal, literature reviews), it is excessive to the point where it draws away from study time from the lecture material itself and is killing her TA's (who themselves still have other classes).
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