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    Environmental Science Systems

    Environmental Science Systems
    Welcome to Environmental Science Systems

    The Environmental Science Systems major, administered through the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, emphasizes a multidisciplinary, or systems, approach to global ecosystems and environmental issues.  Students must recognize that Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere operate in complexly linked systems in which various components are exchanged over greatly varying time scales. Only through investigation and working toward a fuller awareness of these interactions can scientists hope to achieve an understanding of the causes and dimensions of global change, both natural and anthropogenic.

    The major in Environmental Science Systems can be completed without a concentration, or with one of two pre-engineering concentrations: environmental engineering and environmental engineering sciences. These concentrations are designed to prepare students for graduate study in environmental engineering and differ in the math and major elective requirements. Both concentrations involve coursework taken at the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University. Direct admission to the graduate program at the the College of Engineering and Computer Science is possible if GPA requirements are met.

    Students have the opportunity to gain field research experience in their very first year through the introductory courses that travel to Arizona or Costa Rica. Additional field and/or laboratory experiences are acquired through conducting independent research projects on such topics as soil composition and structure, carbon cycling, ecological effects of climate change, or forest succession. The laboratory facilities at Le Moyne feature modern instruments, including advanced optical and electron microscopes, an X-ray diffractometer and a carbon/nitrogen analyzer for soils and rocks. These facilities are open to student use, both in laboratory courses and independent research projects. Faculty members in natural systems, biology and chemistry serve as mentors for majors conducting their research projects. In addition, students are encouraged to seek internships with local environmental and biotech companies.

    Environmental Science Systems Courses and Requirements

    If you would like to learn more about courses, requirements, and opportunities for the Environmental Science Systems major or minor, please see the Le Moyne College catalog.

    Mission Statement

    For students majoring in environmental fields, we provide the core sciences that demonstrate the essential linkages between the Earth’s systems that control the environment. Students majoring in environmental science systems (ESS) receive a rigorous scientific training that prepares them for work in industry or graduate study. Those majoring in environmental studies (ENS) undertake extensive studies in government, policy and economics in preparation for study or employment in these fields.

    For students who major in something other than the natural sciences, we provide a discussion of how science works while attempting to capture the excitement that comes from answering a question that was previously unanswered. Specifically, we seek to use environmental science as an example of how science may provide some of the understanding necessary to deal with the present and future social and cultural problems facing human societies.

    Student Learning Goals

    Students who graduate with a degree in environmental science systems will:

    • Learn the fundamental connections between all of the Earth’s systems.
    • Develop an understanding of and appreciation for the diversity of life on Earth.
    • Develop the ability to investigate environmental problems.
    • Come to understand the relationship between the natural environment and human society.

    Meet the Faculty

    The Environmental Science Systems program is administered through the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, but it is interdisciplinary and courses are taught by faculty in many departments.

    Larry Tanner

    Dr. Lawrence Tanner

    Professor & Program Director View Bio
    Hilary McManus, Ph.D.

    Dr. Hilary McManus

    Associate Professor, Biological Sciences View Bio
    Sherilyn Smith, Ph.D.

    Dr. Sherilyn Smith

    Associate Professor, Biological Sciences View Bio

    Our Next Natural Science Seminar

    Upcoming Seminars
    Friday, December 2

    Shannon Boehmer, '17, Le Moyne College
    "The Biodiversity of a Costa Rican Rain Forest and the Distribution of Amphibians in a Costa Rican Cloud Forest"
    Caleb Larnerd, '17, Le Moyne College
    "A Voyage Around the World"

    Science Center Addition, Room 100, 3:30-4:30pm

    Click here for the full schedule of Fall 2016 Natural Science seminars.

    Natural Science Seminar Series

    Presentations by invited guests and Le Moyne faculty and students

    Join us to learn about the active science research programs at Le Moyne and beyond. Speakers include Le Moyne faculty members and students, as well as researchers and scientists from other colleges and universities and the private sector.

    Sponsored by the natural science departments. For more information, contact Dr. Emily Ledgerwood.
    Seminars are held on Friday afternoons in the Science Center Addition, Room 100, 3:30-4:30pm

    Friday, September 16

    Ronald Calvo, Naturalist and Adventure Tour Guide, Coasts and Mountain Adventures
    "Geological Evolution and Biodiversity of Costa Rica"

    Friday, September 23

    Tim Coles, Ph.D., Project Director and Founder, Operation Wallacea
    “Quantifying Biodiversity in Tropical Rainforests and Reefs- How Can I Help?”

    Friday, October 7

    Faculty Members, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
    "Travel Courses in Biological and Environmental Sciences: Upcoming Experiential Learning Opportunities Around the World”

    Friday, October 14

    Brian Wilson, '17, Le Moyne College
    "In Situ Crystallography: Growing X-Ray Quality Crystals"
    James Gayvert, '17, Le Moyne College
    "Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Polymer Solutions in an Explicit Solvent"

    Friday, October 21

    L. Jamie Lamit, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Michigan Technological University
    "What's hidden in the bog?: Uncovering microbial diversity in the world's peatlands through high-throughput DNA sequencing"

    Friday, October 28

    Thaddeus Sim, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Business Analytics, Le Moyne College
    "Nature Inspired Techniques for Solving Business and Societal Problems"

    Friday, November 4

    Caitlin Miller, Visiting Assistant Professor, Le  Moyne College and Research Scientist, AptaMatrix, Inc
    "Acyclic Identification of Aptamers"

    Friday, November 11

    George V. Coyne, S.J., McDevitt Chair of Physics, Le Moyne College
    "Gravitational Waves and Einstein's Curves"

    Friday, November 18

    Gianno Pannafino, '17, Le Moyne College
    "Making the insoluble soluble: An In solico Guided Solubility Screen for RNA Polymerase I subunit AC40"
    Lee Bauter, '17, Le Moyne College
    "An investigation of double strand breaks caused by drug-induced transcription"

    Friday, December 2

    Shannon Boehmer, '17, Le Moyne College
    "The Biodiversity of a Costa Rican Rain Forest and the Distribution of Amphibians in a Costa Rican Cloud Forest"
    Caleb Larnerd, '17, Le Moyne College
    "A Voyage Around the World"

    Friday, December 9

    Student Research Presentations

    Global Ecosystems: Costa Rica

    Global Ecosystems: Costa Rica

    Understanding the function of ecosystems around the world, particularly those that exist within a sensitive climatic balance, is important for all students. This introductory course offers students the opportunity to study the fundamentals of evolution, ecology and earth science culminating in a two-week field experience in Costa Rica. Students will explore floral and faunal diversity, high-altitude (cloud) and low-altitude (rain) forests, highland and lowland soils, the types and effects of volcanic activity in an active volcanic arc, and the operation of coastal processes on a geologically young coastline.
    Avalanche at Arenal Volcano Spider Monkey near EARTH University

    Global Ecosystems: North America

    Global Ecosystems: North America

    This intro-level field course offers students the opportunity to study the fundamentals of ecosystem and earth science, with specific reference to North America. This study involves comparison of the Adirondacks and low and high-altitude deserts of Arizona. Field-based learning activities examine the geological and ecological processes that determine the structure and function of these two systems.

    Earth's Global Environment: Iceland


    Understanding Earth’s ecological environment requires study of the delicate balance between geological, biological, climatologic and anthropogenic processes. This introductory course offers students the opportunity to study these fundamental processes in Iceland, a country where the fragile nature of this environment, and the processes that shape it, are readily observed.
    Ecological research at the Skaftafell National Park 

    Earth's Global Environment: Galapagos

    Earth's Global Environment: Galapagos

    This introductory course offers you the opportunity to study the delicate balance between geological, biological, climatologic and anthropogenic processes in shaping the Earth environment and controlling the process of evolution. The Galapagos are a unique locale where the fragile nature of the environment, the processes that shape it, and the unique nature of its inhabitants are readily observed. Additionally, the historic significance of this locale in the development of one of the most fundamental of all scientific theories will be explored fully.

    Get Involved on Campus


    Le Moyne is proud to host a chapter of Friends of Recreation, Conservation and Environmental Stewardship (FORCES). This organization participates in conservation work, including invasive species control, in local state parks as well as environmental educational outreach programs at local schools. Membership is open to all members of the Le Moyne College community.

    Pi Epsilon

    Pi Epsilon promotes the study of environmental sciences through recognition of exemplary scholarly and professional activity at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Environmental science is understood to be the study of our environment and all stressors acting on it: chemical, physical, and biological. The Society seeks to promote interdisciplinary studies and foster interactions between industry and academia to further the study of environmental science. Le Moyne hosts a local chapter of Pi Epsilon; the national headquarters is at Wright State University.

    Biology Club

    The Biology Club is an organization whose purposes are to promote student interest and participation in the life sciences and to provide a social venue through which students may explore shared interests and make new acquaintances. The Biology Club sponsors a variety of events and activities throughout the year and helps freshman biology students adjust to college life.

    Student Environmental Coalition

    The purpose of the Coalition is to foster an appreciation of the outdoors and an awareness of environmental problems through a variety of outdoor activities and environmentally concerned events. Participation in outdoor events is stressed. Membership is open to all members of the Le Moyne College community.

    Outing Club

    Through outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, caving and canoeing, the Le Moyne College Outing Club promotes community building, personal development, and appreciation for the outdoors.

    Beta Beta Beta

    The Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society is a society for students, particularly undergraduates. It seeks to encourage scholarly attainment in this field of learning by reserving its active membership for those who achieve superior academic records and who indicate special aptitude for and major interest in the life sciences. It desires to cultivate intellectual interest in the natural sciences and to promote a better appreciation of the value of biological study. It thus welcomes into associate membership other students who are interested in biology. Beta Beta Beta also endeavors to extend the boundaries of human knowledge of nature by encouraging new discoveries through scientific investigation and to this end encourages undergraduate students to begin research work and report their findings in the society’s journal, BIOS. It emphasizes, therefore, a three-fold program: stimulation of scholarship, dissemination of scientific knowledge and promotion of biological research.

    Get in Touch

    Contact the Program Director:

    Dr. Lawrence Tanner


    (315) 445-4537


    Contact the Program:

    Science Center Addition 210
    Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
    Le Moyne College
    1419 Salt Springs Road
    Syracuse, NY 13214


    (315) 445-4537


    "Le Moyne has given me boundless opportunities to explore the world through scientific inquiry and service. I feel as though Le Moyne cultivated me to become a well rounded scientist, but also someone who is ready to serve others. The best part of being a Dolphin is knowing you have a supportive pod (community) that is always there to help!" - Justin Twist, ‘13

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