COA has only one, self-designed major in human ecologyYou have the flexibility and freedom to design a curriculum that is right for you. The areas of study we’ve listed are constellations of interests—topics or ideas around which students and faculty cluster. They’re neither majors nor formal concentrations.

You may find yourself pulled towards one or more of these areas. You may have some other area of study in mind: perhaps something that is unique to you and doesn’t even have a name. Or you may see strands of knowledge as so interwoven that the idea of areas seems too limiting.

You can also search and browse courses without filtering by areas of study.

As you explore these areas of study, remember that they are mere suggestions: hints about how how you might want to put your curriculum together. We don’t like breaking up knowledge and experience into different areas. So please take these ‘areas of study’ with a grain of salt.  Or maybe an entire salt shaker.

Student work:
  • <div class="lw_profiles_name"><h3>Assembling a Geology Teaching Collection</h3></div><div class="lw_profiles_76">by: <strong>Tyler Prest, Jane Strader, and Miranda Galey</strong><br/></div><span class="lw_profiles_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/2317-assembling-a-geology-teaching-collection"><img src="/live/image/gid/29/width/280/height/200/crop/1/2945_geo.jpg" alt="Assembling a Geology Teaching Collection" title="Assembling a Geology Teaching Collection" class="lw_image" width="280" height="200"/></a></span></span><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Over the past two years, various COA students and community members have been building a geological teaching college. The collection is used by COA classes, and the goal is that this collection can be used for future study of the geology of Mount Desert Island.</p><p> <a class="file file_368 lw_files_pdf" title="2015-Prest-Tyler-et-al-Geology-Teaching-Collection.pdf" href="/live/files/368-2015-prest-tyler-et-al-geology-teaching-collection">Download the PDF</a></p></div>
  • <div class="lw_profiles_name"><h3>A Study of Cooperation Waves in the Spatial Iterated Prisoners Dilemma</h3></div><div class="lw_profiles_76">by: <strong>Aura F. Silva</strong><br/></div><span class="lw_profiles_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1269-a-study-of-cooperation-waves-in-the-spatial"><img src="/live/image/gid/29/width/280/height/200/crop/1/src_region/0,0,282,282/1021_spatial-prisoner.jpg" alt="A Study of Cooperation Waves in the Spatial Iterated Prisoners Dilemma" title="A Study of Cooperation Waves in the Spatial Iterated Prisoners Dilemma" class="lw_image" width="280" height="200"/></a></span></span><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> The model presented in this paper aims to provide a powerful insight on the classic Spatial Iterated Prisoners Dilemma game, and “how an invading wave of Tit-for-Tat (TFT) individuals could invade a hostile population dominated by an Always-Defect (AD) strategy.”</p><p> This particular form of the game has previously been studied in a one-dimensional system. The main contribution of this paper is an adaptation to provide a 2-dimensional version that can be reproduced and analyzed.  </p><p> <a class="file file_181 lw_files_pdf" title="2014-silva-aura-cooperation-waves-in-spatial-iterated-prisoners.pdf" href="/live/files/181-2014-silva-aura-cooperation-waves-in-spatial-itera" target="_blank">Download PDF</a></p></div>
  • <div class="lw_profiles_name"><h3>Progress towards Modeling Red Tides and Algal Blooms</h3></div><div class="lw_profiles_76">by: <strong>Maxim Lowe</strong><br/></div><span class="lw_profiles_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1267-progress-towards-modeling-red-tides-and-algal"><img src="/live/image/gid/29/width/280/height/200/crop/1/src_region/199,0,579,380/1018_red-tide-algae.jpg" alt="Progress towards Modeling Red Tides and Algal Blooms" title="Progress towards Modeling Red Tides and Algal Blooms" class="lw_image" width="280" height="200"/></a></span></span><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> Conditions in the ocean sometimes allow specific species to populate so quickly that these species form dense aggregations of individuals. Many species of microscopic algae in particular are known to form in these dense aggregations, or “blooms.”  </p><p> In this paper, one method of predicting whether or not blooms will occur involves exploring the impact of grazing zooplankton on algae populations, and how the toxin produced by the phytoplankton affects those zooplankton populations. </p><p> <a class="file file_179 lw_files_pdf" title="2014-Lowe-Maxim-Progress-Towards-Modeling-Red-Tides.pdf" href="/live/files/179-2014-lowe-maxim-progress-towards-modeling-red-tide" target="_blank">Download PDF</a></p></div>
  • <div class="lw_profiles_name"><h3>Exploring the Efficiency of Badger Culling in Preventing the Spread of Bovine Tuberculosis in the UK</h3></div><div class="lw_profiles_76">by: <strong>Xochitl Ortiz Ross</strong><br/></div><span class="lw_profiles_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/profiles/1268-exploring-the-efficiency-of-badger-culling-in"><img src="/live/image/gid/29/width/280/height/200/crop/1/1019_1024px-myr_htri_4.jpg" alt="Exploring the Efficiency of Badger Culling in Preventing the Spread of Bovine Tuberculosis in the UK" title="Exploring the Efficiency of Badger Culling in Preventing the Spread of Bovine Tuberculosis in the UK" class="lw_image" width="280" height="200"/></a></span></span><div class="lw_profiles_description"><p> In the UK, incidence of Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle has been found to be correlated with incidence of the disease in badgers <em>(Meles meles). </em>Different methods of badger culling have been employed for the control of bTB, but disease incidence has continued to increase. </p><p> Field studies indicate that culling disrupts badger social structure, leading them to behave in a manner that increases contact rates and hence disease transmission. This paper will demonstrate that culling is indeed likely to increase disease incidence and that this is largely due to social perturbation. </p><p> <a class="file file_180 lw_files_pdf" title="2014-Ross-Xochitl-efficiency-of-badger-culling.pdf" href="/live/files/180-2014-ross-xochitl-efficiency-of-badger-cullingpdf" target="_blank">Download PDF</a></p></div>