Biocomplexity Breakout Session I
Questions for consideration:
- What do we mean by Biocomplexity?
- What are the essential components?
- How do these inform our activities
- As researchers?
- As educators (i.e., what we teach and how we teach it)?
What are the essential components of Biocomplexity?
Interfaces (between bio, geo, human)
- Broadly speaking
- Specific components
- Emphasizes areas of interaction
- Spatial—hastened to be emphasized
- Temporal—critical, needs more emphasis
- Connections and lessons across scales important
- Importance of teams
- Discussion of how much of each discipline?
- Feedback loops
- Hierarchies of organization
"Human" vs. "Natural" systems
- Break down this dichotomy
- All one "system"
- Moving from deterministic to probabilistic conceptions
- Importance in managing earth systems
- Process oriented
Implications for education
- Break down false barrier between earth sciences vs. life sciences.
- Create cultural shift to problem solving in a new integrated way.
A list of key words in Biocomplexity
- Integrative perspective
- Temporal scale
- Spatial scale
- Systems dynamics
- Multiple feedbacks and mechanisms
- Environment (human and otherwise)
- Intersections of sub-systems
- Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary
- Whole is greater than the sum of the parts
- How do we translate these themes into education?
- Do we consider humans as simply part of biological systems?
- What about social, cultural and economic systems?
- Biocomplexity research takes lots of people.
- Biocomplexity is entirely incompatible with academic structures (tenure, promotion, traditional disciplines and departments).
- "Utter failure" or "inadequacy" of a reductionist approach
- Physical, chemical, biological and human interactions and feedback (also pre-human)
- Spatial and temporal variability on a range of scales
- Multiple perspectives and ways of "knowing" and collecting "knowledge"
Value added—beyond what has been done before
- Advanced math understanding—emergent math
- Different levels of interaction
- Human response manifest in humanities
- Multiple ways of "knowing" and collecting "knowledge"
- Evolving science and academic culture
- Interdisciplinary/team building
- Change in individual thinking
- We don't know all the answers
- Clear teaching templates and students' resources
- Play on strengths of classroom
- Could be focus of:
- Intro courses (e.g. place-based)
- "Block" or "linked" courses
- Synthesis courses
- How would a biocomplexity curriculum be perceived post-graduation?
- What would a biocomplexity major/minor/degree mean?