Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Ecology
Sistla is an ecosystem ecologist who studies how soils, plants, and microbial communities respond to environmental change, and how these changes can feedback to affect larger-scale ecosystem processes and coupled human-natural systems. She is also interested in improving how scientific knowledge is used in decision-making and conservation efforts.
Previously, Sistla was a NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow based at the University of California Irvine.
Environmental conflict in the Anthropocene How do you respond when someone asks you, "Is climate change real?" "Is sea-level rise real?" "Is 'fracking' really that bad?" The past century has been marked by a myriad of environmental changes. Understanding the causes and consequences of these changes within a scientific framework is important to being part of an engaged global citizenry. The goal of this course is to introduce the field of environmental science and convey that building one's understanding of the natural world within a scientific context can help us to address the environmental challenges facing our planet. Using primary scientific literature, books, newspaper articles, film, and field trips, we will build scientific literacy to contextualize a variety of environmental problems and solutions.
Global environmental change, from increased fertilizer loads to a warming climate, is the new norm faced by the biosphere. This course will explore the scientific context of global change through a biogeochemical lens, with focus on human perturbations to the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles. This course will be split between student-led discussion of primary literature and small group field/laboratory projects.