BIO5050EN - Trends and Methods in Ethnobiology

Course description

Ethnobiology is the scientific study of dynamic relationships among people, biota and environments. The focus of this course is on the varied methods employed to meet the objective of a particular study. Typically used are participatory observation data query and multivariate analyses techniques incorporating data from multiple disciplines as variables. Student-led research is used to appropriate methods to compose, gather and analyze a unique data set.

How this course benefits students

This course is particularly relevant and useful for students that have broad interests in environmental and/or cultural studies as well as those involved in specific missions and ministry involving different cultural groups. Materials provided are foundational elements to this relatively new area of scientific study examining cultural differences in knowledge about and interaction with the natural environment.

Why this course is important

This course is important because global cultures interact daily and all peoples share earth’s resources. Knowledge of different cultures beliefs and actions towards those resources provides opportunities for intentional kindness and care for unique cultures.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Biological Studies
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.
Dr. JoAnna Sommerfeld, Professor of Geography

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

God created the uniqueness among cultures and environments. This course examines the varying knowledge and concepts developed by these cultures on natural systems allowing all people to extend love to every tribe, tongue and nation.

Missionally driven

This course offers an additional element of cultural study that is relatively new in academia. One that analyzes the variances of human-environmental knowledge and interaction. This unique point of view can be incorporated into specialized mission and ministry work pointing people toward Jesus from an individual culture’s natural frame of reference.

Contextually informed

The content of this course enhances cultural competence and awareness on local and regional scales increasing our capacity to cogently engage in witnessing opportunities.

Interculturally focused

Ethnobiological studies naturally encapsulate an intercultural focus because the content centers on the uniqueness of individual culture’s interaction and knowledge of the natural environment and how those may differ over space.

Practically minded

As Christians partner in God’s redemptive plan to reach the lost and point people toward the Savior, the material in this course provides a niche of knowledge that bolsters that effort by approaching this mission from the different cultures' frame of reference as it applies to environmental understanding and interaction.

Experientially transformed

Experiences as they pertain to intentional engagement with unique people groups come from each students location and are shared among classmates to assemble a larger cultural frame of reference from which specific ministry and mission works may draw.