New Courses. The Rise of Rome. Great Music of the 20th Century. Life in the World’s Oceans. The Science of Gardening. Craftsy: Improve Your Paintings: Luminous Watercolor Mixing. Craftsy: Realistic Watercolors Step by Step. Craftsy: Simple & Stunning Watercolor Techniques
New Courses. The Rise of Rome. Great Music of the 20th Century. Life in the World’s Oceans. The Science of Gardening. Craftsy: Improve Your Paintings: Luminous Watercolor Mixing. Craftsy: Realistic Watercolors Step by Step. Craftsy: Simple & Stunning Watercolor Techniques
  • The Rise of Rome
    Course  |  The Rise of Rome

    Professor Gregory S. Aldrete, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    The Rise of Rome offers you the chance to find out what made this state so powerful—and offers insight into why the republic cast such a long shadow over Western civilization. Over 24 captivating lectures, Professor Gregory S. Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay tells the story of Rome’s astonishing rise, from its modest beginnings to its stunning triumph over the Mediterranean to the republic’s dramatic collapse.

    View Lecture List (24)

    The Rise of Rome offers you the chance to find out what made this state so powerful—and offers insight into why the republic cast such a long shadow over Western civilization. Over 24 captivating lectures, Professor Gregory S. Aldrete of the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay tells the story of Rome’s astonishing rise, from its modest beginnings to its stunning triumph over the Mediterranean to the republic’s dramatic collapse.

    24 Lectures  |  The Rise of Rome
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      The City on the Tiber
      Begin with a simple question: “How did Rome become so powerful?” This core theme will run through much of this course. Here, Professor Aldrete considers the role of the city’s geography and the republic’s unique political structure, both of which allowed Rome to flourish. x
    • 2
      The Monarchy and the Etruscans
      The rise of Rome begins with a monarchy, though much of the city's early years are shrouded in mystery. Unpack some of the key myths, including the epic of Aeneas and the story of Romulus and Remus, to gain insight into the city's founding. Then reflect on neighboring civilizations such as the Etruscans. x
    • 3
      Roman Values and Heroes
      Tales and literature from early Rome give us only partial insight into factual history, but they give us great insight into Roman values—what the Romans themselves identified as qualities of ideal citizens. Examine how a few Roman heroes, like Mucius, Horatius, Lucretia, and others embody values of courage, resourcefulness, determination, and more. x
    • 4
      The Early Republic and Rural Life
      Witness the transition from the monarchy to the republic—a new era of government that would carry the city through half a millennium. Wade through the mythology and propaganda, as well as Roman historical sources such as the author Livy, to reconstruct how the transition happened, and what the new republic looked like. x
    • 5
      The Constitution of the Roman Republic
      One of the most lasting facets of the Roman Republic is its constitution, which inspired America’s founding fathers, among others. Continue your exploration of the early republic with a look at its system of government and its different classes of people—citizens and noncitizens, patricians and plebeians, senators, soldiers, and more. x
    • 6
      The Unification of the Italian Peninsula
      What distinguished Rome from neighboring city-states was the republic’s dogged persistence in matters of war. Watch as the Romans conquered neighboring territories to gain control of the entire Italian peninsula—and witness defeats against the Gauls to the north and the Greeks to the east. See how the Romans treated those it conquered. x
    • 7
      Roman Religion: Sacrifice, Augury, and Magic
      Most of us are familiar with some of the gods in the Roman pantheon, which included the likes of Jupiter and Mars, but one of the most fascinating aspects of Roman religion was the way it integrated elements from other cultures. Survey Roman religion as well as its institutions and personages such as the Pontifex Maximus and the vestal virgins. x
    • 8
      The First Punic War: A War at Sea
      The First Punic War is the longest continuous war in Greek and Roman history. Here, delve into the third century B.C.E., when Carthage commanded sea travel throughout the Mediterranean and the Roman Republic was looking to advance beyond the Italian Peninsula. Trace the first war against Carthage. x
    • 9
      The Second Punic War: Rome versus Hannibal
      Although the First Punic War was a major victory, the Second Punic War was, in Professor Aldrete’s words, “the crucible in which the Roman Empire was forged.” Encounter the brilliance of Hannibal, learn the strategy and impact of the infamous Battle of Cannae, and see how Roman leaders combatted and eventually defeated him. x
    • 10
      Rome Conquers Greece
      Although the Romans had seen great military and political victory, they were still provincial in many ways until they conquered the Greeks. At that point, Greek civilization entered and began to influence the Romans in unexpected ways. But, as you'll learn in this lecture, the Roman expansion beyond Italy may have been something of an accident. x
    • 11
      The Consequences of Roman Imperialism
      Roman imperialism gave the republic great and far-flung territory, but it left many of its people wanting. Soldiers entered the military expecting riches and glory, only to come home penniless. Meanwhile, conquered people were far from happy. Review how the Romans administered their growing territory—and its effect on those in the home city. x
    • 12
      Roman Slavery: Cruelty and Opportunity
      Rome is one of only a few civilizations throughout history to be a true slave state. Here, learn where Roman slaves came from and find out about the nature of their servitude—including what daily life was like for many slaves. Then look at ways slaves could buy or earn freedom, and what life was like for freed slaves. x
    • 13
      Roman Women and Marriage
      Because Rome was such a patriarchal society, we have few historical records from women's points of view. Nevertheless, historians have been able to deduce much about what life was like for Roman women. Life varied greatly between rich and poor, but women throughout the society were expected to marry and live sheltered lives. x
    • 14
      Roman Children, Education, and Timekeeping
      Continue your study of ordinary Romans—this time with a look at the life of children, which could be quite brutal by today’s standards. Learn about their toys and games, and then turn to the system of education. Finally, take a look at the Roman system of timekeeping, which organized the days, months, and years. x
    • 15
      Food, Housing, and Employment in Rome
      Food, shelter, and a livelihood are three of the most basic needs for people everywhere. In this lecture, Professor Aldrete surveys what Romans ate, where they lived, what their homes were like, and what they did for a living. While the upper classes did not work, farming and skilled trades were important jobs throughout the republic. x
    • 16
      The Gracchi Attempt Reform
      By 133 B.C.E., Roman society was beginning to unravel. Veterans who had lost their fortunes in war, farmers who had lost their land, and neighboring citizens who had been conquered were all disgruntled. Meanwhile, factionalism was starting to emerge within the Roman government. See how these tensions began to wear away at the republic and how an attempted reform came not from the disenfranchised, but from one of the most privileged Roman families. x
    • 17
      Gaius Marius the Novus Homo
      The late Roman republic was characterized by feuding aristocrats vying for power within the government. Meet Gaius Marius, an Italian warlord who went against the conventional mores and was elected 7 times as a consul. Follow his military exploits in Northern Africa and his rise to power within the republic. x
    • 18
      Sulla the Dictator and the Social War
      Cracks continued to appear in Roman civilization, as the Social War broke out over citizenship and leaders continued to vie for power. Among these leaders was Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who used his military laurels to march into Rome and set himself up as a temporary dictator. x
    • 19
      The Era of Pompey the Great
      Continue your survey of late republic military leaders. In this lecture, you'll find out about the life of Pompey the Great, who achieved fame and glory as a young man with ambitions as large as Alexander the Great's. Trace the events of the first century B.C.E., including the slave revolt of Spartacus. x
    • 20
      The Rise of Julius Caesar
      The beginning of the end of the Roman Republic starts with the rise of Julius Caesar. After setting the stage with Caesar's early career, Professor Aldrete explores the dramatic events that led to Caesar's election to the senate as well as his legislative and military victories. Tensions within Roman leadership were high. x
    • 21
      Civil War and the Assassination of Caesar
      The late republic tensions reached a conflagration the moment Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and led his army toward Rome. Follow the end of his astonishing career, from his exploits in Spain to his war with Egypt to his eventual assassination. Meet Mark Antony and the other conspirators. x
    • 22
      Cicero and the Art of Roman Oratory
      Before witnessing the denouement of the Roman Republic, pause for a moment to reflect on Roman oratory—an art best practiced by the senator and writer Cicero. Cicero’s insights into rhetorical strategy and human nature continue to influence us today—and in his day allowed him to play the role of peacekeeper after Caesar’s murder. x
    • 23
      Octavian, Antony, and Cleopatra
      Following Caesar's assassination, there was a power vacuum in Rome. Caesar's heir Octavian eventually took power, while Caesar's general Mark Antony fled to his lover, Cleopatra. Trace the events from Octavian's rise to Rome's war with Egypt and the suicides of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. x
    • 24
      Why the Roman Republic Collapsed
      The course opened with a simple question: “How did Rome become so powerful?” It closes with an equally simple—if equally unanswerable—question: “Why did the Roman Republic collapse?” In this final lecture, Professor Aldrete offers several leading theories, including the possibility that the republic was a victim of its own success. x
  • Great Music of the Twentieth Century

    Professor Robert Greenberg, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, Audio Download, DVD, CD

    The 20th century was a breeding ground of musical innovation and transformation unlike any other era in history. Within this course, you’ll discover the genius of composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Bartók, Ligeti, Adès, and many others. In Great Music of the 20th Century, you’ll experience the superlative musical art that so vividly and unforgettably speaks to the life of our times.

    View Lecture List (24)

    The 20th century was a breeding ground of musical innovation and transformation unlike any other era in history. Within this course, you’ll discover the genius of composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Webern, Bartók, Ligeti, Adès, and many others. In Great Music of the 20th Century, you’ll experience the superlative musical art that so vividly and unforgettably speaks to the life of our times.

    24 Lectures  |  Great Music of the Twentieth Century
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      20th-Century Music: Be Afraid No Longer!
      Look first at the goals of this course, as it will explore the principal trends in 20th-century concert music, and the historical issues and events that shaped them. As background, delve into the history of musical notation as it gave rise to composed music, and take account of the upheavals, political and social catastrophes, and paradigm shifts that affected music in the 20th century. x
    • 2
      Setting the Table and Parsing Out Blame
      Examine historical and social factors that influenced 20th-century composers' abandonment of tradition and obsession with originality. Then learn about the influence of 19th-century German art on the French, and the new French nationalism in music that followed the Franco-Prussian War. Take a first look at Claude Debussy, whose revolutionary music created a new musical syntax. x
    • 3
      Debussy and le francais in Musical Action
      Investigate the qualities of Debussy's music that connect it to French art and poetry as well as to the sensuality of the French language. Learn how his landmark work, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, began musical modernism. Study the wealth of compositional innovations in his piano Prelude #10, and note how his impact on 20th-century music mirrors Beethoven's in the 19th century. x
    • 4
      Russia and Igor Stravinsky
      In the first of two lectures on this giant of 20th-century music, trace the early life of Stravinsky, the environment in which he grew to maturity, and his musical education and influences. Follow Stravinsky's relationship with the impresario Sergei Diaghilev, their legendary partnership in the ballets The Firebird and Petrushka, and grasp the striking musical originality of those works. x
    • 5
      Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring
      Relive The Rite of Spring's riotous premiere, and examine the qualities that made it the most influential musical work of the 20th century. Observe how Stravinsky evoked ancient pagan rituals through stunning rhythmic asymmetry, bi-tonal harmony, and other daring compositional techniques. Take account of how the Rite changed the way composers thought about rhythm, melody, and orchestration. x
    • 6
      The Paradox of Arnold Schoenberg
      Schoenberg was both substantially misunderstood as a composer, and one of the greatest influences on 20th-century music. Learn about the enormous enmity and dissent that greeted his compositions, as they challenged tradition and offended musical conservatism. Trace his early life and music, his vision as a composer, and the achievements of his most “popular” work, Transfigured Night. x
    • 7
      The Emancipation of Melody!
      Learn about Schoenberg's friendship with Gustav Mahler, who defended Schoenberg's groundbreaking compositions. Study Schoenberg's remarkable metamorphosis in which he sought to free melody from the limits of functional tonality, as exemplified in his Six Little Pieces for Piano. Examine events in Schoenberg's personal life that may help explain his final break with musical tradition. x
    • 8
      The Second Viennese School
      Here, take the measure of the Viennese triumvirate of Schoenberg and his students Alban Berg and Anton Webern, who advanced a historically new, non-tonal music. Delve into the most representative work of this era, Schoenberg's song cycle Pierrot Lunaire, and experience Schoenberg's stunning compositional language. Investigate the extraordinary works and contributions of Berg and Webern. x
    • 9
      The "New" Classicism
      The 1920s saw both an explosion of new compositional languages and a conservative backlash against modernism. Follow the fortunes of Stravinsky, as he created a new ballet score for Diaghilev, incorporating themes from the Baroque composer Pergolesi. In Pulcinella, see how Stravinsky's ingenious treatment of the score created a neo-Classic musical hybrid of astonishing modernist sensibility. x
    • 10
      Schoenberg and the 12-Tone Method
      In 1925, Schoenberg developed a compositional system that would dominate Western concert music for 50 years. Study the elements of his “12-Tone Method,” based in the use of a “tone row” where all 12 musical pitches are used in a pre-determined sequence. Observe how this system allowed composers to write large-form, non-tonal music. Grasp its enormous influence, and its challenges for listeners. x
    • 11
      Synthesis and Nationalism: Bela Bartok
      Learn about Bartok's early life and career as a pianist, and the imprint of Hungarian nationalism on his composing. Follow his remarkable travels, collecting and preserving indigenous folk music across Central and Eastern Europe. Witness these musical influences in some of his greatest compositions, and note how his works represent a musical synthesis of nearly global scope. x
    • 12
      America's Musical Gift
      This lecture explores the rich diversity of American vernacular music, as it influenced and inspired American composers. Take account of the integral impact on America of West African musical forms, and their role in the development of blues, ragtime, and jazz. See how George Gershwin and Aaron Copland synthesized these forms in jazz-tinged masterworks that became icons of American music. x
    • 13
      American Iconoclasts
      The composers under discussion here were nonconformists whose works stand virtually as separate genres of music. Begin with celebrated individualist Charles Ives, and his programmatic masterwork, Three Places in New England. Then contemplate the alternate tonal system of Harry Partch, the mega-polyphony of Elliott Carter, and the unique music scored for player pianos by Conlon Nancarrow. x
    • 14
      The World Turned Upside Down
      Following the horrors of World War II, note how many composers sought to create music that was purged of the past, based in intellectual and scientific rigor. Investigate Ultraserialism, a compositional system in which nearly every musical element is organized "serially," as musical pitch is in the 12-Tone Method. Experience American Ultraserialism in the brilliant works of Milton Babbitt. x
    • 15
      Electronic Music and European Ultraserialism
      Learn how the advent of musical synthesizers and the tape recorder gave rise to both electronic music (using sounds created electronically) and musique concrète (manipulating real sounds with a tape recorder). Witness how Ultraserialism developed within Europe, leading paradoxically to hyper-complex music which in performance sounded random—a fatal problem for listener comprehension. x
    • 16
      Schoenberg in Exile
      Trace Schoenberg’s period of great creative output and professional flowering in the late 1920s—years which coincided with the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany. Following Schoenberg’s self-exile to the United States, take note of his efforts on behalf of European Jews, and study two war-inspired masterworks; his Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte and A Survivor from Warsaw. x
    • 17
      Stravinsky in America
      Delve into the singular aesthetic philosophy behind Stravinsky's neoclassic music, in which he describes his compositional process as purely formal and objective. Learn about Stravinsky's relocation to the United States, and how in his seventies he turned to writing 12-tone music. Grasp how his last major work, Requiem Canticles, functions as a musical retrospective of his career. x
    • 18
      For Every Action an Equal Reaction
      Discover the music of visionary composers who turned away from Serialism and Ultraserialism, beginning with Hans Werner Henze and Luigi Nono. Assess the place of postwar Ultraserialism, and the factors that led many to reject it. Explore the extraordinary Stochastic or “sound mass” music of Iannis Xenakis, and how his innovations prefigured and influenced the phenomenal works of György Ligeti. x
    • 19
      The California Avant-Garde
      The cultural environment of California produced some of the most original musical thinkers of the 20th century. First encounter Henry Cowell and Lou Harrison, composers of astonishing eclecticism whose works incorporated non-Western musical forms. Also meet John Cage and Morton Feldman, whose “indeterminate” music introduced new conceptions of unpredictability and a non-directional sense of time. x
    • 20
      Rock around the Clock
      In approaching minimalism, trace the development of rock ‘n’ roll, and its integral impact on both American musical culture and 20th-century concert music. Grasp the musical ethos of minimalism—its rhythmic pulse, cyclical patterning and melodies, and hypnotic drive—through the groundbreaking works of the “triumvirate” of the style: Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Philip Glass. x
    • 21
      East Meets West; South Meets North
      Cover global ground in this lecture, which looks at important 20th-century composers outside of the European/American orbit. Hear the fusion of Asian and Western traditions in the music of Tru Takemitsu (Japan), Isang Yun (Korea), Chinery Ung (Cambodia), and Tan Dun (China). Discover the musical riches of Latin American composers Heitor Villa-Lobos, Carlos Chavez, and Alberto Ginastera. x
    • 22
      Postmodernism: New Tonality and Eclecticism
      Postmodernism in music represented both a return to the musical values of Romanticism and an amalgam of diverse musical influences. Investigate the music of George Rochberg and David del Tredici, both of whom embraced musical styles from the past. Then explore “pastiche”—direct quotation from earlier works—in the phenomenal music of Luciano Berio, Peter Maxwell Davies, and George Crumb. x
    • 23
      The New Pluralism
      The 20th century ended with a trend toward “pluralism”—the practice of employing a range of different musical languages within a single work or movement. Witness the incredible range of this musical inclusivity and synthesis in composers ranging from the Americans Joseph Schwantner, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Jennifer Higdon to the British composer Thomas Adès. x
    • 24
      Among Friends
      Finally, as a firsthand, contemporary account of one composer's life in music, Professor Greenberg discusses his own professional journey. Trace his performing arts family background, his musical education, career path, and the finding of his voice as a composer. Hear a range of his acclaimed works, highlighting his string quartets, song cycles, and concerti. x
  • Life in the World's Oceans

    Professor Sean K. Todd, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    The Great Courses teams with the Smithsonian to produce a vivid exploration of life in the world’s oceans with Professor Sean K. Todd of the College of the Atlantic. From the beginning of life on Earth to the state of our oceans today, you’ll learn about the latest research on marine-mammal intelligence and communication, bioluminescence, exploration of the ocean floor, the Smithsonian’s own cutting-edge research work around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and so much more.

    View Lecture List (30)

    The Great Courses teams with the Smithsonian to produce a vivid exploration of life in the world’s oceans with Professor Sean K. Todd of the College of the Atlantic. From the beginning of life on Earth to the state of our oceans today, you’ll learn about the latest research on marine-mammal intelligence and communication, bioluminescence, exploration of the ocean floor, the Smithsonian’s own cutting-edge research work around the world, including the Great Barrier Reef, and so much more.

    30 Lectures  |  Life in the World's Oceans
    Lecture Titles (30)
    • 1
      Water: The Source of Life
      So much of what we take for granted about our world—from our body’s access to and use of nutrients, to our planet’s liquid oceans, to the ice floating in your glass of soda—is a direct cause of the structure and polarity of H2O. Learn how those specific properties make water the essential ingredient for life as we know it. x
    • 2
      Ocean Currents and Why They Matter
      No matter where you live, your climate, weather, and even available foods are determined to a great extent by ocean circulation. The uneven heating of the Earth by the Sun and the Coriolis effect result in vast circulation cells of air above the Earth, the movement of huge water masses in the oceans, and resultant “hot spots” of marine life. x
    • 3
      The Origin and Diversity of Ocean Life
      How and where did life begin on Earth? The existence of both photosynthetic and chemosynthetic food chains—along with experiments confirming the mechanisms of abiogenesis—points to the possibility that life could have originated through two different paths. While many questions remain unanswered, two things seem certain: Life began in the oceans, and bacteria are the most successful organisms on the planet. x
    • 4
      Beaches, Estuaries, and Coral Reefs
      Beach organisms exist with the constantly changing winds, waves, and tides—sometimes underwater, sometimes fully exposed to the air. Life in estuaries, where rivers meet the oceans, face constant fluctuations in environmental salinity. And hard corals are continually pummeled by wave action. Yet each of these physically challenging environments can be diverse and fecund ecosystems. x
    • 5
      Life in Polar and Deepwater Environments
      Tropical oceans are relative deserts when compared to the potential productivity of higher latitudes—and it’s all due to spring and fall blooms of phytoplankton. These microscopic photosynthetic organisms form the base of almost all marine food chains, including that of the blue whale, the largest animal known to have ever existed. But far below the penetration of sunlight a very different and only recently discovered food web relies solely on the chemosynthetic ability of bacteria. x
    • 6
      Phytoplankton and Other Autotrophs
      When we think of healthy marine ecosystems, we should be thinking about phytoplankton. In many ways, we owe our existence to these diatoms, dinoflagellates, green algae, cyanobacteria, and others. Not only do scientists believe they are the ancestors of terrestrial plants, but phytoplankton continues to produce about half of all the oxygen available in our atmosphere today. x
    • 7
      Invertebrate Life in the Ocean
      The vast majority of animals on our planet are the gloriously diverse invertebrates. From microscopic organisms to the crab with a three-meter leg span, marine invertebrates exhibit enormous variety in form and function. They include sessile and mobile organisms, free-living and parasitic. They live at the surface and within the ocean floor sediments, protected by hydrostatic endo- and exoskeletons. x
    • 8
      An Overview of Marine Vertebrates
      Only certain classes of vertebrates have a marine presence, while others are strictly terrestrial. Mammals are certainly represented in ocean life, but which species should be identified as “marine” when considering ocean productivity? The extremely complex marine food webs maintain long-term stability, even as they undergo natural perturbations over time. But when Homo sapiens enters as an apex predator, productivity can deteriorate, and systems can even collapse. x
    • 9
      Fish: The First Vertebrates
      Through 550 million years of evolution, fish have developed a wide variety of adaptations to the unique demands of living in a watery and mostly dark world. Learn how gills, swim bladders, bioluminescence, chemosensory glands, echolocation, and electrolocation have allowed fish to succeed in almost every type of ocean environment. Which fish are our ancestors? You might be surprised. x
    • 10
      Marine Megavertebrates and Their Fisheries
      While humans have been fishing for hundreds of centuries, we have only recently had a significant impact on marine food webs. Industrialization has led to problems with by-catch and overexploitation of resources. Today—since the megavertebrates we love to eat are often the apex predators of their natural food webs—we are creating trophic cascades with long-term impacts we do not yet understand. x
    • 11
      Sharks and Rays
      Are you afraid of sharks? Fish certainly have good reason to fear these top-of-their-game predators with their multiple rows of teeth, extraordinary sensitivity to smell, taste, and vibration, and ability to detect electrical current better than any other animal. But while four species have been known to assault humans with no provocation, almost 99 percent of the many hundred shark species would rather swim away from us than attack. x
    • 12
      Marine Reptiles and Birds
      While the reptilian evolution of the amniotic egg allowed animals to move completely from the sea onto land, some reptiles retained strong marine ties. These include sea turtles and sea birds whose wide variety of adaptations allow for drinking saltwater, remaining underwater for long periods, and flying great distances using very little energy. But wait . . . did we just classify sea birds as reptiles? x
    • 13
      The Evolutionary History of Whales
      Marine mammals did not evolve from marine species. Rather, they evolved from land mammals who found a plethora of “suddenly” open ecological niches when the dinosaurs became extinct about 65 million years ago. Today’s marine mammals might resemble each other because convergent evolution has led to similar adaptation. But best as scientists can tell, they have five separate lineages and no single common ancestor. x
    • 14
      The Taxonomy of Marine Mammals
      Through tens of millions of years, evolution has resulted in a fascinating array of marine mammal adaptations. With the ability to process thousands of gallons of water each day or dive to a depth of almost three kilometers, and with numerous methods of locomotion or extraordinary social behaviors, these whales, porpoises, phocids, and more can thrive in varied environments around the globe. x
    • 15
      How Animals Adapt to Ocean Temperatures
      If you’ve ever jumped into frigid water, you quickly realize humans are definitely not adapted to life in the sea. What are we missing? In a word, it’s blubber—the thick layer of fat just beneath the skin of almost every marine mammal. In fact, blubber is such a successful insulator that marine mammals have evolved internal and external means for getting rid of all that heat, possibly even including planetary migrations. x
    • 16
      Mammalian Swimming and Buoyancy
      For all practical purposes, terrestrial mammals live on a plane. Marine mammals, on the other hand, navigate a more viscous, three-dimensional environment with all its opportunities and challenges. We understand their propulsion mechanisms fairly well. But how do they control their buoyancy to position themselves in the water column? We don't yet have the answers. x
    • 17
      Adaptations for Diving Deep in the Ocean
      Not surprisingly, deep-diving marine mammals have evolved a physiology very different than our own. Adaptations including those related to blood chemistry, the location of stored oxygen, a variable heart rate, and articulated rib cages support the ability to go deep and stay long. But what about rising back up to the surface? How do they avoid getting “the bends”—or do they? x
    • 18
      The Importance of Sound to Ocean Life
      Sound travels much better in water than in air. In fact, low-frequency waves, such as those produced by certain whales, can travel through water uninterrupted for hundreds or even thousands of kilometers, allowing the animals to be “in touch” with their group over vast distances. Other marine mammals produce and hear sounds at high frequencies perfect for echolocation. But what happens when human-generated sound gets in the way? x
    • 19
      Food and Foraging among Marine Mammals
      Trophic patterns are complex cycling webs, often difficult to completely decipher. But two things are clear: Almost all marine food webs are based on microscopic photosynthesizers, and only a small fraction of the energy available at any trophic level becomes available to the next level. Adaptations such as baleen, ventral pleats, and unique tooth morphology allows these large animals to meet their energy needs. x
    • 20
      Marine Mammal Interactions with Fisheries
      With plastic and nylon lines and nets becoming common in the last century, by-catch became an even greater problem for the marine mammals. When the media picked up the story in the mid-1960s, the public became engaged, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act was passed in 1972. But whale entanglement remains a problem, and some argue that even whaling was far less cruel. x
    • 21
      Breeding and Reproduction in a Large Ocean
      Semi-aquatic marine mammals exhibit behaviors quite different than those who live fully in the water. In the former, an entire female community in one geographic area can come into estrus simultaneously and needs relatively few males—the strongest and “sneakiest”—to reproduce. In the latter, reproduction appears to be one of the driving forces of whale songs that can be heard over thousands of kilometers. x
    • 22
      Behavior and Sociality in Marine Mammals
      From individual whales that corral their confused prey to highly coordinated bubble-net feeding and aunts who “babysit,” marine mammals have developed an extraordinary variety of social and hunting behaviors—each with its own “cost/benefit analysis” developed over millions of years. If the energy expenditure does not support the goal of passing on genetic material, natural selection will eventually drop the adaptation. x
    • 23
      Marine Mammal Distribution around the Globe
      With sixty million years of evolution on their side, marine mammals have adapted to the widest possible variety of marine ecological niches. Some live only in rivers or lakes, others only in waters over the continental shelves, and some in the open ocean. A few—like the Weddell seal with exceptional blubber, diving skills, oxygen capacity, and ice-sawing teeth—are even adapted to live at the poles. x
    • 24
      Intelligence in Marine Mammals
      Within their own species, marine mammals have developed sophisticated communication. In captivity, we know they can be trained to learn rules, which indicates higher cognitive function. And even in the wild, we have documented some extraordinary instances of learning and cultural transmission of information. But is their intelligence comparable to our own? Maybe the question itself is meaningless. x
    • 25
      The Charismatic Megavertebrates
      Are marine mammals to be exploited as a resource? Or are they intelligent creatures to be revered with an almost religious admiration? Your answer might depend to some extent on your country and culture of origin—and the truth is probably somewhere in between. Our relationship with these impressive animals continues to evolve as we increase our understanding of their biology, cognition, and sociality. x
    • 26
      The Great Whale Hunt
      Over and over, humans have behaved as if a given resource were inexhaustible. That was certainly the case with worldwide industrial whaling of the early 20th century when six species of whales were hunted to dangerously low numbers. In the near future, as their populations continue to recover, some countries are expected to promote a resumption of the commercial whale hunt. x
    • 27
      The Evolution of Whale Research
      Although the irony is unmistakable, our understanding of marine mammals increased tremendously by having access to carcasses during the years of industrial whaling. Today, we focus on species protection while learning as much as we can via SCUBA, SONAR, tagging, biopsy darts, photo-identification, studying animals in captivity, and examining stranded individuals when available. x
    • 28
      Marine Mammal Strandings
      Most of us seem to have a natural instinct to want to help a stranded marine mammal, but it requires very specific skills to render aid without causing further stress and harm. Even with the best intentions and professional assistance, not all animals can be saved. What can we learn from these strandings—no matter how they end—and where are they most likely to occur? x
    • 29
      The Urban Ocean: Human Impact on Marine Life
      Our high-tech use of the ocean for food, transportation, and energy has far-reaching effects, particularly on certain species. Focusing on issues from noise pollution to microplastics, we can mitigate our impact to provide better futures for ourselves as well as for marine life. The work begins with understanding the extent of our true impacts. x
    • 30
      Our Role in the Ocean's Future
      Although there was a time when we treated the oceans as if they were too vast to feel our impact, we now know the truth: we have contributed to global climate change, ocean acidification, and overfishing. The results are potentially catastrophic—both to marine life and to our own health. But there is a bit of light at the end of this tunnel, and it depends in part on our own daily actions. x
  • The Science of Gardening

    Professor Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D.

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    When scientists examine home gardens and landscapes, one fact stands out: The leading cause of landscape failure is not disease and it’s not pests—it’s our own gardening practices. The Science of Gardening will help you create a beautiful and sustainable home garden guided by the newest information from applied plant physiology, biology, soils science, climatology, hydrology, chemistry, and ecology. From now on, you won’t need a green thumb to get your garden to grow; you’ll have science on your side!

    View Lecture List (24)

    When scientists examine home gardens and landscapes, one fact stands out: The leading cause of landscape failure is not disease and it’s not pests—it’s our own gardening practices. The Science of Gardening will help you create a beautiful and sustainable home garden guided by the newest information from applied plant physiology, biology, soils science, climatology, hydrology, chemistry, and ecology. From now on, you won’t need a green thumb to get your garden to grow; you’ll have science on your side!

    24 Lectures  |  The Science of Gardening
    Lecture Titles (24)
    • 1
      Garden Science: Weeding Out the Myths
      How many of your horticultural practices are based on anecdotal evidence from your neighbor or grandmother, and how do you assess their validity? In the midst of an unregulated “Wild West” of gardening products and practices, you can learn to access science-based information to create your sustainable dream garden. x
    • 2
      Site Analysis: Choosing the Right Spot
      Many of us make our landscape choices based on plant aesthetics. Instead, learn to first identify your location's topography, prevailing winds, hydrology, soil type, and other environmental factors. Then you'll be able to choose a plant well-suited for the long term. And you'll avoid season after season of frustration. x
    • 3
      Soil Analysis: What Makes Soil Great?
      Unless you live in a completely undeveloped area, chances are your home garden soil is not native. Learn what makes a “great” soil and how to determine your own approximate amounts of clay, silt, and sand; texture; nutrients; pH; and more—before you purchase that “must have” soil addition from the gardening store. x
    • 4
      Living Soils: Bacteria and Fungi
      Just as humans cannot grow without our supportive microbiome, neither can plants. Plant roots, bacterial sheathes, and long filaments of fungus all function together to support the plant's growth, enhancing the uptake of water and nutrients and improving soil structure. But what happens to this crucial symbiosis when you add unnecessary fertilizers? x
    • 5
      Plant Selection: Natives versus Non-Natives
      Native plants are always a better home-garden choice than non-natives, right? We know they are best suited to thrive in the soils and ecosystems of the area, and will create the best wildlife habitat. But does garden science support those “truths”? You might be surprised to learn how introduced species can enhance your garden and landscape biodiversity. x
    • 6
      Plant Selection: Function and Form
      In addition to its aesthetic value, your landscaping can provide privacy, protect soils from erosion, moderate temperature, manage storm-water runoff, provide wildlife habitat, and more. Learn how to select the appropriate plants with respect to morphology, growth rates, and physiology to help achieve your specific goals for various locations on your property. x
    • 7
      Plant Selection: Finding Quality Specimens
      Half the battle of successful landscaping is starting with the healthiest specimens—not, as we sometimes prefer, the largest. Learn how to inspect nursery plants from the crown to the ground for evidence of quality and health, and how to estimate root health by checking for suckers on single-trunk trees, root flare, surface roots, and the “tippy test.” x
    • 8
      Soil Preparation and Protection
      “Don’t plant before you fertilize!” Chances are you’ve heard that admonishment more than once. But gardening science has revealed that many popular practices—including fertilizing every time you plant—are neither necessary nor sustainable. Learn about a more natural way to add organic material to your garden to protect soil structure and nourish your plants. x
    • 9
      The Truth about Mulch
      Learn about the wide variety of mulch types—from glass to wood to compost—and the science-based pros and cons of each. By considering your specific site conditions and personal aesthetics, you can blend a variety of mulches to transform a struggling landscape into one that’s healthier and more sustainable. x
    • 10
      Planting for Survival
      Current research supports the need to radically change the way we’ve been planting trees for the past half century. Although considered controversial by nursery professionals, learn why plant science supports the “old” method of bare-root planting. This technique can improve tree survival because a vigorous root system will better support a healthy crown. x
    • 11
      Aftercare for New Plants
      Once your new plant is in the ground, how should you take care of it? Learn the basics of watering, mulching, fertilizing, staking, and pruning newly transplanted trees or shrubs—and why this care might change in subsequent seasons when the plant is well established. Not sure if your newly planted tree is experiencing healthy root growth? Try the wiggle test. x
    • 12
      Plant Nutrition: Evidence-Based Fertilizing
      The goal of fertilizing is to match your soil and plant needs—micro- and macronutrients, and other chemical requirements—with the appropriate sources of nutrition. By understanding your specific soil test results, you can determine which nutrients are deficient, which might already be present in toxic quantities, and whether or not to buy organic. x
    • 13
      The Art and Science of Pruning
      Have you ever seen a tree cut painted with tar or another sealant? Or seen a crown chopped completely bare? Both are common practices that we now know are harmful to the plant. Using applied plant physiology and science-based guidelines, learn the best timing and methods for pruning that will lead to healthy tree growth for the long term. x
    • 14
      Creating Safe Food Gardens
      While it seems intuitive that vegetables grown in your home garden will be safer and healthier than those purchased at the supermarket, that could be a dangerous assumption. Does your garden soil contain elements of concern, especially cadmium or lead? If so, learn how to best respond—whether in plant choices or creative garden design. x
    • 15
      Water-Wise Landscaping
      Learn how to reduce water use and protect water quality using knowledge of plant biochemistry, transpiration, and photosynthesis. Designing garden modifications, choosing appropriate plants based on morphology and color, and incorporating shading and mulch to reduce evaporation are just some of the water-wise techniques that will help conserve water. x
    • 16
      Diagnosing Diseases and Disasters
      The most common cause of death for home garden plants is poor horticultural practices, not disease or pests. With this step-by-step guide to diagnosing plant problems, you’ll learn how to appropriately remedy any problem—and when the plant will heal on its own. You’ll also be able to identify the warning signs of future problems, so you can treat the issue before it’s too late. x
    • 17
      Gardening CSI: Case Studies
      Take a virtual field trip to see examples of unhealthy plants and learn how to diagnose their problems based on the science of plant physiology. You'll see tree girdling, plants that become smaller over time instead of larger, scorched shrubs, and more. Once you understand the physiology behind these problems, you'll be better able to diagnose and treat any of your garden's plants that might be failing. x
    • 18
      Integrated Pest Management
      There is no lack of chemicals to get rid of the pests in your garden—whether that pest is a plant, insect, or other organism. But for long-term health, integrated pest management provides a better, systematic, science-based approach with a minimum of chemical inputs. With IPM, the goal isn’t to eradicate the pests, but to identify your tolerance level for their presence and implement appropriate management techniques. x
    • 19
      Understanding Pesticides
      Yes, there can be an appropriate time for judicious use of chemical pesticides in your garden—as a last resort to solve specific problems. Learn why you should always stick with those approved by the EPA and your state department of agriculture, and never use the home remedies promoted on the Internet or in non-science-based books. Are organics always safer ecologically than synthetics? You’ll be surprised. x
    • 20
      What to Do about Weeds
      If you have a garden in the U.S., chances are you're familiar with the damage caused by English ivy, kudzu, purple loosestrife, and/or the tamarisk tree. Each of these hardy plants can quickly create a monoculture, driving out other plant species and limiting the availability of diverse animal habitat. Learn the best science-based mechanisms to control these plants. x
    • 21
      What to Do about Insects
      Before you resort to chemical sprays—which can kill all insects, not just the pests you’re targeting—learn how to manage insects by increasing plant diversity, establishing “trap” plants, and using repellents and tools including your basic garden hose. But before you do anything, know your “enemy.” Understanding the life cycle and reproductive physiology of the insect will help you make the most effective management choices. x
    • 22
      What to Do about Herbivores
      You could spend a lot of money trying to keep slugs, rats, moles, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and other herbivores out of your garden. But most of those purchases would have little, if any, value, especially if feeding pressure is high in the surrounding habitat. Learn about the few options that are both safe and effective. And remember, “man’s best friend” might be your garden’s best friend, too. x
    • 23
      Tackling Garden Myths and Misinformation
      If you can't trust the Internet home remedy or the local gardening salesperson, whom can you trust? Make science-based gardening decisions by assessing the credibility, relevance, accuracy, and purpose of the information you read. Learn to understand the significant role played by peer review, the crucial difference between correlation and causation, and how to watch out for over-extrapolation and misapplied science. x
    • 24
      Applied Garden Science: Success Stories
      Two specific transformation stories—a wetlands restoration and a home garden project—reflect the benefit of science-based planning by considering soils, temperature, sunlight, moisture, water table, and likely pests. Learn how to become a citizen scientist and contribute to the field, not by looking for the easy way out, but by asking the hard questions and knowing how to assess the strength of the answers. x
  • Improve Your Paintings: Luminous Watercolor Mixing

    Kateri Ewing, Watercolor Expert

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Mix the glowing, harmonious watercolors you want, every time. Learn how using fundamental techniques and a limited palette of just six pigments.

    View Lecture List (6)

    Mix the glowing, harmonious watercolors you want, every time. Learn how using fundamental techniques and a limited palette of just six pigments.

    6 Lectures  |  Improve Your Paintings: Luminous Watercolor Mixing
    Lecture Titles (6)
    • 1
      Understanding Successful Watercolor
      Meet artist Kateri Ewing as she introduces you to the limitless possibilities of watercolor. Kateri explains the characteristics of successful watercolor paintings, including how to select the most effective paints and tools. Next, learn the difference between luminous and muddy works, which will transform the way you'll see and paint in the future. x
    • 2
      Split Primary System
      Learn the difference between primary and split primary colors, and discover how color theory will help improve your paintings. Kateri shows you how organizing your palette will reduce frustration and wasted paint, and she walks you through the creation of your own 15-color wheel. x
    • 3
      Charts & Color Matching
      Every artist has experienced the disappointment of not being able to match a hue exactly, but Kateri shows you how to solve this common challenge! Create your personalized color charts that train your hand and your eye to recognize color relationships, and allow you to match any color you can find. x
    • 4
      Tertiaries, Neutrals & Greens
      Now that you've mastered primary and secondary color relationships, Kateri walks you through ways to mix complementary tertiary hues to achieve even more nuanced mixes. Next, she shares professional tips for transforming unnatural green paint pigments into the greens found in nature. x
    • 5
      Project Foundations & Color Study
      Apply your new understanding of watercolor paints and color theory to a study of a pear (or anything else that you desire). Kateri shares her preferred method of transferring a line drawing before walking you through the first glaze of a color study. x
    • 6
      Building Color & Completing the Pear
      Continue building your colors as you improve your ability to accurately observe and mix various shades. Kateri helps you work darker colors into your yellow and green pear study, creating depth and form with washes, stunning details and nuanced shading. x
  • Realistic Watercolors Step by Step 

    Anna Mason, Expert Watercolorist

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Create lifelike watercolors without a lifetime of practice! Use easy-to-replicate techniques to achieve results you're proud to say you painted.

    View Lecture List (7)

    Create lifelike watercolors without a lifetime of practice! Use easy-to-replicate techniques to achieve results you're proud to say you painted.

    7 Lectures  |  Realistic Watercolors Step by Step 
    Lecture Titles (7)
    • 1
      Working With Watercolor
      Meet Anna Mason and get started discovering the simplicity behind painting with watercolors. Develop your painter's eye with watercolor basics as Anna helps you uncover the secret to layering watercolors. You'll also learn her brush techniques for painting fine details. Think small! x
    • 2
      Preparing to Paint
      Set up your workspace for success! Anna will provide techniques for taking the best reference photo to work from, no fancy camera required. Then get started working on a realistic pencil outline of a flower by either tracing or using Anna's measurements technique for an accurate rendering. x
    • 3
      Painting the Petals
      Start painting petals with Anna's layering technique. Begin by placing the lightest pink tones, then move to your darker pinks and finally your midtones to gradually build up color. You'll finish by filling gaps and refining your contrast. x
    • 4
      Painting the Stamen & Reassessing Petals
      Begin painting a realistic-looking stamen to add color variation to your painting! Learn the importance of order in watercolor painting and building up tone throughout the painting process. After finishing the stamen, you'll reassess the petal tones and balance the darkness of the petals. x
    • 5
      Painting the Bud
      Start painting a flower bud by layering tones light to dark. Anna will teach you how to avoid making mud out of your color choices. Use greens and reds to add tones to the sepals for clarity and deep contrast. Finally, gain confidence in your contrasts and explore how to use gouache for brilliant highlights. x
    • 6
      Painting the Leaves & Stem
      Create a variety of greens to cover the leaves, stems and thorns for a natural-looking finish. Layer the dark tones on top of the dried lighter tones using Anna's layering technique. You'll fill in the midtones to create the veins and juggle the rest of the hues to create a smooth, finished look. x
    • 7
      Finishing Details & Assessing Contrast
      Add final key details to make your painting look natural. Anna demonstrates how easy it is to make your details pop for a realistic finish. Learn to make darks richer and help details shine through with Anna's techniques for color correcting. Then assess the big-picture contrast of your painting. x
  • Simple & Stunning Watercolor Techniques

    Mary Murphy, Expert Watercolorist

    Available Formats: Video Download, DVD

    Expand your repertoire of advanced watercolor painting techniques to infuse your work with interest and excitement.

    View Lecture List (7)

    Expand your repertoire of advanced watercolor painting techniques to infuse your work with interest and excitement.

    7 Lectures  |  Simple & Stunning Watercolor Techniques
    Lecture Titles (7)
    • 1
      Underpainting
      Meet Mary Murphy, your guide to simple and stunning watercolor techniques. In this first lesson, Mary introduces the underpainting, the base of any good watercolor. She demonstrates a few masking techniques and shows how complementary colors help balance a painting and create surprising effects. x
    • 2
      Size & Composition
      Why you're painting is often just as important as what you're painting. Mary looks at the intention behind each work as a way of highlighting how to plan size and composition using thumbnails and sketches. She also offers a tip for scaling and paints a miniature square floral. x
    • 3
      Creating Texture
      Mary will show you how to use a variety of household materials, from credit cards to table salt, to add texture and visual interest to your watercolors. Then she paints a scene near her home to put those principles into practice. x
    • 4
      Exploring Water Media
      Learn how to complement your watercolors with other mediums. Mary introduces gouache and acrylic, which offers the exciting option of subtractive painting. Then she shows how watercolor grounds can help provide even more texture before combining all elements into one of her works. x
    • 5
      Brushes & Paper
      The tools you use determine so much about what your painting will look like. Mary introduces a variety of brush types and techniques, from scumbling with a mop quill to writing with a rigger. Then she shows how paper weight and texture can give your final product unique effects. x
    • 6
      Pigments
      No two watercolors are created equally. Mary walks through what makes some pigments transparent while others are opaque. She also introduces the concept of granularity, which helps produce more life-like skin along with skies and clouds, before finishing with a primer on staining pigments. x
    • 7
      Rescuing Techniques
      Painting in watercolor means always having a chance to correct mistakes. Mary takes a painting she'd abandoned long ago and attempts to recover it in real time. In the process, she shows how to critique, introduces rescuing techniques and teaches how to check for value. x