Field Ecology

Spring 2016 quarter

Taught by

forest and plant ecology
marine science, zoology, ecophysiology


Two quarters of college biology with labs, two quarters of college chemistry with labs, and the ability to work comfortably with quantitative information are required to join this program. These prerequisites will be verified on the first day of class.

This program is designed to provide a premier hands-on experience in learning how to conduct field science in ecology at the advanced undergraduate level. We will focus on group and individual field research to address patterns in ecological composition, structure, and function in natural environments. Students will participate in field trips to local and remote field sites and will develop multiple independent and group research projects in unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems from the Puget Sound to the east side of the Cascades (in Washington).

We will work as a community to develop and implement field projects based on: 1) workshops in rapid observation and field data collection; 2) participation in large multiyear studies in collaboration with other universities and agencies; and 3) student originated short- and long-term studies. Students will focus on field sampling, natural history, and library research to develop workable field-data collection protocols. Students will implement observation- and hypothesis-driven field projects. We will learn to analyze ecological data through a series of intensive workshops on understanding and using statistics in ecology. Students will demonstrate their research and analytical skills through scientific writing and presentation of all group and individual research projects.

Specific topics of study will include community and ecosystem ecology, plant physiology, forest ecology, marine ecology, ecological restoration, riparian ecology, fire disturbance effects, bird abundance and monitoring, soundscape ecology, insect-plant interactions, disturbance ecology, and statistics in biology. We will emphasize identification of original field research problems in diverse habitats, experimentation, statistical analysis, and writing in journal format. All students will be expected to gain competency in advanced statistics and scientific writing.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

Biology, botany, ecology, environmental studies, field studies, natural history, and writing.

Academic Website

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day

Advertised schedule: First spring class meeting: Tuesday, March 29 at 9am (Lab 1 1040, Lab 1 1050)


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

Required Fees

$450 for a two-week field trip to remote sites in the Northwest.

Upper Division Science Credit

All credit will be designated upper-division science for those students successfully completing all the coursework demonstrating the ability to apply quantitative methods (e.g., statistics), critically evaluate the scientific primary literature, and design/complete research.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (16 credits): 30080

Go to to register for this program.

Need Help Finding the Right Program?

Contact Academic Advising for help in answering your questions, planning your future and solving problems.