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 quantitive 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.

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

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

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

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: 75


Course Reference Number not yet available.

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