Freshwater Ecology: A Landscape Perspective

Spring 2017
Credits per quarter

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Rivers flow through complex landscapes in which upland and riparian elements interact in complex ways. In this program, we will take a landscape perspective to understanding these interactions. We will investigate the impacts of how local geology, land-use practices (logging, urbanization, agriculture), and terrestrial disturbances (forest fires, landslides, insect outbreaks) influence the chemistry and hydrodynamics of river water.

Rivers and streams rank as some of the most imperiled ecosystems on Earth. They have been heavily impacted by transportation, irrigation, energy production, waste disposal and recreation. Due to high extinction rates of freshwater species, it is crucial to understand how freshwater ecosystems function and habitats can be restored. We will study freshwater ecology and landscape ecology concepts in order to understand spatial patterns and connectivity so we may consider restoration and management paradigms in rivers today.

We will conduct field studies, lectures and labs addressing broad landscape patterns and processes in watersheds and water bodies. Students will learn to make scientific observations, ask research questions, design field experiments, collect and analyze data, run statistical analyses, analyze spatial patterns, make maps, and communicate their findings using scientific writing, oral presentations, and lay summaries. Seminar readings will focus on human-freshwater interactions and local topics in the Pacific Northwest.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in: land management, ecology, GIS, and field biology

Online learning:
  • Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers < 25% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$250 for an overnight field trip to the Olympic Peninsula


One year of General Biology and at least one quarter college-level chemistry required.

Scheduled for: Day

Located in: Olympia

Advertised schedule:

First class meeting: Tuesday, April 4 at 9am (Lecture Hall Classroom 8)

2016-03-09New spring opportunity added.