Field Ecology

Spring Open
Class Standing
Dylan Fischer
Alison Styring

This program will focus on intensive group and individual field research on current topics in ecological science. These topics will include forest structure, ecosystem ecology, effects of forest management, ecological restoration, riparian ecology, fire history, bird abundance and monitoring, insect-plant interactions, and disturbance ecology. Students will be expected to intensively use the primary literature and student-driven field research to address observations about ecological composition, structure, and function. Multiple independent and group research projects will form the core of our work in local forests of the South Puget Sound lowlands, national forests, national parks, state forests, and other relevant natural settings. Students are expected to hit the ground running and should develop research projects for the entire quarter within the first several weeks of the program.

Through a series of short, intensive field exercises, students will hone their skills in observation, developing testable hypotheses, and designing ways to test those hypotheses. We will also explore field techniques and approaches in ecology, and especially approaches related to measuring plant and avian biodiversity. Students will have the option to participate in field trips to remote sites in the Pacific Northwest. Research projects will be formally presented by groups and individuals at the end of the quarter. Finally, student research manuscripts will be created throughout the quarter, utilizing a series of intensive multi-day paper-writing workshops. We will emphasize identification of original field research problems in forest habitats, experimentation, data analyses, oral presentation of findings, and writing in scientific journal format.


College-level biology, college-level chemistry, and college-level precalculus, or calculus, or statistics. Students should also have previous credits in botany, taxonomy, ornithology, or zoology. Ability to use plant taxonomic keys and identify birds from song is especially encouraged. 

Academic Details

plant and wildlife ecology, environmental studies, habitat management, ecological restoration, and conservation biology


$350 fee covers a field trip fee for an extended overnight trip to North-Central Washington/The Sinlahekin Valley ($300) and a required lab fee ($50). 

Students who successfully complete the work in this program can expect 16 upper division science credits. Credits may be earned in field ecology, statistics, and project-based ecological topics.


In Person (S)

See definition of Hybrid, Remote, and In-Person instruction

Schedule Details
Field Trip/Off Campus


Date Revision
2023-03-24 Cancelled due to low enrollment. Students may be interested in the new program: Forestry and Wildlife Methods.
2023-02-08 $350 required fee added for an overnight field trip and lab fee