Credits: 3
Semester: Spring
Location: Online

This class will examine the science of wetland ecology and its application to the management of the resource. Through this course, students will explore wetland ecosystem fundamentals via text books, contemporary literature, short lectures, videos, group discussions, and a semester long term-project. Students will study hydrological and geomorphic processes at the watershed and site scale, how these processes drive wetland hydrology and hydric soil development and maintenance, and how these factors are influenced by and interact with the biological systems. Through this study we will focus on the nature of ecosystem processes (succession, nutrient cycling, and biotic interactions) that define ecological function of wetlands. Students will understand how these varied processes drive wetland classification systems and define the range of ecosystem functions particular to each classification. We will explore the geographic distribution of freshwater wetlands, and focus on how wetlands and their associated organisms adapt to environmental challenges across bioregions. We will examine how these adaptations are compromised by direct disturbance from land use decisions and indirect disturbances from atmospheric pollution and climate variability. We will expand into an understanding of how disturbance impacts wetland ecological functions and how this influences ecosystem services important to agricultural and urban areas. Finally, we will address how these aquatic systems, their functions and the services they provide to society interact with the regulatory landscape.