Bozeman, MT campus
July 12 - 16, 2021
Credit: 2 graduate 
Instructor(s): B. Maxwell

Course Description

This five day course includes 3 days in the field making measurements on exotic invasive plants at a range of sites from the Gallatin Valley to the Gallatin National Forest and 2 days analyzing the data and using simulation models to explore plant invasiveness. The focus of this course is to directly involve students with testing methodology for monitoring the invasive potential of several exotic species in otherwise pristine mountain environments.

This five-day course includes 4 days taking data in the field making measurements on exotic invasive plants at a range of sites from the Gallatin Valley to the Gallatin National Forest. We take one full-day field trip to Yellowstone National Park. Each day starts with a 1-hour lecture introducing a subject area then the class goes to a different field site each day to collect data. Students return to the computer lab to analyze the data and answer questions about the observations/measurements. This course directly involves students in monitoring plant populations by contributing to long-term datasets and assessing the distribution, invasive potential and impact of several non-indigenous species in otherwise pristine mountain environments.

The questions that we will examine are:

  1. How does one determine the local distribution of a rare species?
  2. Can we detect change in non-indigenous plant populations that will allow us to judge them as invasive?
  3. What should be the criteria for determining if a non-indigenous plant species can have a significant impact on a plant community?
  4. What should be the criteria for determining if a non-indigenous plant species can have a significant impact on the ecosystem they inhabit?

Students will read the most current theories on what makes species invasive and what conditions invite or detour non-indigenous plant species. At least 1/3 of the field time will be used to discuss how these theories apply to our system.

Data analysis will place each student with a computer and include the use of Excel and R software. Each student will analyze a different portion of the field data. Integration of field ecology into K-12 classes will be discussed throughout the course. 

Instructor(s)

B. Maxwell, PhD.

Time Commitment:

40- hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

See the Online Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid page.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.