Credit: 3 graduate 
Instructor(s): Scott Powell

Course Description

This course focuses on the principals and applications of landscape and ecosystem ecology. Students will gain an understanding of the forces that shape landscape patterns in space and time and the subsequent consequences for ecosystem processes. An important component of the course is an exploration of the methods and tools of landscape and ecosystem analysis. The content of the course is based on a combination of readings from textbooks and the primary literature and will hinge on detailed student/instructor interactions via online discussion. In addition, students will be expected to develop a rigorous analytical term-project motivated by a relevant question and the availability of data sets.

Meeting Place and Times

Participants log in to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week and spend 8 - 10 hours per week while the course is in session, either online or offline working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit graduate course.


Scott Powell, PhD. Scott is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, and is affiliated with the Spatial Sciences Center. His research focuses on the use of geospatial data to characterize landscape patterns and ecosystem processes. The overarching theme of his research is the quantification and monitoring of carbon sequestration at broad spatial and temporal scales, including forest ecosystems, dryland agricultural systems, and human-engineered geologic sequestration sites. His research relies on the integration of remote sensing imagery (both satellite and airborne), GIS, GPS, and field data.


General biology, General Ecology, General Statistics

Target Audience

Working professionals who want to increase their knowledge in the topic. Students in the MS in Land Resources Environmental Sciences - online degree program.

Time Commitment:

10-12 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.

Required Books/Materials

  • Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice: Pattern and Process, 2nd Ed.
    Author(s): Monica Turner and Robert Gardner
    Publisher: Springer, 2015 
    Hardcover ISBN: 9781493927937 
    Paperback ISBN: 9781493938186
    Price $65 new hardcover, $71 new paperback at
  • Learning Landscape Ecology
    Author(s): Sarah E. Gergel and Monica Turner
    Publisher: Springer, 2015 
    ebook ISBN: 978-1-4939-6374-4
    Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4939-6372-0
    Price $70 ebook, $90 new paperback at Springer

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Marni Rolston 

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.