Fall and Spring
Credit: 3 graduate 
Instructor(s): William Kleindl

Course Description

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.

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.


William Kleindl, PH.D. has 28 years of experience working as an aquatic ecology research scientist and consultant throughout the United States assisting private and public clients with policy development; permit assistance; resource delineation and mapping; and mitigation design, implementation and monitoring.


General Biology, General Ecology. Graduate Standing.

Time Commitment:

8-10 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.

Suggested Books/Materials

  • Ecology of Freshwater and Estuarine Wetlands 
    Author(s): Dr. Darold P. Batzer, Rebecca R. Sharitz
    Publisher: University of California Press; 2 edition (December 6, 2014)
    ISBN13: 978-0520278585
    ISBN 10: 0520278585 
    Price new: $74 (Less expensive used copies and electronic versions are available online.)

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

Please contact Marni Rolston 406-994-2029

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.