2010-11 Catalog

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Offering Description

Invasive Species: Plants and Patterns

Fall quarter

Faculty: Lalita Calabria botany, phytochemistry, systematics, Peter Impara geography, landscape studies

Fields of Study: botany, ecology, field studies, geography and natural history

Fall: CRN (Credit) Level 10396 (16) So - Sr  

Credits: 16(F)

Class Standing: Sophomore - Senior

Offered During: Day

Prerequisites: One quarter biology, geography, or ecology preferred


Invasive species are a critical threat to biodiversity and ecosystems and are one of the greatest challenges in restoration projects. Throughout this one-quarter program, we will explore major ecological concepts within the framework of the threats invasive species pose to restoration and conservation efforts. We will survey some of the leading theories and approaches regarding invasive plants, including their effects on ecosystems, plant community interactions, the ecophysiology of individual species, and how invasive plants become successful invaders at the patch and landscape scale.

What are the characteristics of invasives species that allow them to quickly outcompete native plants, alter habitat of native species and often reduce the habitat and food availability for wildlife? At the molecular to organism scale, we will investigate the genetic and biochemical signatures of invasive plants to assist our understanding of their competitive advantages as well as their evolutionary history. At the ecosystem to landscape scales we will study meta-population and island biogeography theories in relation to restoration and conservation efforts and planning, and in the analyses of patterns of invasive plants.

Students will learn the taxonomy, ecology and biology of invasive plants through lectures, plant collecting, workshops, labs, fieldwork, seminars, small group projects, becoming proficient in ecological tools such as GIS, field sampling, journaling and herbaria. To deepen their understanding of the impacts of invasive species on native plant communities of these ecosystems, students will conduct restoration ecology research focusing mainly on the Puget Lowland prairies. Lab activities will involve identifying collected plant specimens, preparing herbarium specimens and phytochemical analysis. We will take a 5-day field trip to Dry Falls to learn about sagebrush steppe habitat restoration. Seminar will focus on the current scientific literature regarding the restoration ecology, conservation and invasive plants.

Upper division science credits will be awarded for upper division work.

Maximum Enrollment: 44

Required Fees: Fall $165 for 5-day field trip to Dry Falls State park and overnight field trip to Willapa Bay.

Preparatory for studies or careers in: ecology, botany, geography, restoration, and conservation.

Campus Location: Olympia

Online Learning: Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online

Books: www.tescbookstore.com