About the Course
Wetland ecosystems play an integral role in the physical, chemical and biological processes that occur on earth. Plant and animal habitats found in wetlands are unique and play a critical part in the lifecycle of both commercially important species as well as many threatened and endangered organisms. Wetlands are also often a focal point of issues related to protection of environmental resources, environmental policy and property rights.
This course provides an introduction to wetland ecosystems focusing first on the hydrologic drivers, biogeochemical processes, unique soil characteristics and the biological adaptations that allow organisms to survive in this environment. Next, the interaction of these processes to form unique types of wetland communities, how they change over time and the environmental factors that shape these communities are investigated. Lastly, the interaction of humans with wetlands is discussed including regulations used to protect wetlands and requirements for mitigating wetland loss as well as how wetlands are being integrated into the human landscape to help improve water quality and treat just about any type of stormwater or wastewater. The course will provide both the fundamental science behind our understanding of wetland processes and functions as well as a practical application of these concepts and how they influence all of us on a regular basis.