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2010 Wetlands Class at cypress swamp 2010 Wetlands class  

BIOL 4970/5970, Sec. 053, 3 credit hours

Syllabus - PDF
This syllabus is tentative and subject to change

Description: This course provides a comprehensive field-based examination of wetland science and management.  Biological, physical, chemical, and hydrological aspects of wetland ecosystem structure and function are explored through visits to several field sites.  Major wetland types and resources are examined and the biogeochemical and ecological diversity of wetland waters, soils, vegetation and fauna is investigated.  Current issues in wetland valuation, classification, management, identification and climate change are considered.  The design, assessment and function of created, restored and treatment wetlands are examined.


  • To introduce inland and coastal wetlands from an ecosystem perspective
  • To develop an understanding of the physical, chemical and biological aspects of wetlands
  • To examine the linkages between wetland ecosystem function and wetland management
  • To accomplish the above in an enjoyable and exciting field setting!

Textbooks: Mitsch, W. J. and J. G. Gosselink. (2007). Wetlands (4th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.   ISBN: 978-0-471-69967-5. $76.30 plus tax (prices subject to change)

Course Format:We will spend approximately 30% of our time in lecture/discussion and 70% of our time in field and laboratory analyses over the two-week period.  Several field trips outside of the Biological Station will be involved.  Be prepared for field work in hot summer weather - a good hat, good shoes, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a water bottle are musts!  Hip boots or waders are optional, but if you don’t have any, plan on getting wet.  Due to the field-intensive nature of the class, there will most likely be times when we will need to leave UOBS very early in the morning, and return late in the evenings.  When this occurs, appropriate adjustments will be made to the remaining schedule.  At least two (very) full-day field trips to several field sites in southeastern and southwestern Oklahoma are scheduled.

Additional Requirements: Scientific calculator; regular access to email and computer, familiarity with Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint. 

Reasonable Accommodation:  Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him or her from demonstrating his or her abilities should contact Dr. Nairn, Donna Cobb, and the Office of Disability Services, Goddard Health Center, Rm. 166, (405) 325-3852, as soon as possible so that accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate your educational opportunities can be discussed.

Codes of Behavior:  Each student should acquaint her or his self with the University’s codes, policies, and procedures involving academic misconduct, grievances, sexual and ethnic harassment, and discrimination based on physical handicap.

Academic Misconduct: It is the responsibility of each student to be familiar with the definitions, policies and procedures concerning academic misconduct. Instances of academic misconduct and classroom disruption will be dealt with in a serious and appropriate manner. The Academic Misconduct Code is available at integrity.ou.edu.

By accepting this syllabus, all students agree to the following contract:  “As a member of The University of Oklahoma, I understand that enrollment creates special obligations beyond those attendant upon membership in the general society. In addition to the requirement of compliance with the general law, I assume the obligation to comply with all University policies and campus regulations. I understand that behavior that it considered, by the instructor; to be a disruption or obstruction of teaching will not be tolerated. I further understand that if my behavior is considered to be of such a nature, I will be asked to leave the classroom and may be formally charged under The University of Oklahoma Student Code of Responsibilities and Conduct and, if so, will be subject to appropriate sanctions under Title 17 of the Code. I also agree to uphold the academic integrity of The University of Oklahoma. I understand that any incidents of academic misconduct discovered by the instructor will be handled in accordance with the Academic Misconduct Code.”

Religious Holidays:  It is the policy of the University to excuse the absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays.

Attendance/Participation:  Attendance at all class sessions and participation in discussions is expected of all students (and it is part of your grade!) Class sessions will begin on time!  Please be aware that course meeting times may vary (see above).

Team Exercises and Discussions: Students will work in pairs or small teams on several in-class exercises and discussions.  Students will be required to provide brief oral and/or written summaries of this work.

Laboratories: The bulk of the course focuses on completion of eight laboratories.  Individual labs may include field work, wet lab analyses, calculations, data interpretation and analysis and/or supplemental reading and interpretation.  All students must submit individual laboratory write-ups on time

Final Exam: A comprehensive final exam will be conducted on the last day of the session.

Scholarly Review Paper/Presentation: All students enrolled in the graduate-level ZOO5970 course will provide both a written and oral scholarly review of a current refereed journal article.  Students must choose one appropriate, instructor-approved, peer-reviewed, technical journal article from the field of wetland science and managementThe journal Wetlands is a principle source, and several other journals cover related topics, e.g., Wetlands Ecology and Management, Ecological Engineering, Restoration Ecology, Journal of Environmental Quality, Water Research, etc.  Original research germane to the subject may be found in many journals.  Each student will submit a written critical review of the approved article. Scholarly reviews should consist of 1) a brief summary demonstrating that the student understood the technical content of the article and 2) a critical and insightful review of the article. The essence of the scholarly review is that the student demonstrates a critical analysis beyond the author’s discussion and conclusions. Scholarly reviews should be a least three full pages in length (excluding any tables or figures), 12-point Times New Roman font with 1.5-line spacing.  They should include at least five appropriate literature citations that place the approved article in context and help buttress students’ arguments.  In addition, students will provide a 5-10 minute PowerPoint presentation of their scholarly review to the class.

Timely Submissions: Please note that, due to the compressed nature of this course, it is imperative that all students complete reading assignments, laboratories and home works in a timely manner.  No late submissions will be accepted.


Grading Policy
Scholarly Review Paper/Presentation


Robert W. Nairn
President, American Society of Mining and Reclamation (2013-14)
Visiting Research Scientist, Grand River Dam Authority (2013-14)
Director, Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds
Associate Director, Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center
Professor, School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science
University of Oklahoma
202 West Boyd Street, Room 334
Norman, OK 73019
Web: crew.ou.edu & WaTER.ou.edu
E-mail: nairn@ou.edu

Updated December 4, 2013






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Phone: (405) 325-7431 OR
(580) 564-2478
Fax: (580) 564-2479



Updated October 22, 2014 by the Biological Station, uobs@ou.edu or dcobb@ou.edu
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