Field Techniques in Wetlands

biol 358 - Great Lakes - SUmmer Session I


A comprehensive overview of wetland ecosystem processes, values, legislation, and quantification. Students will learn to evaluate and quantify soils, hydrologic status, and vegetation in a variety of wetland ecosystems including bogs, emergent marshes, forested wetlands, and wetlands converted for agriculture, and to apply standard tools developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to assess wetland extent and habitat quality. Prerequisite: one year of general biology or one semester of general ecology. (4-credits)


Professor: Dr. Heath Garris

Meets: Wednesday & Friday


knowledge gained

Wetland ecosystem properties, services, and significance

History and current regulatory framework for wetlands

Ecosystem feedback to global processes (carbon balance and sequestration)


skills developed

Habitat identification and delineation (USACoE Wetland Delineation)

Habitat quality assessment (Michigan Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands (MiRAM) & Indices of Biotic Integrity)

Hydrologic determination

Basic Soil Survey and Characterization

Vegetation survey

Geodatabase development and mapping (ArcGIS)

Technical reporting for regulatory compliance


field experiences

Beaver Pond

Upper Manistee Headwaters Preserve

Sunset Trail Swamp

Skegmog Lake Wildlife Area

Big Twin Lake

Manistee Lake

Bear Lake Bog

Grass River Natural Area