ENVS-474/574 ECOL-474/574 WFSC-474/574 - 4 Units

Fall Semester 2016 - Tues and Thur. 1:00 to 3:50
Room 511 CBS Building
Course Web Site

Course D2L Site -

Course description: The course will cover aspects of the biology and ecology of aquatic vascular plants from freshwater (marsh and riparian) and estuarine environments. We will also examine the construction and uses of constructed wetlands. The course will include short field trips to a constructed wetland and local riparian zones during the class period and a Saturday trip to a local wetland in Southern Arizona.

Course objectives: Aquatic plants are generally defined as those higher (vascular) plants completing their life cycles wholly or partly in a submerged state or in saturated soil. The goals of this course are: i) to learn the basic taxonomy of common aquatic plants, ii) to become familiar with the habitats where aquatic plants are commonly found, iii) to understand the functioning of nutrient cycles in aquatic systems, iv) to know the various definitions of wetlands and important legislation applicable to wetlands, v) to understand the concepts of mitigation, restoration, constructed wetlands, effluent dominated streams and wetlands, and how these are implemented, vi) become familiar with control and management of aquatic plants in perturbed and man-made ecosystems, vii) become familiar with aquatic nuisance plant species and their role in the environment, viii) become familiar with the primary literature (scientific journals and reference books) in this field. The lab portion will focus on use of small ecosystems for study, short field trips to local wetlands, and familiarization with field instruments and water testing kits.

Instructor: Fitzsimmons ph. 820-0643
Instructor e-mail:

TA: Valerisa Joe

Office Hours: T & Th before or after class in CBS 511, or by appointment.

Textbook:Recommended Wetlands 5th Ed., Mitsch and Gosselink or 4th or 3rd editions - Available from Amazon

past course notes are online and this year's course notes will be posted.

Exams: will be comprehensive and questions will come from lectures, textbooks, labs, student presentations, handouts and field trips. (Hint: topics which arise in two or more of these areas are the most likely to show up on exams.) Mid-terms will be reviewed in the class period following the exam. Short field trips will be conducted during the class period and attendance is required.

Grading: 2 mid-terms (higher score counts for 20%, lower score 15%)
final 15%
papers 20%
labs and plant collection 10%
presentation & participation 20%

474/574 Team presentations - undergrads will be divided into teams, each led by a graduate student. Each team will have a topic to review and then to present as a team to the entire class. Grade will apply to entire team - important exercise on typical project situation in environmental professions.

574 Research Project: Design, conduct and report a field or lab experiment developed with the instructors.

Term Paper: Pick subject, run keyword search in library, read pertinent literature on topic, prepare review paper

We expect the term paper to be a review of a topic of interest within the fields of aquatic plants or wetlands biology or ecology. The format should include a short abstract which will introduce the topic and provide a synopsis of the rest of the paper. The Introduction of the paper should discuss the topic in more detail and present some background information. The important literature (peer reviewed) should be brought up at this point, both text and journal articles would be appropriate. The Discussion section should be your interpretation of how all this information fits together. You should provide a synthesis of information you have found from various sources. It is expected that not all of the references will deal with your exact subject. The point is that you are examining the literature to extract bits and pieces from various sources and studies to better understand and update one specific topic. By looking at the basic published information and incorporating ancillary information from the most current literature you should be able to prepare a report which is completely up to date. The goal is to cover the topic with a well written paper, rather than a certain number of words or pages. But since several people will ask this anyway, we would expect the paper will take eight to ten pages of double spaced text with at least six referenced journal articles. Graphics are fine to include, either original or copies from literature. In fact tables or graphs generated from various studies are an excellent tool for a review paper.

Class participation: Much of the learning from this course comes from discussions during labs, field trips and during student presentations. Students who do not take part in these activities will be at a disadvantage to students who do take part in discussions and activities. The 10% of the grade devoted to participation and presentation will be graded on the oral presentation and participation in class discussions.

Late and missed assignments: Scores on assignments turned in late will be reduced 10% per day. Lectures, labs, field trips and student presentations are integral to the course structure and exam questions will come from all these aspects. In case of missed lectures, labs, or field trips, handouts will be provided but student is responsible for getting class notes. For extenuating circumstances, call and leave message at 626-3324.

Course grades: Course grades will be determined on a

Tentative Lecture + Lab Schedule: Fall Semester 2016 Readings: Note chapter numbers vary by Edition of textbook

01. Aug. 23 Introductions - Overview - Chap. 1
02. Aug. 25 Definitions and Wetlands of the World - Chap. 2 & 3
03. Aug. 30 Wetlands of North America - Chap. 3
04. Sept. 01 Classifications, Inventory and Delineations - Chap. 3 and 8.
05. Sept. 06 Inland Wetlands - Chap. 3
06. Sept. 08 Salt Marshes - Chap. 3 and 8
07. Sept. 13 Field Trip to Herbarium
08. Sept. 15 Mangroves - Chap. 3 and 8
09. Sept. 20 Quiz, Hydrology, Water Budgets and Models - Chap. 4
10. Sept. 22 Nutrient Cycling - Chap. 5 - Quiz
11. Sept. 27 Biological Adaptations Chap. 6
12. Sept. 29 Limnology - Chap. 7 First Papers Due First Round of Student presentations
13. Oct. 04 Riparian Zones and Mississippi Wetlands - Chap. 3 and 8
14. Oct. 06 Sea Grass Beds
15. Oct. 11 Field Trip to Sweetwater Wetland
16. Oct. 13 Riparian Zones - Chap. 3 and 8;
17. Oct. 18 Mid Term
18. Oct. 20 Riparian Zones - Chap. 3 and 8
19. Oct. 25 Constructed Wetlands - Chap. 12 and 13
20. Oct. 27 San Pedro River - CD Rom
21. Nov. 01 Vernal Pools and Salton Sea
22. Nov. 03 Santa Cruz - An Effluent-Dominated Stream,
23. Nov. 08 Invasive Species - Aquatic Nuisance Species (Laws and Impacts) Chap 14.
23. Nov. 10 Wetland Management, Laws, Protection
24. Nov. 15 Control & Management of Aquatic Plants - Chap. 13 and 14 with Physical and Chemical- Handouts
25. Nov. 17 Control & Management of Aquatic Plants - Handouts Mechanical and Biological Controls
26. Nov. 22 Second Mid-Term,
27. Nov. 24 Thanksgiving Holiday
28. Nov. 29 Second papers Due - Student Presentations Handouts
29. Dec. 01 Environmental Issues - Case Studies Grad Experimental Paper Due , Student Presentations
30. Dec. 06 Student Presentations
Dec. 8 Reading day (a.k.a. Dead Day)
Dec. 13 1:00 - 3:00 Final Exam (Tuesday)

Course lecture notes
Photos from course field trips and of aquatic plants
Course Related Links:

Special Needs and Accommodations Statement
Students who need special accommodation or services should contact the Disability Resources Center, 1224 East Lowell Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, (520) 621-3268, FAX (520) 621-9423, email:, You must register and request that the Center or DRC send me official notification of your accommodations needs as soon as possible. Please plan to meet with me by appointment or during office hours to discuss accommodations and how my course requirements and activities may impact your ability to fully participate. The need for accommodations must be documented by the appropriate office.
Student Code of Academic Integrity
Students are encouraged to share intellectual views and discuss freely the principles and applications of course materials. However, graded work/exercises must be the product of independent effort unless otherwise instructed. Students are expected to adhere to the UA Code of Academic Integrity as described in the UA General Catalog. See:
Confidentiality of Student Records
FERPA Student Records

Subject to Change Statement:
Information contained in the course syllabus, other than the grade and absence policy, may be subject to change with advance notice, as deemed appropriate by the instructor.

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