OSU Extended CampusOregon State University
BOT 440/540 Field Methods in Vegetation Science

About the course

Course objectives

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Vegetation is a collective term for the plants of any area, large or small. For example, scientists talk of the vegetation of Oregon and Washington, the vegetation of Crater Lake National Park, the vegetation of Wizard Island, and the vegetation of a 1000 m2 study plot on Wizard Island.

Vegetation science is the study of the composition, characteristics, and changes of vegetation. (Want examples? See the section of the course on Ecological Background.)

Gathering information from the field is an essential part of many studies in vegetation science, such as rare plant monitoring, vegetation description, and experimentation. The goal of the course is to give you a firm understanding of the concepts and tools needed for describing, monitoring, and experimenting on vegetation. In the course you will explore ecological and statistical material on the course Web site, complete exercises, conduct field projects at your location, and prepare reports describing your field projects and analyses. This course structure — Web-based instruction, field work, and graded projects — aims to build your confidence and provide professional-level training and experience.

I hope that after completing Field Methods in Vegetation Science you will be able — not only to collect field data correctly and efficiently — but to tell if field data collected by others are valid. After all, many of you will be in positions of authority, making important decisions based on field data.


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and Mark V. Wilson

Department of Botany and Plant Pathology

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