Biodiversity of Oregon's Wetland Plants
ESR 410/510
Summer 2005

Class Time: W 3:30 to 5:50pm; Th, F 1:00 to 5:50pm
Room: 287 Cramer Hall
Instructor: Joseph Maser, Ph.D.
Office Phone: 725-8042
Office: 218B Science Building 2
Office Hours: Weds. 1:00 to 2:30pm and by appointment
Course Description:

Wetlands have been described as transitional areas between terrestrial and aquatic habitats, where the amount of water present is generally the determining factor of the plant species present. This course will introduce and discuss the definition of wetlands and the characteristics of wetland systems.

The course will focus on various wetland communities (emergent marsh, wet prairie, forested wetland, bog, etc.) and the ecology and taxonomy of the plants associated with those communities in Oregon. The course will feature field-based identification of submerged, floating, emergent and woody wetland vegetation. Qualitative collection, preparation and preservation of specimens will be introduced.


Grades will be based on the students' ability to identify wetland plant specimens and wetland community characteristics. Quiz #1 will be a take home quiz in which the students will be asked to collect, identify and label plant species of certain families. Quiz # 2 will involve species identification in the field.

In addition, students will be asked to help in the development of a "Northwestern Oregon Wetland Plants Project" web site, which is on the internet at ESR410/wetplants.html. Students will be graded on preparation of 2-3 web pages describing certain wetland plant species. A sample of the web page can be found at The "template file" to be used is on the disk given to each student. Students will present two of their web pages to the class. A list of plants that can be used for this portion of the class will be given out on the first day of class.

Quiz # 1: 100 points

Quiz # 2: 100 points

Web Page Development: 100 points

Total 300 points

Required Text: Cooke, S. S., ed. 1997. A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington & Northwest Oregon. Seattle Audubon Society and Washington Native Plant Society. Seattle Audubon Society, Seattle WA, 417pp.
Optional Text: Hitchcock, C. L. and A. Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle WA, 730pp.

Course Outline and Schedule

Date Activity
Weds. - June 22 In laboratory
  • Introduction to course and course expectations
  • Definition of a Wetland
  • Characteristics of Wetlands/Communities
  • Basic Plant Anatomy
Thurs. - June 23 In laboratory
  • Introduction to plant keys
  • Use keys - 2 specimens
  • Introduction to Sedge Family (Cyperaceae)
  • Herbarium
  • Collection Methods
Fri. - June 24 Field - Tualitan Hills Nature Park (Forested/Scrub-Shrub)
Weds. - June 29 In laboratory
  • Introduction to Grasses (Poaceae)
  • Introduction to Juncus (Juncaceae)
Thurs. - June 30 Field - Cook Park (Riverine, emergent marsh)
Fri. - July 1

Field - Beggars Tick Marsh (emergent marsh)

Weds. - July 6 In laboratory
  • Introduction to Willows (Salix)
  • Quiz #1 Due
Thurs. - July 7 Field - Sandy River Delta (forested wetland)
Field - Mirror Lake (emergent marsh)
Fri. - July 8 Field - Pemberton Bog (bog and emergent marsh)
Weds. - July 13 Field - Brown Park Wetland (shrub/open water/emergent)
Thurs. - July 14 Quiz # 2 - In the Field
Fri. - July 15 In laboratory
  • Web Pages Due
  • Presentation of 2 species

Field Equipment

(Class goes in the field rain or shine)