Instructor: John Syring
Meets: Wednesdays and Saturdays
Prereq.: One college-level course in biology or permission of instructor.
Fulfills the LSA Natural Science Distribution requirement.
This field course is focused on the ecology of forest species and the characteristics of ecological systems which support them. Basic concepts of ecosystem structure and function are emphasized in lectures, discussions, and twice-weekly field trips to diverse upland and wetland forests in and surrounding the Biological Station. These include some of the finest old-growth hardwood and conifer forests in Michigan as well as dry, fire-prone pine plains, mesic northern hemlock-hardwood forests on moraines, diverse forested wetlands, and red oak forests which are the legacy of Native American agriculture. Emphasis is placed on the integration of topography, soil, and vegetation at each field site. The dynamics of fire ecology, regeneration ecology, and forest succession are stressed. Knowledge of forest species and ecosystem components through hands-on field work provide the basis for understanding why plants grow where they do. This ecocentric approach is applicable in temperate forest ecosystems around the world.