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Web Schedule Summer 2017

Revision Date: 21-Apr-17

BIO-2250-VM01 - Freshwater Ecology

Synonym: 159733
Location: Montpelier
Credits: 3 (45 hours)
Day/Times: Monday, 08:30A - 12:00P
Semester Dates: 05-22-2017 to 08-07-2017
Last day to drop without a grade: 06-06-2017 - Refund Policy
Last day to withdraw (W grade): 07-07-2017 - Refund Policy
Faculty: Jen Guarino | View Faculty Credentials

Materials/Lab Fees: $15.00
This course has started, please contact the offering academic center about registration

Browse the Moodle Site for this class.

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to the study of aquatic ecosystems including streams, wetlands, and lakes. Topics include watershed processes, biological communities, physical habitats, nutrient cycling, energy flow, and management issues. The course culminates with individual research projects focused on local watersheds. Field trips are required.

Essential Objectives:

1. Describe unique aspects of water as an environment.
2. Observe and identify diverse aquatic organisms.
3. Compare biological communities across different aquatic habitats.
4. Explain differences in energy flow patterns among aquatic ecosystems, including those differences highlighted by the river continuum concept.
5. Analyze population changes over time for different aquatic species.
6. Compare patterns of nutrient cycling in lakes, rivers, and wetlands.
7. Articulate ways in which hydrologic processes affect landscapes, from local to global.
8. Assess the health of aquatic habitats based on biological, chemical, and physical indicators.
9. Discuss laws and politics related to aquatic ecology including the Clean Water Act, National Aquatic Invasive Species Act, Vermont’s Wetlands Protection Act and Vermont’s Act 250.
10. Demonstrate proficiency in understanding, interpreting, evaluating and applying quantitative data and information.

Additional Instructor Pre-Assignments/Notes/Comments:

We spend a lot of time near aquatic ecosystems, but many of us don't know much about the incredible biodiversity they support and the immense value they add to our lives. In this course, we will come to understand aquatic ecology through a focused study of several aquatic ecosystems. Before the first day of class, I encourage you to visit an aquatic ecosystem near you and observe it quietly. Then bring your impressions to class. 


Aquatic ecosystems in Vermont are diverse and fascinating, and we'll take many fieldtrips during this summer cto actively explore them. On the syllabus, please note the fieldtrips, review the Fieldwork Information provided there, and plan accordingly. 

Indoor time will be spent learning aquatic ecology concepts through the following methods:

  • instructor presentations
  • class and group discussions
  • weekly reading assignments and homework
  • small group activities
  • writing assignments
  • lab activities 
  • student oral presentations

Outdoor time will be spent applying concepts and developing an understanding of various aquatic ecosystems using the following methods:

  • carpooling to various fieldwork sites
  • observing and sketching 
  • completing fieldwork data sheets 
  • designing and implementing an individual investigation of an aquatic ecosystem near you
An essential part of of this course is outdoor fieldwork. We will frequently investigate natural environments, guided both by instructor goals and student questions. 
On fieldwork days, please meet in the classroom and we will carpool to our site, unless other arrangements are made in advance. 
How to prepare for fieldwork:


  • Dress in comfortable, durable clothes that can get wet and dirty. 
  • Wear comfortable, durable footwear. Boots or water shoes are preferred.
  • Bring an extra set of clothes (in case of rain or an unfortunate fall into water!).
  • Bring a backpack with a water bottle, sunscreen, and hat. Snack optional but recommended!
  • Raingear if it's rainy.
  • We will go out rain or shine, so please come prepared!


Evaluation Criteria:

  • 15% - attendance (includes arriving on time and staying until the end of class) and participation
  • 20% - homework assignments
  • 15% - short papers
  • 25% - indoor labs and outdoor fieldwork sessions
  • 25% - individual outdoor investigation (written paper and oral presentation)

Grading Criteria:

  • 90% to 100% - A
  • 80% to 89% - B
  • 70% to 79% - C
  • 60% to 69% - D
  • 59% and below - F


Summer 2017 textbook data will be available on April 1. On that date a link will be available below that will take you to eCampus, CCV's bookstore. The information provided there will be for this course only. Please see this page for more information regarding the purchase of textbooks.

Pond and Brook : A Guide to Nature in Freshwater Environments, ISBN: 9780874515091, Univ Pr of New England   $28.92

A Guide to Common Freshwater Invertebrates of North America, ISBN: 9780939923878, McDonald and Woodward Publishing Co   $50.37

Attendance Policy:

Regular attendance and participation in classes are essential components of a student's success in college and are completion requirements for courses at CCV. Missing 3 or more classes will result in a failing grade unless the student and I agree on how the student will make up missed classtime and assignments. A pattern of late arrival or early departure may constitute an absence at my discretion.

If you know that you will be absent, please contact me via email before the class starts, or as soon after the class as possible. This will allow us to discuss ways to cover the missed material. 

Contact Faculty:

Email: Jennifer Guarino
Hiring Coordinator for this course: Martha Rainville

Notes: Please contact me via my CCV email address. If you can't reach me there, please use

Please note: In order to receive accommodations for disabilities in this course, students must make an appointment to see the Americans with Disabilities Coordinator in their site and bring documentation with them.

Academic Honesty: CCV has a commitment to honesty and excellence in academic work and expects the same from all students. Academic dishonesty, or cheating, can occur whenever you present -as your own work- something that you did not do. You can also be guilty of cheating if you help someone else cheat. Being unaware of what constitutes academic dishonesty (such as knowing what plagiarism is) does not absolve a student of the responsibility to be honest in his/her academic work. Academic dishonesty is taken very seriously and may lead to dismissal from the College.

Course description details subject to change. Please refer to this document frequently.

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