This is the most recent course syllabus


BI/FW 421/521 Aquatic Biological Invasions

4 credits Fall Term

Begin 24 Sept End 28 Oct 2012

Grades due by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec 6th 



John Chapman, Marine Invasion Ecologist                                  Monday - Wednesday

Fisheries & Wildlife, HMSC                                                  Hours ~ (Monday 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM and 3:00-6:00 PM [for the tides]

541-867-0235                                                                                Wednesday 10:30 AM-12:00 PM)



Why Study Aquatic Biological Invasions?

            Introduced species, unlike native species are not coevolved and they are capable of permanently altering ecosystems or driving other species or themselves to extinction. While humans depend on a few introduced species for our very existence the vast majority of introduced species have proven to have negative or unknown values.  Few established introduced species have ever been extirpated and they multiply and expand their ranges over time, unlike spilled oil, or nuclear radiation, which deteriorates over time. Modern conservation and resource management is increasingly ineffective without knowledge biological invasions and their emerging economic, social and cultural affects.

 Course Description:

            Aquatic Biological Invasions (4 total credits) FW/BI 421, FW 521 is an Ecampus course overview of the background, natural history, theory, evolution, ecology, politics of invasions by introduced aquatic species and management/conservation efforts in response. The course is for teachers, managers, undergraduate and graduate students in biological or conservation disciplines and will be conducted from 20 June – 22 September.  Class materials will be posted through Ecampus. 


            My goal is to provide fundamental knowledge and analytical skills that students can apply to problems they are interested in contrast to repeating information. Biological invasions are about people through history and the broad diversity of topics spans terrestrial and aquatic systems.   emphasize the natural history of modern aquatic invasions but prevailing ideas, theories, issues and implications, their significance to human welfare and possible responses come from nearly all fields of science. Topics of particular recent scientific interest and also of particular interest expressed by the class are encouraged.  Two to three hours of readings, analysis and discussion is required for each unit of Ecampus classes.  This 4 unit class therefore requires 8-12 hours per week, and 88-132 hours overall, to be consistent with the 4-credit course designation and to be equivalent with 40 hours of lecture in an on-campus class.  I will be available (at least virtually) by phone or internet and in person here at the Hatfield Marine Science Center or anytime during the class by appointment at all stages of the class. Self directed study and curiosity however are major determinants of success in this class. 

 Learning Outcomes:

This class will permit students to:

-   analyze topics in ecology, economics, risk assessment, policy and politics of introduced aquatic species needed for employment in private and public conservation or food science, aquaculture and resource management agencies;

-  apply methods for detecting, measuring and comparing introduced species invasions;

-  compare ecological theories and applications used for managing and controlling biological invasions;

-  find local, state, national and international policy and legislation documents related to introduced species;

-  and write and think critically about to this topic.

 In addition:

-  421 level students will review a topic on biological invasions

-  521 level students will additionally critically analyze and synthesize a topic to address a particular question of their choice.

 What does this course count for?

            Aquatic Biological Invasions is a category II course that can be used to satisfy the following requirements for OSU students:

 Biology Students with a Marine Biology Option
Biology options require 21 credits beyond the basic Biology requirements. If you are in the Marine Biology Option, Aquatic Biological Invasions counts for 3-4 of the 21 credits required for the Track II. Aquatic Biological Invasions Option (see the Marine Biology Checklist).

 Environmental Science Students with an Aquatic Biology Specialization:
Marine Biology fulfills 3-4 credits or your specialization and may count for other specializations in Environmental Science as well (see the ES Checklist and check with your advisor).

 Course Content and Organization

            We will review major areas of biological invasions in this section.  All students taking the course for credit will take formal exams on general topics covered in these papers. All students will participate in on line discussions and will do projects on special topics with the instructor’s assistance that they will present in a paper or poster. The final week will include discussions and comparisons of projects for mutual review, assistance and interaction. 

            Assigned reading materials are on line on the Blackboard course site. Other information sources include the OSU library services for special topics, and the OSU library Ecampus site  These resources will be useful for finding materials of personal interest but, of course , use also any resources are accessible to you where ever you are.  Please notify me immediately for any needed materials that are not available.


            Week              General Topics and Events 2011                                         Start

            1          Introduction                                                                      24 Sept

            2          Modern invasions                                                              1 Oct

            3          Quiz                                                                                   8 Oct

            3          Prehistoric introductions                                                   8 Oct

            4          Biogeography, paleontology climates and earth history    15 Oct

            5         Quiz                                                                                   17 Oct

            5          Vectors and pathways                                                       22 Oct

            6          Definitions, ideas, and probabilities                                 29 Oct

            7          Costs of invasions                                                            5 Nov

            8          Quiz                                                                                  7 Nov

            8          Control, mitigation and management                              12 Nov

            9          Topic review, project/paper review, problem solving       19 Nov

            9          Final                                                                                 21 Nov

           10        Term Poster/Paper                                                           28 Nov

         11        End                                                                5 Dec

                    Grades                                                            5 PM    6 Dec


Learning resources:

            I am here, at the Marine Science Center (really or virtually) all of the time and physically most of the time. All class participants have an ONID account that includes (in addition to the reading list), access to the OSU library electronic and hardcopy library resources.  These loan services electronic PDFs and even books and materials can be mailed to where you are.


Library resources:

(The Hatfield Marine Science Center, where I am, is about 60 miles west of the main campus.  I use the Guin Library here but we all have equal access to all OSU libraries.)

Guin Library Homepage:

Library catalog:

Get help with a subject:

Ask a Librarian:

How do I….    (For general information about using OSU Libraries)

Demos and Guides:

Blackboard Teaching and Learning Portal:


General resources for distant students:

Student Services Center:  1-800-667-1465 (541-737-9204) or email

OSU Summer Session ’09 Information:

Student Online Services:



            Participation in class exchanges are mandatory.



                         Students                             421               521

                        Interaction/discussion         20%              25%

                        Quizzes                                20%              15%

                        Final                                     15%               10%

                        Poster/Paper                        35%               40%

                        \Electronic Presentation      10%              10%

                        Total Possible                     100%              100%

Grades A > 89.5%; B > 79.5%; C > 69.5%; D > 59.5%; F < 59.5%.  Points are assigned strictly on my assessment of your mastery of the class.  There is no curve.

            There will be three quizzes and a final.  Undergrad quizzes will be 5 points each and the final 10.  Grad quizzes will be 3 points each and final for 6. 



Students taking the class for a grade or pass/fail will also be required to take two quizzes and a final test along with a written paper.  I take all of the tests that I give and grade myself and you on the quality of answers to test questions.  I devalue test questions that receive overall poor responses and final scores are based on the reweighted questions.  This is a little complicated but, I hate tests.  They should be stimulating but not onerous.  I am thrilled when I discover that folks "get it".


Class projects:

            This is not a "Writing Intensive Course" (WIC) course: but writing will be a significant approach for our thinking and learning.  This class will include:

            1.  Regular graded and ungraded writing

            2.  A paper that addresses and analyses a significant question by integration of information from more than one source

            3. A significant part of the overall course grade will rest on evaluation of ideas organized in the final paper or poster.

Projects are a good way to reveal to ourselves what we are learning.  Projects also force us to solve problems and communicate results which, are ultimate goals of learning. Paper or poster projects will be graded on effort, relevance, organization, innovation, creativity, clarity and the successful integration of multiple sources of information.  421 students will review a general topic (question) and provide a summary paper or poster.  521 students: will produce a summary and analysis with their own conclusion included in a paper or poster. I encourage projects that are relevant to the particular interest of the students. Projects that address areas not covered in the course or that correct mistakes or extend understanding of topics covered in the course are particularly valued.

The Projects should happen where you are.  I am an aquatic biologist and most familiar with marine aquatic systems.  However, the scope of projects relevant to biological invasions is broad. Any topic about biological invasions in any system likely to be OK in this class but I have to know what it is before you put a lot of energy into it.  Communicate!!  We can find a good project and it should be fun.

Proposal outlines and drafts are required to maximize production schedules and reduce overall stress.  These proposals can begin on 10 October. I will be delighted to get proposals by 18 July but they MUST be in by 25 July. Talking or corresponding with me will very likely accelerate this process and greatly reduce stress.

421 students will summarize a topic for the discussion in 3-5 pages (12 font, single space, 1 inch margins) with notes including figures, tables and bibliographies.

            521 students are particularly encouraged to explore topics relevant to their research or particular interests.  521 students will prepare a 5-8 page analysis and interpretation of a particular topic.  Integration of graduate topics with final reports is encouraged. Group projects are also encouraged but need prior approval.



Extra notes:

Students with documented disabilities who may need accommodations should contact the instructor as early as possible, no later than the first week of the term. To arrange alternative testing, make the request at least one week in advance of the test. Students seeking special accommodations should be registered with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities."


The College of Science follows the university policies on student conduct. These can be found at


The following OSU required warnings seem ominous. However, I have never had problems in any class I have ever been involved with. The OSU warnings and rules are nice to know just in case, BUT the biggest problems are likely to happen if you are getting overwhelmed, falling behind, or having other problems with the course that you fail to tell me about or to let me help you with.


Cheating or plagiarism by students is subject to the disciplinary process outlined in the Student Conduct Regulations. Students are expected to be honest and ethical in their academic work. Academic dishonesty is defined as an intentional act of deception in one of the following areas:

* Cheating- use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information or study aids

* Fabrication- falsification or invention of any information

* Assisting- helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty

* Tampering- altering or interfering with evaluation instruments and documents

* Plagiarism- representing the words or ideas of another person as one's own


Behaviors disruptive to the learning environment will not be tolerated and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for disciplinary action (which, in an ECampus class, must be easy). The goal of Oregon State University is to provide students with the knowledge, skill and wisdom they need to contribute to society. Our rules are formulated to guarantee each student's freedom to learn and to protect the fundamental rights of others. People must treat each other with dignity and respect in order for scholarship to thrive. Behaviors that are disruptive to teaching and learning will not be tolerated, and will be referred to the Student Conduct Program for disciplinary action. Behaviors that create a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, color, religion, age, disability will not be tolerated.


Course Policies:

Exams Preparing makeup exams requires a significant effort. Consequently, makeup exams will not routinely be given. Makeup exams will be given only for missed exams excused in advance by me. For missed exams that can be anticipated ahead of exam time, advance permission from the instructor to miss the exam will be necessary. Re-grades of exams will be performed when there is an error and the student requests it. All requests for re-grading must be made within 3 class days of the day the exam is returned. After that period of time, grades will be fixed and will not be changed.

Incompletes — Take this course only if you plan to finish it in a timely manner (during this term). I assign an "I" or incomplete only when there is a strong and compelling case for doing so (e.g., health reasons, military commitment). I will not consider assigning an incomplete unless the individual has completed over 50% of the course tasks (e.g., papers 1 and 2, and the midterm). Please note that students receiving incompletes are subject to assignment weight reduction (and consequently may not be eligible for A or A- grades) because some of their work will be submitted late.  Incomplete (I) grades are to be given only in emergency cases (usually only for a death in the family, major illness or injury, or birth of your child), and if the student has turned in 80% of the points possible (usually, everything but the final paper). If you are having any difficulty that might prevent your completion of the coursework, please don’t wait until the end of the term; let me know right away.


DisabilitiesAccommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Disability and Access Services (DAS) Students with accommodations approved through DAS are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations.  Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through DAS should contact DAS immediately at 541-737-4098.


Student ConductStudent conduct is governed by the university’s policies, as explained in the Office of Student Conduct: information and regulations


Course policies —  In an academic community, students and faculty, and staff each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment, whether online or in the classroom. Students, faculty, and staff have the responsibility to treat each other with understanding, dignity and respect. Disruption of teaching, administration, research, and other institutional activities is prohibited by Oregon Administrative Rule 576-015-0015 (1) and (2) and is subject to sanctions under university policies, OSU Office of Student Conduct.

Academic Integrity — Students are expected to comply with all regulations pertaining to academic honesty, defined as: An intentional act of deception in which a student seeks to claim credit for the work or effort of another person or uses unauthorized materials or fabricated information in any academic work. For further information, visit HUAvoiding Academic DishonestyUH, or contact the office of Student Conduct and Mediation at 541-737-3656.    

Conduct in the online classroom — Students are expected to conduct themselves in the course (e.g., on discussion boards, email postings) in compliance with the HUuniversity's regulations regarding civilityUH.  Students will be expected to treat all others with the same respect as they would want afforded themselves.  Disrespectful behavior to others (such as harassing behavior, personal insults, inappropriate language) or disruptive behaviors in the course (such as persistent and unreasonable demands for time and attention both in and out of the classroom) is unacceptable and can result in sanctions as defined by Oregon Administrative Rules Division 015 Student Conduct Regulations.


Online Communication & Participation rules 

  • Online threaded discussions are public messages, and will be viewable by the entire class or assigned group members.  If you prefer that only the instructor sees your communication, send it to me by email, and be sure to identify yourself and the class.
  • Posting of personal contact information is discouraged (e.g. telephone numbers, address, personal website address).
  • I will check email frequently and will respond to course-related questions within 24 hours.
  • "Netiquette": All your online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty and tact. Spelling and grammar are very important in an online course. What you put into an online course reflects on your level of professionalism. Helpful references include:  writing online: U and netiquette:
  • Please check the Announcements area and the course syllabus before you ask general course "housekeeping" questions (i.e. how do I submit assignment 3?). If you don't see your answer there, then please contact me.

            Productive and effective online classroom guidelines:

  • The discussion board is your space to interact with your colleagues related to current topics or responses to your colleague’s statements.  It is expected that each student will participate in a mature and respectful fashion. 
  • Participate actively in the discussions . . . AFTER reading the materials and thinking about the issues.
  • Pay close attention to what your classmates write in their online comments. Ask clarifying questions, when appropriate. These questions are meant to probe and shed new light.  Questions should never minimize or devalue comments.
  • Think through and reread your comments before you post them.
  • Assume the best of others in the class and expect the best from them.
  • Value the diversity of the class. Recognize and value the experiences, abilities, and knowledge each person brings to class.
  • Disagree with ideas, but do not make personal attacks. Do not demean or embarrass others.  Do not make sexist, racist, homophobic, or victim-blaming comments at all.
  • Be open to be challenged or confronted on your ideas or prejudices.

Student Assistance

The instructor Email any time or post to discussion boards, depending upon the type of question, will be fine with me. Call any time during the 9-5 work week and if those times are inconvenient, leave a message for a time and number to call (or email address) that would be better. 

Technical If you experience computer difficulties, need help downloading a browser or plug-in, assistance logging into the course, or if you experience any errors or problems while in your online course, contact the OSU Help Desk for assistance.  You can call (541) 737-3474, email or visit the OSU Computer Helpdesk online.


Tutoring —

  • Writing:  OSU offers a range of resources to assist you in becoming a better academic writer. Specifically, you are encouraged utilize the HUOSU Online Writing LabUH and/or the online tutoring service available free through Smarthinking; both of these services are valuable resources to improve your writing and adherence to APA style
  • Other Tutoring: Check online tutoring subjects, (free to Ecampus students) described in the tutoring section of the Ecampus website.

Course Evaluation

I will provide a discussion board for ongoing student comments and suggestions during the term and will allow anonymous posts if they are helpful.  Input about the course during the term is always valuable to me (even when I don’t like the news).  This information might also be valued by students and gives me the opportunity to deal with problems while the current batch of students can still benefit.

OSU Student Evaluation of Teaching — Course evaluation results are extremely important and are used to help me improve this course and the learning experience of future students.  Results from the 19 multiple choice questions are tabulated anonymously and go directly to instructors and department heads.  Student comments on the open-ended questions are compiled and confidentially forwarded to each instructor, per OSU procedures.  The online Student Evaluation of Teaching form is available toward the end of each term, and students are sent instructions by Ecampus. Students can login to “Student Online Services” to respond to the online questionnaire. The results on the form are anonymous and are not tabulated until after grades are posted.