PLNT*6280 Invasive Plant Ecology in Natural and Agricultural Systems

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The following description is for the course offering in Winter 2023 and is subject to change. It is provided for information only. The course outline distributed to the class at the beginning of the semester describes the course content and delivery, and defines the methods and criteria to be used in establishing the final grades for the course. Offered in odd-numbered years.

A course designed to explain the ecological processes involved in biological invasions. The main objective of the course is to teach students how key ecological processes affect the potential for plant species to become invasive and how this knowledge can aid in prevention and management practices in natural and agricultural settings.


Teaching Assistant:

Credit Weight:


Course Level:

  • Graduate

Academic Department (or campus):

Department of Plant Agriculture



Semester Offering:

  • Winter

Class Schedule and Location:

To be announced.

Learning outcomes:

After successfully completing the course, students will:
  1. be able to synthesize current knowledge published in peer reviewed journals, and  draw out the implications for ecological, agronomic, social, environmental and economic themes in a research proposal and through in class discussion groups (Literacy)
  2. have the depth and breadth of understanding of the basic ecological  concepts that contribute to the invasive potential of a species,  and how the management and overall health of an ecosystem can influence the ability of a species to invade (Global Understanding)
  3. be able to learn independently through observation and discussion (Independence of Thought)

Lecture Content:

  • Introduction to invasion ecology: definitions
  • Population ecology: distribution, abundance, structure and dynamics
  • Plant reproduction: sexual, asexual and the role of seeds
  • Phenology, resource allocation, phenotypic plasticity and senescence
  • Competition
  • Herbivory, parasitism and mutualism
  • Community ecology: diversity, succession and assembly
  • Landscape scales  
Labs & Seminars:

Not applicable

Course Assignments and Tests:

Assignment or Test Contribution to Final Mark Learning Outcomes Assessed

Research Proposal


1, 2, 3

Paper Discussion


1, 3




Case Study


1, 2, 3

Final examination:

Not applicable

Course Resources:

Required Texts:


Recommended Texts:

Invasive plant ecology in natural and agricultural systems. 2nd edition. Barbara Booth, Stephen Murphy, and Clarence Swanton.

Lab Manual:

Not applicable

Other Resources:

Not applicable

Field Trips:

Not applicable

Additional Costs:


Course Policies:

Grading Policies:

Reading assignments for discussion will be assigned by the instructor and sent via email to the entire class at least one week prior to the established date of the discussion. All assignments must be completed and handed to the instructor at the end of the assigned period. Completion of late assignments will be negotiated with the instructor.

Course Policy on Group Work:

All course work will be completed independently.

Course Policy regarding use of electronic devices and recording of lectures:

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor.  When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor

Other Course Information:

University Policies

Academic Consideration

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