Field Sites
  Field Trips

Watershed Systems science
UNIV 299/GEOL 299/BIOL 299/ENST 299

Watersheds are a fundamental division of landscapes that regulate water flow and ecosystems. The growing human population exerts immense pressure on watersheds requiring development of scientifically sound management strategies. The course will allow students to develop a framework for understanding and integrating physical, chemical, and biological watershed processes from a systems perspective at small and large scales from headwater tributaries to the Susquehanna River. Students will develop an appreciation of complexity of natural watershed systems and human interactions and a sense of "watershed awareness" in contrast with geopolitical boundaries.

This course will be taught through lectures, discussions, and field studies, with an emphasis on an experiential approach. Students will participate in field studies at Roaring Creek Experimental Watershed, the Susquehanna River, and numerous tributary watersheds, including Shamokin Creek, Buffalo Creek, and Lycoming Creek. Short lab projects will be assigned throughout the semester as well as a term project involving data collection, analysis, and videography.


  • Where does the water go when it rains on the landscape?
  • How long does sediment and water reside in the watershed?
  • What physical, biological, and chemical interactions occur along the pathways?
  • How do stream channels develop and operate?
  • How do biota and chemistry respond to storm events?
  • How do watersheds evolve over human time scales and longer time scales?
  • What governs whether watersheds/streams can neutralize acidity?
  • What role do terrestrial ecosystems play in watershed processes?
  • What are some major pollution problems?



Ritter House • 835 Fraternity Road • Bucknell University • Lewisburg, PA 17837 • (570)577–1490
This initiative is funded in large part by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.