Wet and Wild: A Short Introduction to Wetland Ecology

In this one hour talk Paul introduces some fundamental concepts in wetland ecology, starting with an explanation of what makes an area a wetland. The video includes 10 minutes for discussion at the end.

Read more about the talk

Wetlands are topic of concern for scientists, naturalists and conservationists. They are also vital habitat for millions of wild creatures.  In this film Dr. Paul Keddy, author of Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (Cambridge University Press, 2010) gives a public talk introducing wetlands.  He begins with an overview of what makes are area a wetland.  He then moves on to topics including: (1) the four different kinds of wetland, (2) the ecological services provided by wetlands, and (3) some simple rules for their conservation.

The examples in this talk range from the Amazon River in South America, and the West Siberian peatland in central Russia, to local examples near Keddy’s home including the Mississippi Lake alluvial wetland and the Appleton Swamp where he used to canoe when young.

This presentation was given to the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists in Almonte, Ontario on 20 February 2014. But the same scientific principles apply, whenever or wherever you happen to be watching.

 This talk can be enjoyed at three levels:

(1)   It can be enjoyed as a simple foray into wet places to meet some of the strange and beautiful creatures that live there. Meet the Mata mata! And the Arapaima!

(2)    It can be viewed as an introduction to the key processes that create and maintain wetlands.  If you understand only a few basic scientific principles, you actually will know a good deal about wetland conditions and wetland species.

(3)   It can be studied as a personal introduction to his book, Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation. Think of it as Chapters 1 and 2, and then some of Chapter 14.

Key terms to watch for and remember

  • anoxia, hypoxia
  • flood pulses
  • swamp
  • marsh
  • fen
  • bog
  • peatland
  • wetland evaluation
  • alluvial or riverine wetlands