Ecology and Conservation Biology (B.S.Ecol.Cons.Biol.)

Improving global environmental conditions requires researchers and other citizens who can understand ecological principles, who can analyze and interpret ecological conditions, and who can predict the consequences of alternative natural resource management decisions. Understanding the importance of social values and policy for ecology and management of rare, threatened, and endangered species and their habitat is necessary to reverse the order of their decline. In the ecology and conservation biology program, students learn to apply biological, ecological, social, and political understanding to solve problems related to long-term conservation of biological diversity and to sustainable management of ecosystems.

This degree combines the biological, ecological, and social sciences to provide

  1. An interdisciplinary understanding of the composition, structure, and processes of ecosystems, and
  2. The skills necessary to provide long-term planning for the conservation and sustainable management of populations, species, and ecosystems.

Students will examine topics from molecular to landscape scales and integrate the social and biophysical worlds. Graduates will be equipped to address the issues and problems of sustainable resource use, conservation of rare, threatened, or endangered biota, management of ecosystems, and long-term conservation of biological diversity. This program is flexible enough to adapt to the interests of individual students, while remaining firmly grounded in ecological principles applicable to species, populations, communities, landscapes, and ecosystems. It is distinctly different from the emphasis on management in the other forestry, wildlife, fisheries, range, and conservation social sciences programs, or the more general environmental science programs. Graduates of the program often continue advanced studies at national and international universities. This natural resources "liberal science" degree can also serve as pre-professional training for law school, or for professional positions in federal, state, and private environmental organizations including local and regional planning groups and consulting firms.

The program requires 120 credits, and students must choose either the Natural Resources Ecology or Conservation Biology option. Students pursuing a B.S.Ecol.Cons.Biol. must receive a grade of 'C' or better in each of the following 4 indicator courses to register in upper division courses in NRS/FISH/FOR/REM/WLF and to graduate with either option: BIOL 114, BIOL 213, FOR 221, NR 321STAT 251, or WLF 220.Before students are allowed to begin their senior thesis or project (NRS 485 or NRS 497), they must attend two evening thesis/project sessions and one senior poster presentation.

Required course work includes the university requirements (see regulation J-3) and:

BIOL 114Organisms and Environments4
BIOL 115Cells and the Evolution of Life3
BIOL 115LCells and the Evolution of Life Laboratory1
BIOL 213Structure and Function Across the Tree of Life4
COMM 101Fundamentals of Oral Communication2
ECON 202Principles of Microeconomics3-4
or ECON 272 Foundations of Economic Analysis
ENGL 317Technical Writing3
or WLF 370 Management and Communication of Scientific Data
FOR 220Forest Biology & Dendrology3
or REM 341 Systematic Botany
FOR 235Society and Natural Resources3
FOR 375Introduction to Spatial Analysis for Natural Resource Management3
MATH 160Survey of Calculus4
or MATH 170 Calculus I
NR 101Exploring Natural Resources2
NR 200Seminar1-16
NR 300Ecology and Conservation Biology Thesis Seminar1
NRS 383Natural Resource and Ecosystem Service Economics3
STAT 251Statistical Methods3
Select one of the following:3-4
Ecology and Population Biology
Principles of Ecology
Ecology
Select one of the following:4
Introduction to Chemistry
and Introduction to Chemistry Laboratory
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
Select one of the following:1
ECB Senior Presentation
ECB Senior Presentation
Ecology and Conservation Biology Senior Thesis
ECB Senior Presentation
ECB Senior Presentation
ECB Senior Presentation
Select one of the following:3
Senior Thesis (Max 6 credits)
Senior Thesis (Max 98 credits)
Senior Thesis (Max 3 credits)
Senior Research and Thesis
Senior Thesis (Max 6 credits)
Options
Select one of the following options:36-43
Total Hours90-114

A. Natural Resources Ecology Option

The Natural Resources Ecology option combines ecological theory, field experience, and quantitative tools to gain an interdisciplinary understanding of the structure and function of ecosystems. This field covers ecological topics from local, regional, and landscape scales while integrating the social and biophysical worlds.

To graduate in this option, students must achieve a 'C' or better in the following six core courses:  FOR 330, NR 200, REM 429, SOIL 205/SOIL 206, and WLF 448.

FOR 330Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology4
REM 429Landscape Ecology3
SOIL 205The Soil Ecosystem3
SOIL 206The Soil Ecosystem Lab1
WLF 448Fish and Wildlife Population Ecology4
Select one of the following:4
Fundamentals of Physics
and Fundamentals of Physics Lab
General Physics I
and General Physics I Lab
Select one Quantitative Resource Analysis Restricted elective from the following:2-4
Remote Sensing of the Environment
GIS Primer
Social Science Methods
Principles of Vegetation Monitoring and Measurement 1
Wildland Habitat Ecology and Assessment 1
Survey Sampling Methods
Statistical Analysis
Wildland Habitat Ecology and Assessment
Select one Resource Management Restricted elective from the following:3-4
Fisheries Management
Silviculture Principles and Practices
Watershed Science and Management
Managing Complex Environmental Systems
Wilderness and Protected Area Management
NRS 496
Integrated Rangeland Management
Wildlife Management
Select 10 credits of Ecology Restricted electives from the following: 210
Advanced Evolution/Population Dynamics
Animal Behavior
Introduction to Forest Insects
Fish Ecology
Fish Ecology Field Techniques and Methods
Limnology
Riparian Ecology and Management
Fire Ecology
Forest and Plant Pathology
Biogeography
Invasive Plant Biology
Restoration Ecology
Rangeland Ecology
Integrated Field Studies in Rangelands
Ecology of Terrestrial Vertebrates
Techniques Laboratory
Conservation Biology
Select one Social/Political Restricted elective from the following:2-3
Conflict Management
Forest Policy and Administration
Land, Resources, and Environment
American Environmental History
Public Involvement in Natural Resource Management
Environmental Communication Skills
Natural Resource Policy
NRS 493
Environmental Philosophy
Politics of the Environment
Total Hours36-40

Courses to total 120 credits for this degree 

B. Conservation Biology Option

The Conservation Biology option is centered around a multidisciplinary curriculum that provides students with training to work in jobs aimed at conserving the earth’s biodiversity. This option provides a broad-based education that covers biological diversity from the genetic level to the landscape level, and it provides additional training in social sciences and management. In the words of Hunter (1996), "Conservation biology is cross-disciplinary, reaching far beyond biology into subjects such as philosophy, economics, and sociology; disciplines that are concerned with the social environment in which we practice conservation--as well as into subjects such as law and education that determine the ways we implement conservation."

To graduate in this option, students must achieve a 'C' or better in the following seven core courses: BIOL 421, NR 200, PHIL 452, REM 429, WLF 440, and WLF 448.

BIOL 310Genetics3
or GENE 314 General Genetics
BIOL 421Advanced Evolution/Population Dynamics3
PHIL 452Environmental Philosophy3
REM 429Landscape Ecology3
WLF 440Conservation Biology3
WLF 448Fish and Wildlife Population Ecology4
Select one Quantitative Resource Analysis Restricted elective from the following:2-4
Remote Sensing of the Environment
GIS Primer
Social Science Methods
Principles of Vegetation Monitoring and Measurement 1
Wildland Habitat Ecology and Assessment 1
Survey Sampling Methods
Statistical Analysis
Select one Resource Management Restricted elective from the following:3-4
Fisheries Management
Silviculture Principles and Practices
Watershed Science and Management
Managing Complex Environmental Systems
Wilderness and Protected Area Management
NRS 496
Integrated Rangeland Management
Wildlife Management
Select 6 credits of Ecology Restricted electives from the following: 26
Animal Behavior
Introduction to Forest Insects
Fish Ecology
Fish Ecology Field Techniques and Methods
Limnology
Riparian Ecology and Management
Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology
Fire Ecology
Forest and Plant Pathology
Biogeography
Invasive Plant Biology
Restoration Ecology
Rangeland Ecology
Integrated Field Studies in Rangelands
Ecology of Terrestrial Vertebrates
Techniques Laboratory
Select one Organismal Biology Restricted elective from the following:3-4
Mammalogy
Herpetology
Ichthyology
Ornithology
Select two Social/Political Restricted electives from the following:4-6
Conflict Management
International Environmental Issues Seminar
Forest Policy and Administration
Land, Resources, and Environment
American Environmental History
Managing Complex Environmental Systems
Environmental Communication Skills
Natural Resource Policy
Public Involvement in Natural Resource Management
Politics of the Environment
Total Hours37-43

Courses to total 120 credits for this degree