Lake Superior State University
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Prior to my time at Lake State, my professors rarely learned students' names and my classes often felt impersonal. I didn't realize how important that faculty interaction could be until I spent a few weeks here. The personal attention is motivating, often pushing me to work harder than I would have otherwise.

Fisheries & Wildlife '10

School of Biological Sciences

Programs > Conservation Biology

The Conservation Biology program prepares students for careers where they can make a contribution to mitigating wide-ranging challenges such as invasive species, altered landscapes, species extinctions, or the restoration of degraded aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Our selection of rigorous field based courses in watersheds, soils, forestry, ecology (general, fish, wildlife or plant), and organisms (mammalogy, ornithology, ichthyology, or entomology) offers an unparalleled set of foundational courses in the natural sciences. Combining this coursework with interdisciplinary courses in social dimensions, political science, sociology, business/economics, communication and GIS technology adds the breadth needed to integrate biological, economic, and policy issues in the formulation of sustainable solutions. Electives allow students to tailor the program to their interests and sustainable solutions. Electives allow students to tailor the program to their interests and career goals. Students may choose as a capstone experience a summer semester internship working in a professional capacity in conservation biology, or a senior thesis research project. Students will be prepared for careers or for graduate work in conservation biology or a broad range of related areas.

Career Options
  • Conservation Biologist/Scientist
  • Fish or Wildlife Biologist
  • Freshwater or Marine Biologist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Field Biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Restoration Ecologist
  • Wildlife Refuge Manager
  • Endangered species/Non-game biologist
  • Naturalist or Interpreter
  • Environmental educator or outreach coordinator
Internships

Jon Throop"The Conservation Biology program has provided me
the basic skills, background knowledge and the application of natural resources management in various biological fields. Through the internship option of the program I'm able to work at the Grand Travers Regional Land Conservancy protecting the resoureces that brough me to LSSU in the first place."

-Jon Throop

More Information
Other Programs Offered in Biology
Undergraduate Research

Andrew TruaxAndrew Truax ('11) is completing his senior thesis assessing the distribution of aquatic invasive species (rusty crayfish, zebra mussels, and quagga mussels) in the St. Marys River. Along with his field work, he is conducting an economic survey of Chippewa County residents that will enable him to determine how willing the local community is to pay for management and prevention of aquatic invasive species in the river.

Conservation Biology in Action

Dr. Greg ZimmermanEach year the Chippewa/East Mackinac Conservation District awards the Earth Steward Award in recognition of a local person's or group's contribution to advancing conservation in the district. This year's (2011) award went to Dr. Gregory Zimmerman in recognition of his and his students work on researching the potential for using reed canary grass, an invasive species abundant in the EUP, as stock for pellet fuel. Zimmerman and his students have demonstrated that reed canary grass can be made into pellets that perform comparably to wood pellets when burned in a multi-fuel pellet stove (i.e., capable of handling high ash content fuels) and that sufficient stock of reed canary grass exists to be a feasible source of fuel. Follow-up research is underway to examine the economic cost/benefit of the production process.

 

Investigat- ing the Use of QPCR: An Early Detection Method for Toxic Cyano- bacterial Bloom

Garrett Aderman

Harmful algal blooms (HABs), including cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs), are a global phenomenon. In the US, annual economic loss due to HABs was recently estimated at $82 million. Furthermore, the consensus amongst the scientific community is that the frequency and duration of CHABs in freshwater systems will increase as a result of climate change and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. Due to the ability of some strains of CHAB genera to produce toxic compounds, larger and more sustained CHAB events will become an even greater threat to drinking water. Of all the known cyantoxoins, one of the most ubiquitous is microcystin (MCY). Humans are primarily exposed to cyantoxins through drinking water consumption and accidental ingestion of recreational water. The increasing risk presented by these toxins requires health officials and utilities to improve their ability to track the occurrence and relative toxicity. Current tracking methods do not distinguish between toxic and non-toxic strains. Biochemical techniques for analyzing the toxins are showing considerable potential as they are relatively simple to run and low cost. My goal was to develop a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method to measure the amount of mcyE gene in a Lake Erie drinking water and compare the levels of the mcyE to toxin produced. This is the first step to determining if the presence of mcyE of the mycrocystin synthestase gene cluster in Microcystits, Planktothrix and Anabaena cells can be used as the quantitative measurement in an early detection warning system for recreational and drinking waters.

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