Lake Superior State University
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Alum Success

"LSSU has a great reputation for placing students in graduate and professional schools. Many of my classmates from LSSU are now pursuing graduate and professional studies at some of the finest universities in Canada and the United States."

"The student-faculty interaction and the ability to conduct research at the undergraduate level really helped me to achieve success in a competitive graduate program. My professors at LSSU were always interested in helping us succeed."

Luke Ferra of Sault Ste. Marie graduated from LSSU in 2006 with a degree in biology and is now working toward a master's degree in epidemiology at University of Western Ontario in London. He plans to continue his studies in the medical sciences.

Luke Fera '06
Biology Major

School of Biological Sciences

Programs > Natural Resources Technology

The Natural Resources Technology program prepares students for technician-level positions in natural resources by emphasizing field skills and practical applications of theoretical concepts.  Hands-on coursework builds strong ecological understanding while enhancing communication skills and socioeconomic linkages to natural resources.  This program can be taken as a stand alone two-year program, can constitute the first half of the B.S. degree in Parks and Recreation Management, or it can be combined with a B.S. in Criminal Justice to prepare a student for a career in conservation law. With additional coursework, the NRT program can also transition into a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Management.

Hands-On Experience

Natural Resources Technology (NRT) students have opportunities to gain hands-on experience while working on real-world practical issues.  Recently students have been working closely with the city of Sault Sainte Marie to inventory trees on city lands, assess risks due to invasive tree pests, and develop management strategies to reduce risks associated with invasive insects and diseases.  This experience integrates their knowledge gained in courses including Principles of Forestry, Air Photo Interpretation, and Introduction to GIS.

Student Profile

Shaun McKeon"The Natural Resources program at LSSU has been a great choice for me as a student.  It has given me a greater understanding of the natural world around me and given me the opportunity to learn more about protecting our environment.  It has also been very beneficial when applying for jobs.  Having an environmental background in today's market opens more opportunities, and having this Associates Degree has been beneficial.  Protecting and conserving the natural resources that surround us is an important part in preserving nature for future generations.  The Natural Resources Technology Degree is designed to instill a sense of stewardship into its students.  By encouraging a curriculum that covers a broad array of classes from Air Photo and Map Interpretation to Soils management principles as well as Wildland Forest Fire Fighting the N.R.T. degree really inspires think about the natural world surrounding them."

- Shaun McKeon

More Information
Other Programs Offered in Biology


Career Options

Students completing the NRT Associate's degree will be well-positioned to pursue technician level positions in forestry, wildlife, fisheries, and park management. Technicians are often employed to assist with ecological data collection in the field and laboratory and to communicate effectively with the public. These positions may be physically demanding, requiring employees to adapt to rigorous and sometimes unpleasant field situations (poor weather, biting insects). Employers include federal natural resource agencies (US Geological Survey, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service), state natural resource agencies (California Department of Fish and Game, Michigan Department of Natural Resources), local government agencies (county conservation districts, city parks), not-for-profit organizations (land conservancies), and the private sector (environmental consulting firms)


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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