Redefining the Classroom


Biology is a great field of study and Lake Superior State University is a great place to study it. Whether you’re interested in natural resources ecology, human biology, clinical lab sciences, genetics, anatomy, physiology, plants, animals, microbes, indoor or outdoor biology, our program offers a number of unique advantages for undergraduate students.

You’ll get to work closely with your professors, who are dedicated teachers and experts in their field. You’ll get great hands-on experiences in labs. Most of our classes feature laboratory sections in which you’ll work with sophisticated equipment and/or in great field sites.

We have state-of-the art equipment, especially in genetics and physiology. We have a close relationship with the Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences which has superb facilities for analytic chemistry and GIS. We also have an animal behavior lab students can use for their research.

The Aquatic Research Lab is only one of a few such facilities across the U.S. Students get a chance to work in the hatchery operation, producing Atlantic salmon for release in the St. Marys River or on any of several other aquatic ecology research projects housed at the Lab.

We offer a wealth of out-of-class experiences. You’ll work with a professor on your own senior thesis research project. You may also work in the department helping set up labs, or on a professor’s research project, or at our Aquatic Research Lab. Or you may work for the Learning Center, helping other students excel in biology classes. Our active student organizations also provide great opportunities for out-of-class experiences directly in your field.

Our location provides unsurpassed field sites. Several types of forests, grassy openings, wetlands, inland lakes and rivers, the St. Marys River and of course all three of the Upper Great Lakes are within an hour’s drive of campus (some just minutes from campus!). Notable fish and wildlife species in these habitats include lake sturgeon, moose, elk, fishers and martins, goshawks and many others, including threatened and endangered species of plants and animals. You will visit these sites often in labs and for other projects. No other university offers access to as many varied field sites as we do.

LSSU, DNR partnership means more Atlantic salmon in Michigan waters

Michigan became world-famous when it made a daring effort to revitalize the Great Lakes sport fishery by stocking Pacific salmon in the 1960s. While Chinook and Coho fishing still remain very good overall, Michigan is now looking at residents of the other ocean to beef up the Great Lakes fishery: Atlantic salmon.

Highly prized around the world for their sporting characteristics, Atlantic salmon are currently thriving in the St. Marys River, the connecting water that drains Lake Superior and flows into Lake Huron. Michigan Department of Natural Resources' Fisheries Division personnel hope to expand the Atlantic salmon fishery further into Lake Huron.

Atlantics already have a presence in Lake Huron, often turning up for sport fishermen in a number of ports. At times, the Atlantic salmon catch surpasses the Pacific salmon catch at some locations, such as De Tour. "We're not replacing Pacific salmon with Atlantics," explained Todd Grischke, the DNR's Lake Huron Basin coordinator.

"We're trying to bolster the existing fishery and create an additional river-return fishery in other locations. "And we're adapting to the changes in the ecosystem. Since the invasion of quagga mussels, the lake no longer produces the alewives that are necessary to support a large Chinook population.

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Professor Jason Garvon

"Science is as an active process that happens beyond any formal classroom. My class sizes are small enough to provide me an opportunity to know my students and assess their learning strengths. I have several small research projects going on now where students can help me get data while gaining a first-hand experience with biological research."

--Jason Garvon

Biology professor Jason Garvon is mentor, facilitator, confidant, and supporter of his students. He views science as an active process that must happen beyond the formal classroom. His views of education and philosophy of science are supported by the learning environment at LSSU. Class sizes are small enough to provide him with the opportunity to know my students and assess their learning strengths and weaknesses. Even his larger introductory biology course has no more than 24 students. It is in this relaxed atmosphere that he gets to know his students and discuss everyday issues with them. In his labs, students test their new knowledge of science by designing and conducting their own experiments. Students learn science by doing science, and part of this is helping faculty with research as well as conducting their own senior thesis research. Garvon has several research projects going on where students can get first hand experience with biological research. As for the learning beyond the classroom, Garvon co-advises both the LSSU Fisheries and Wildlife Club and the LSSU Student Chapter of Ducks Unlimited. Students help raise money through a banquet for wetlands conservation.