Redefining the Classroom

Preparing Students for new Challenges

Our 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.

"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 resources that brought me to LSSU in the first place."

-Jon Throop, '12


Lake Superior State University's BIOL337 ecology class poses with an unexpected find they made along a Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., public hiking trail. Professor Greg Zimmerman discovered the "Himalayan Touch-Me-Not" after his class conducted a biomass sweep through the city's Minneapolis Woods area. Students subsequently pulled all of the plants they could find as a service project. Zimmerman hastens to add that the illegal alien should not be confused with the region's "Spotted Touch-Me-Not" or "Jewelweed," a perfectly welcome native plant. Lake Superior State University student team sets a fyke net to collect fish and other aquatic organisms during a June 24 run on Ashmun Bay, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Federally-funded through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring project monitors birds, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, and water quality to develop ecological indicators of wetland health. The information helps identify and prioritize coastal wetlands for conservation and restoration. Since 2010, LSSU's Aquatic Research Laboratory has collected data for the effort in eastern Lake Superior and northern Lake Huron coastal wetlands.

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


Low Student to Faculty Ratio

Biology students at LSSU benefit from a low student to faculty ratio. Most upper level classes have 30 students or less and laboratory sections are often limited to less than 15 students. This affords the faculty time to interact individually with closely with students to ensure that they have the opportunity to apply the laboratory and field skills required of professional scientists.

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