Degree Options

At the end of the sophomore year, and after consultation with an advisor, each student will choose a course of study from among the options within the department.

Aquatic Ecology & Conservation Option

This option is designed for both students interested in the research and management of fish, other freshwater and marine organisms, and the ecosystems that sustain them, as well as controlled production of organisms in aquatic systems. For students interested in the controlled production of organisms in aquatic systems, courses in this option are structured to provide the scientific and technological basis of fish culture. Careers are available in state and federal resource agencies; fisheries management companies; nongovernmental conservation organizations; environmental consulting firms; and private consultation. In addition, careers may be available in supporting areas such as quality control, supply, marketing, distribution, finance, consultation as well as domestic and foreign resource development. This option meets American Fisheries Society requirements for certification as an Associate Fisheries Professional.

Faculty Contact:
Professor: Dr. Del Gatlin
Office: 216 E Heep Laboratory Building
Phone: (979) 847-9334
Email: d-gatlin@tamu.edu

Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Option

This option is designed for students interested in the research, management and conservation of wildlife and the ecosystems that support it.  This option provides considerable flexibility when designing a degree program and allows students to focus on both conservation and management terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Job opportunities are available with state and federal agencies; private land management individuals and companies; state, national and international organizations; environmental consulting firms; and  various private enterprises.  Emphasis areas in this option include:

Wildlife Ecology Emphasis: The wildlife ecology emphasis is for students interested in understanding and managing terrestrial habitats and animals , including game, non-game, and endangered species. The ability to be professionally certified is becoming increasingly important for employment.  Courses taken in this emphasis meet course certification requirements of The Wildlife Society.

Wildlife & Fisheries Management Emphasis: This emphasis is for students interested in understanding and managing both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Courses taken meet course certification requirements of both the American Fisheries Society and The Wildlife Society.

Conservation Biology Emphasis: This emphasis is for students interested in conservation of the earth’s biodiversity. This emphasis allows the student to focus on various ecological environments and socio-economic aspects including urban and/or wetland conservation.

Animal Behavior Management Emphasis: This emphasis prepares students to manage behavioral interactions between humans and wildlife in a variety of settings.  Understanding animal behavior is essential for a career in animal care positions, at nature centers, zoos, aquaria, captive breeding centers, rehabilitation centers, and protected natural areas on public or private lands.   Students will receive instruction in program development and presentation, curation and display of museum collections, and the administration of public science educational facilities. Possible career opportunities include animal damage control/wildlife service specialist, interpretive naturalist, or animal trainer. Students in this emphasis are prepared for careers in natural history and science museums, botanical gardens, nature centers, zoological parks, and wild animal breeding institutions.

Vertebrate Zoology Option

This emphasis provides the rigorous training needed for careers in the fields of ichthyology, herpetology, mammalogy and ornithology, with disciplinary expertise in  areas such as behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, physiology and systematics. It is a flexible program which permits the inclusion of courses specifically required by graduate degree programs as well as schools of dentistry, law, medicine and veterinary medicine.

For students interested in biological diversity and the ecological processes and population interactions that sustain it, courses in this option are designed to provide a strong foundation in basic and applied organismal biology that will prepare students for graduate studies as well as careers within governmental and nongovernmental agencies and environmental firms dealing with biological conservation.

Students who are interested in mathematical and statistical approaches to conservation of endangered species, management of exploited populations, and their habitats will be equipped in basic ecological data analysis and modeling. The demand for professionals who can integrate quantitative methods and ecological concepts is rapidly increasing among government agencies, academia, and the private sector.  Possible careers include entry-level assistant positions in fisheries management, wildlife management, environmental consulting, and research at conservation agencies. This is also suitable for students who plan to obtain a post baccalaureate degree (M.S. or PhD) in ecology and related fields later in order to pursue higher level positions.

Faculty Contact:

Professor: Dr. Kirk Winemiller
Office: 110D Heep Laboratory Building
Phone: (979) 862-4020
Email: k-winemiller@tamu.edu

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