Students who select Ecosystems Studies address problems ranging from population ecology and species conservation to larger scale investigations of landscape ecology, biogeography, nutrient dynamics, trophic interactions, and restoration ecology. Research projects are conducted in natural, managed, and disturbed ecosystems, often taking advantage of the University's location on the shores of Green Bay, a short distance from world-class wetlands, extensive Western Great Lakes forests, and the Great Lakes themselves. Recently developed programs in tropical ecology also provide opportunities for student research in Central America. The Cofrin Center for Biodiversity and University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Program located on the UW-Green Bay campus often provide staff resources and support for research projects in Ecosystem Studies.
The Ecosystems Studies, and Environmental Technology & Analysis areas of emphasis prepare students to:
- design and conduct scientific investigations;
- collect, evaluate, and interpret data;
- make responsible decisions to implement appropriate technologies and strategies to solve environmental problems, and;
- effectively communicate the results of environmental studies to other scientists, decision makers and the general public.
Tools used by students in this area of emphasis include GIS software, taxonomic collections including the Richter Museum of Natural History and University Herbarium, data management and statistical analysis programs, and ecological monitoring equipment or methods. Skills developed in the Ecosystems Studies option have helped graduates find employment as government field ecologist, environmental consultants, science educators, land managers, and academic scientists.
One of the courses in the Ecosytems Studies emphasis is a field course led by the Earth Science Faculty. The course is open to both graduate students and undergraduates. Student went to Wausau, Baraboo, the Kettle Moraine area, and similar areas in Wisconsin to get a hands on look at the geology and landscape of the areas. View the photo gallery from the 2005 trip.