Aquatic Sciences: Research and Management


More than two-thirds of the Earthí¢â‚¬â„¢s surface is covered with water, so it is not surprising that the planetí¢â‚¬â„¢s oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands are considered valuable natural resources and, increasingly, focal points for concerns about usage, pollution and depletion. Humansí¢â‚¬â„¢ ever-growing encroachment on aquatic ecosystems has created a strong demand for scientists trained in the sustainable management of these resources.

The Aquatic Sciences field of study provides training in basic and applied sciences relevant to the worldí¢â‚¬â„¢s growing water crisis and the management of aquatic ecosystems. Faculty include professors and research scientists from a number of disciplines and departments, with interests covering a wide range of subjects, such as fisheries science, aquatic entomology and ecosystem modeling.

What you will study

During your coursework, you will learn the fundamental physical, chemical and biological concepts and basic techniques necessary for the study of aquatic ecosystems and focus on a variety of related subject areas, including fisheries, watershed management, river/stream ecology, wetland science, aquatic-conservation biology and Great Lakes ecosystems. In addition, you will study the physiological, behavioral and numerical responses of fish to their environment and learn how environmental factors influence energetics growth, survival, behavior and reproduction of individuals, communities and populations of fish.

In the laboratory, you will become acquainted with the field methods used in fish biology and fisheries, as well as those necessary for examining the diversity of the Michigan ichthyofauna and major groups of world fish. You will have access to a variety of on-site aquatic research facilities, as well as the University of Michigan Biological Station, a research and teaching field station in Pellston, Michigan. Our partnerships with local and state laboratories as well as with local offices of federal labs provide unique opportunities to collaborate with scientists focusing on Great Lakes ecosystem issues.

The breadth and depth of our faculty interests offers a decidedly multidisciplinary and applied approach and creates an extensive range of opportunities  study. Recent student research projects include steam ecology in Michigan, aquaculture studies in Thailand and China, collaboration with Indian researchers on Ganga River water quality issues and investigations of the land use change in Venezuela

Launching your career

This field of study prepares you for a research career focusing on specific species, ecosystems or ecological problems or for a management career requiring skills in policy and economic analysis and the application of scientific knowledge to management problems.

Graduates often pursue occupations as fishery biologists, limnologists, ecologists, aquatic-resource specialists, biometricians and natural-resource managers. They work for government agencies, such as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for nonprofit organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and American Rivers, for environmental-consulting companies and private corporations, and on the faculty of colleges and universities.

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