Conservation Biology

Overview

Biodiversity loss has been identified as one of the great challenges of our time. The potential demise of one-fourth or more of the Earthí¢â‚¬â„¢s species before the end of this century represents an irreversible loss of nature and may significantly undermine the sustainable use of natureí¢â‚¬â„¢s services. The continuing expansion of populations and economies and the urgent need to improve human well-being also place increasing pressures on biological diversity.

The need for new understanding and novel approaches to the management of wildlands and protected areas has never been greater. Scientists and practitioners within the field of Conservation Biology need specialized knowledge of their sub-discipline -- forest management, endangered species policy or wildlife ecology, for example. They also need the integrative perspective of a broadly educated scholar-practitioner who is equipped to understand interactions between natural systems and human influences. This field of study combines basic knowledge from the ecological sciences and other disciplines to drive environmental problem solving.

í¢â‚¬Å“There is a pressing need for a fundamental reconciliation between the conservation of natural resources and their utilization to meet human needs for food, water, shelter and recreation,í¢â‚¬  says Professor Bobbi S. Low, coordinator of the Conservation Biology field of study.

What you will study

The curriculum in Conservation Biology focuses on issues related to resource conservation and ecosystem management and creates an interdisciplinary learning environment that includes ecosystem science, social science, policy, environmental design and quantitative analysis. Coursework examines the past and present causes of species extinction and biodiversity loss, as well as the biological principles central to species conservation and sustainable ecosystem management.

As a student, you will develop quantitative and analytical skills in biometrics, economics and computer applications and gain first-hand experience through internships with government agencies and private organizations. You also will learn practical applications, ranging from the design and identification of preserves to the effective management of developed landscapes and the recovery of degraded ecosystems in developed and developing countries.

Your curriculum will educate and train you to become a scientist and practitioner within the field of Conservation Biology, where you will learn to incorporate the recognition that sustainability depends as much on managing people as on managing ecosystems.

Launching your career

The Conservation Biology field of study was developed to address the complex mix of issues related to the conservation of biodiversity and the management of ecosystems. This field of study can lead to a governmental career as a fish and wildlife biologist, remote-sensing specialist, environmental manager or wetlands ecologist. Private-sector occupational options include environmental biologist or fisheries biologist. In addition, graduates also may consider working in the nonprofit sector, where ecologists, urban foresters and habitat-restoration specialists are needed, or in academia, where research and teaching positions are well within reach.

For more information on Conservation Biology, contact snre.admissions@umich.edu.