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Programs
Water Programs at ESF

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Aquatic and Fisheries Science

Aquatic and fisheries science is the study of aquatic ecosystems to increase scientific understanding and to apply basic ecological principles to their management, thereby sustaining them for multiple uses.

Aquatic ecosystems include wetlands, streams, lakes, estuaries and oceans. Aquatic science professionals study and manage valued natural systems for seafoods, drinking water, recreation, transportation and aesthetics.

Aquatic systems and their organisms are sufficiently distinct from terrestrial systems that numerous professional organizations and scientific journals have been founded specifically to foster communication among aquatic science professionals.

At ESF, Wilford E. Dence conducted pioneering studies on aquatic systems in New York in the early 1900s. The present aquatic program at ESF builds on that early tradition with a wide array of aquatic courses. Our program has national and international recognition and includes a balance of applied and basic aquatic science. Students in our program thus have the opportunity to interact with faculty and graduate students involved with diverse studies on aquatic systems.

Undergraduate students considering a career in aquatic and fisheries science need a solid foundation of basic sciences (math, chemistry, physics, statistics) combined with a broad training in organismal biology, ecology and evolution. Upper-division courses focus more specifically on aquatic systems and fishes, including field experience, methods of assessment and principles for management. Students should broaden themselves with studies on the natural history and diversity of various animal and plant groups. Other recommended subjects include communications, ecosystem science, social and economic principles, ecological modeling, and hydrology. ESF's many field stations provide important opportunities for field-oriented studies, both for taking formal courses and for directed independent research. Practical experiences such as a senior synthesis or internship also provide an important complement to formal courses.

Career opportunities for students with a B.S. in aquatic and fisheries science are in the areas of fisheries science, wetland science, limnology, marine biology and oceanography. Jobs are with federal and state agencies, research institutions, private consulting firms and non-governmental organizations, both local and international. The better students will have opportunities to continue with graduate studies, which will broaden career options and lead to positions with greater responsibility and higher salary. To pursue a career in research and teaching in a university, a Ph.D. is generally required.

Participating Faculty

  • John M. Farrell; jmfarrell@esf.edu
    aquatic ecology, fisheries science & management, freshwater coastal wetlands, St. Lawrence River studies & Great Lakes, invasive species, restoration
  • Karin E. Limburg; klimburg@esf.edu
    riverine fish and estuarine ecology, fisheries ecology, watershed ecology, systems ecology, ecological economics, fisheries and ecosystem science, coupled human-natural systems, biogeochemistry, fisheries ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemical tracers, modeling
  • Neil H. Ringler; nhringle@esf.edu
    fish ecology and behavior, foraging behavior of fishes, salmon reproduction, vertebrate anatomy, aquatic insect ecology, stream ecology and management, aquatic and fisheries restoration, aquatic entomology
  • Kimberly L. Schulz; kschulz@esf.edu
    nutrient and exotic species effects on aquatic ecosystems, ecological stoichiometry, aquatic community and ecosystem ecology, bioenergetics, nutrient cycling, lower food web studies, great lakes, finger lakes, plankton, limnology, aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, invasive species
  • Donald Stewart; djstewart@esf.edu
    ecology and systematics, lake systems ecology, aquatic ecology, fish conservation, ecology and population biology in tropical and temperate systems, fish ecology and fisheries management, ecological energetics, modeling predation and production processes, Great Lakes ecosystems, Amazonian ecosystems, ecology and systematics of neotropical freshwater fishes
  • Christopher Whipps; cwhipps@esf.edu
    fish parasites and diseases, wildlife diseases, parasitology, microbiology, taxonomy, molecular systematics, diagnostics, parasites as biological tags and ecological indicators, epidemiology and control of pathogens of ecological and veterinary importance, evolution and biology of disease causing organisms in animal populations using molecular systematics

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Fish and Wildlife Management

Study in this area provides students with advanced preparation in biological concepts of fish and wildlife populations as they relate to resource management.

Increasing concern for these wild animal resources has been matched by strong student interest in educational programs that prepare them for careers in the fish and wildlife professions; ESF graduates are employed worldwide.

Graduate education is rapidly becoming a universal prerequisite to employment as a professional fisheries or wildlife biologist. A major strength is the diversity of cooperators including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Areas of research include population habitat relationships, predator ecology, fish behavior, wildlife in Adirondack ecosystems, urban wildlife relationships, endangered species studies, feeding ecology of fishes, stream ecology, Great Lakes fisheries, ecology of larval fishes and estuarine properties of Great Lakes wetlands.

ESF is a specialized unit within the SUNY system focused to natural resources and the environment. Perhaps nowhere in the world is there a larger grouping of ecologists dedicated to solving environmental problems through research, teaching and service. With a total enrollment of about 1,000 undergraduates and 600 graduate students, ESF's size creates an intimate College community. The low student/faculty ratio also allows for an active advisory system that provides personal attention and assistance for students. The proximity of the adjacent Syracuse University gives students the added resources of a large, comprehensive institution of higher education, including an array of courses, computer and library facilities, and sports and health services.

ESF's field stations are unmatched, and include the 6,000-hectare Huntington Forest and associated Adirondack Ecological Center, the Cranberry Lake Biological Station in the Adirondack Mountains and the Heiberg Forest south of Syracuse. Other field facilities are available on the St. Lawrence River, including the Thousand Islands Biological Station. These properties form a strong foundation for much of the coursework taken by undergraduate students and field research for graduate students. Undergraduates in Fish and Wildlife Science spend a summer taking classes at Cranberry Lake. Qualified undergraduates are encouraged to intern as field assistants with graduate students to gain direct experience with wildlife research.

Fish and wildlife programs at ESF date back to early studies of Adirondack fishes and work in the Yellowstone National Park. These efforts quickly expanded to include formation of the Roosevelt Wild Life Station in 1919. The Roosevelt Wildlife Museum also was established, and currently houses over 20,000 specimens of vertebrates that are an integral part of today's teaching and research programs. Today, the faculty in fish and wildlife supervise more than $3 million in sponsored research and about 60 graduate students. While much of the research occurs in New York State, international opportunities are available and recent studies have been conducted in Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Madagascar. Studies range from restoration of species, to adaptive management of wildlife in forest ecosystems and urban areas. Technology is often central to this research including extensive use of computer modeling, use of satellite imagery to evaluate habitat, and radio and GPS telemetry to study animal behavior and population dynamics.

Participating Faculty

  • Jonathan Cohen; jcohen14@esf.edu
    wildlife ecology and management, population and habitat ecology, threatened and endangered species
  • John M. Farrell; jmfarrell@esf.edu
    aquatic ecology, fisheries science & management, freshwater coastal wetlands, St. Lawrence River studies & Great Lakes, invasive species, restoration
  • Shannon Farrell; sfarrell@esf.edu
    Wildlife ecology, wildlife-habitat relationships, management planning for endangered and threatened species, human impacts on wildlife, ecosystem services, endangered species act policy innovations, birds, bats
  • Jacqueline Frair; jfrair@esf.edu
    wildlife ecology and management, ecology of large herbivores and predators, animal movements, resource selection, population demography, quantitative methods in conservation, landscape ecology
  • James Gibbs; jpgibbs@esf.edu
    herpetology, vertebrate conservation biology, genetics and ecology in birds, reptiles and amphibians, songbirds, giant tortoise, statistics, wildlife population monitoring, galapagos islands, conservation biology, ecological monitoring, population genetics, applied demography, undergraduate conservation education
  • Brian F. Leydet; bfleydet@esf.edu
    infectious and vector-borne diseases, arthropods of veterinary and medical importance, vector biology, vector-pathogen-host interactions, disease ecology, molecular biology, epidemiology of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases
  • Karin E. Limburg; klimburg@esf.edu
    riverine fish and estuarine ecology, fisheries ecology, watershed ecology, systems ecology, ecological economics, fisheries and ecosystem science, coupled human-natural systems, biogeochemistry, fisheries ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemical tracers, modeling
  • Mark V. Lomolino; island@esf.edu
    conservation biology, wildlife, ecology, evolution and biogeography
  • Stacy A. McNulty; smcnulty@esf.edu
    forest ecology, phenology, vertebrate ecology. exploration of long-term changes, biodiversity conservation, and relationship of human land use planning, recreation, and forest management to ecosystem function in the northern forest.
  • Neil H. Ringler; nhringle@esf.edu
    fish ecology and behavior, foraging behavior of fishes, salmon reproduction, vertebrate anatomy, aquatic insect ecology, stream ecology and management, aquatic and fisheries restoration, aquatic entomology
  • Kimberly L. Schulz; kschulz@esf.edu
    nutrient and exotic species effects on aquatic ecosystems, ecological stoichiometry, aquatic community and ecosystem ecology, bioenergetics, nutrient cycling, lower food web studies, great lakes, finger lakes, plankton, limnology, aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, invasive species
  • John C. Stella; stella@esf.edu
    riparian and stream ecology, restoration ecology, watershed management, ecological modeling, tree-ring science, river restoration, arid-land and Mediterranean ecosystems
  • Donald Stewart; djstewart@esf.edu
    ecology and systematics, lake systems ecology, aquatic ecology, fish conservation, ecology and population biology in tropical and temperate systems, fish ecology and fisheries management, ecological energetics, modeling predation and production processes, Great Lakes ecosystems, Amazonian ecosystems, ecology and systematics of neotropical freshwater fishes
  • H. Brian Underwood; hbunderw@syr.edu
    wildlife ecology, deer, small mammals, songbirds, quantitative ecology and biostatistics, population surveys, ecological modeling and simulation, national park management, applied population analysis, life-history evolution, trophic dynamics, large mammal management
  • Christopher Whipps; cwhipps@esf.edu
    fish parasites and diseases, wildlife diseases, parasitology, microbiology, taxonomy, molecular systematics, diagnostics, parasites as biological tags and ecological indicators, epidemiology and control of pathogens of ecological and veterinary importance, evolution and biology of disease causing organisms in animal populations using molecular systematics

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Water Resources Engineering

Water Resources Engineering addresses the analysis, prediction and design of water resource systems.

Emphasis is placed on applying engineering techniques to reduce impacts on human and natural systems. Students pursue solutions to water resources problems, in recognition of environmental, economic, legal, social and managerial constraints. The department has computing facilities, field sites, and a fluids laboratory with a tilting sediment recirculating flume and river geomorphology table to support research activities. The program takes advantage of departmental expertise in GIS and remote sensing to address problems at a variety of scales. Analytic techniques typically blend a combination of statistics, numerical analyses, and computer science.

Participating Faculty

  • Douglas J. Daley; djdaley@esf.edu
    water resources, solid and hazardous waste management, ecological engineering, environmental restoration, phytoremediation, bioremediation, soil and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste management, environmental engineering
  • Theodore A. Endreny; te@esf.edu
    water resources engineering, ecological engineering, stream restoration, urban watersheds, lesser-developed countries
  • Charles N. Kroll; cnkroll@esf.edu
    stochastic and deterministic hydrology, environmental modeling, water resource systems engineering, ecological engineering, urban forestry, drought assessment, environmental systems engineering, stochastic and deterministic modeling, risk assessment, coupled human and natural systems
  • Stephen B. Shaw; sbshaw@esf.edu
    hydroclimatology, water resources engineering, ecohydrology in a changing climate, water resources, climate change, hydrology, systems modeling, stormwater management

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Water and Wetland Resource Studies

The water and wetland resources area of study develops an understanding of technical, social and institutional aspects of water resources management, mitigation and restoration.

Individual students may emphasize scientific or social subject areas but all study in both areas. Scientific aspects include the basic physical, chemical and biological interactions occurring in water resources systems. The social aspects are concerned with planning, regulation, law and institutions and management of water and wetland resources. Water serves as a focus for graduate study in water and related land resources management and water pollution and water quality control.

Recommended coursework includes:

  • physical sciences: civil engineering, geology, geomorphology, hydrology, meteorology, environmental engineering, soils, water chemistry, hydrogeology, hydrogeochemistry and geographic information systems;
  • biological sciences: ecology, entomology, fisheries biology, forestry, microbiology, water quality and limnology; and
  • social sciences: administration, economics, government, history, law, ethics, philosophy and policy.

Participating Faculty

  • Gregory L. Boyer; glboyer@esf.edu
    biochemistry and environmental chemistry, plant and algal biochemistry, chemical ecology and toxins produced by algae. environmental monitoring, including Buoy and ship-based monitoring systems for water quality
  • Russell D. Briggs; rdbriggs@esf.edu
    forest ecology, watershed ecology, soils, ecosystem services, watershed management, forest soils, silviculture
  • Douglas J. Daley; djdaley@esf.edu
    water resources, solid and hazardous waste management, ecological engineering, environmental restoration, phytoremediation, bioremediation, soil and water pollution, solid and hazardous waste management, environmental engineering
  • Stewart Diemont; sdiemont@esf.edu
    systems ecology, ecological engineering, traditional ecological knowledge, Latin America, ecosystem restoration, sustainability analysis, natural wastewater treatment systems and re-use, less-developed countries, agroecology
  • Klaus Dölle; kdoelle@esf.edu
    pulp & paper and related environmental topics, design, constructed wetlands,subsurface bioreactors, fossil energy, bioenergy, hydropower, water and waste water treatment, paper recycling, paper development, filler materials, energy savings, renewable energy & processes, engineering, machine & process design.
  • Theodore A. Endreny; te@esf.edu
    water resources engineering, ecological engineering, stream restoration, urban watersheds, lesser-developed countries
  • Rafaat M. Hussein; rmhussei@esf.edu
    Environmental sustainability and protection; climate change; hazardous wastes management and transport; water resources; sustainable agriculture and infrastructure systems; risk and vulnerability assessment, analysis and management; expert & knowledge-based systems; occupational and environmental management, safety and auditing; bio-based materials and products; applied sustainable construction.
  • Charles N. Kroll; cnkroll@esf.edu
    stochastic and deterministic hydrology, environmental modeling, water resource systems engineering, ecological engineering, urban forestry, drought assessment, environmental systems engineering, stochastic and deterministic modeling, risk assessment, coupled human and natural systems
  • Karin E. Limburg; klimburg@esf.edu
    riverine fish and estuarine ecology, fisheries ecology, watershed ecology, systems ecology, ecological economics, fisheries and ecosystem science, coupled human-natural systems, biogeochemistry, fisheries ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemical tracers, modeling
  • Sharon D. Moran; smoran@esf.edu
    environmental policy, human dimensions of water/wastewater issues, political ecology, environment-society relations, green and innovative technologies, environmental issues in post-communist countries, qualitative research methods, gender and nature, sustainability indicators, emergent technologies, environmental justice, ethical frameworks in public policy
  • Cornelius B. Murphy; cbmurphy@esf.edu
  • Neil H. Ringler; nhringle@esf.edu
    fish ecology and behavior, foraging behavior of fishes, salmon reproduction, vertebrate anatomy, aquatic insect ecology, stream ecology and management, aquatic and fisheries restoration, aquatic entomology
  • Kimberly L. Schulz; kschulz@esf.edu
    nutrient and exotic species effects on aquatic ecosystems, ecological stoichiometry, aquatic community and ecosystem ecology, bioenergetics, nutrient cycling, lower food web studies, great lakes, finger lakes, plankton, limnology, aquatic ecology, biogeochemistry, invasive species
  • Theresa Selfa; tselfa@esf.edu
    Environmental Governance; Politics of Agri-Food and Energy Systems; Livelihood Impacts of Land Use Change; International Development and Social Change; Environmental Certification and Labelling; Latin America and US
  • Stephen B. Shaw; sbshaw@esf.edu
    hydroclimatology, water resources engineering, ecohydrology in a changing climate, water resources, climate change, hydrology, systems modeling, stormwater management
  • John C. Stella; stella@esf.edu
    riparian and stream ecology, restoration ecology, watershed management, ecological modeling, tree-ring science, river restoration, arid-land and Mediterranean ecosystems
  • Wendong Tao; wtao@esf.edu
    Ecological engineering and sustainable wastewater treatment (Constructed wetland, gravel biofilter, anammox-based nitrogen removal processes); Resource recovery from bioresidues (anaerobic digestion, solid-liquid separation, struvite recovery, ammonia recovery)
  • Philippe G. Vidon; pgvidon@esf.edu
    Geography/Environmental Science, Surface and Subsurface Hydrology, Water Quality, Riparian Zone/Watershed Biogeochemistry and Hydrology, Agriculture, Best Management Practices, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Mercury, Carbon Cycling, Greenhouse Gases (N2O, CO2, CH4).

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Water Resources Minor

Coordinators: Dr. John Stella, Dr. Kim Schulz and Dr. Chuck Kroll

Water resources is a multi-disciplinary field that integrates the physical, geochemical and biological processes of the water cycle and their application to management of water resources, water policy, and human dimensions of water quality and quantity. The interdisciplinary minor in water resources is designed as a flexible program for undergraduate students to study and integrate principles of physical hydrology, geochemistry, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, natural resources management, and environmental policy. This interdisciplinary minor can include SUNY ESF courses in the Departments of Forest and Natural Resources Management, Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering, Environmental and Forest Biology, Chemistry, and Environmental Studies, as well as courses at Syracuse University in relevant departments including Earth Sciences, Geography, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Biology. The minor comprises 15 credit hours total, including one required course, FOR 442 Watershed Ecology and Management (3). The remaining twelve units must be taken from a list of approved elective courses in at least three separate departments. Admission to this minor requires that a student from any ESF program has a cumulative grade point average of 2.70 or better after one semester at ESF (or as a transfer student with same GPA). Students are responsible for meeting the prerequisite requirements for individual courses, as applicable.

Core course:

  • FOR 442 Watershed Ecology and Management (3)
  • Approved elective courses are:

  • CIE 471 Environmental Chemistry (3, at SU)
  • EFB 415 Ecological Biogeochemistry (3)
  • EFB 423 Marine Ecology (4)
  • EFB 424 Limnology (3)
  • EFB 486 Ichthyology (3)
  • EFB 487 Fisheries Science and Management (3)
  • EFB 488 Fisheries Science Practicum (3)
  • EFB 492 Senior Synthesis in Aquatic and Fisheries Science (1)
  • EFB 496 Watershed Ecology with Focus on the Hudson River (2)
  • EFB 500 The Hudson River Watershed: Source to Sink in Eight Days (1-2)
  • EFB 525 Limnology Practicum (2)
  • EFB 542 Freshwater Wetland Ecosystems (3)
  • EFB 554 Aquatic Entomology (3)
  • ENS 601 Water Resources Management
  • ENS 607 Wetland Practicum
  • ERE 340 Engineering Hydrology and Hydraulics
  • ERE 440 Water Pollution Engineering
  • ERE 412 River Form and Process
  • ERE 445 Hydrologic Modeling
  • ERE 475 Ecological Engineering for Water Quality
  • ERE 496 Water - An Incredible Journey (3)
  • ERE 527 Stormwater Management
  • EST 796 Human Dimensions of Water Problems
  • EST 625 Wetland Management Policy (3)
  • EST 628 Great Lakes Policy and Management (3)
  • FCH 510 Environmental Chemistry I (3)
  • FCH 515 Methods in Environmental Chemical Analysis (3)
  • FCH 520 Marine Biogeochemistry (3)
  • FCH 525 Oceanography (3)
  • FOR 338 Meteorology (3)
  • FOR 340 Watershed Hydrology (3)
  • GEO 316 River Environments (3, at SU)
  • EAR 400 Contaminant Hydrogeology (3, at SU)
  • EAR 400 Aqueous Geochemistry (3, at SU)
  • EAR 541 Hydrogeology (3, at SU)