Facilities and Academic Setting
The center of activity for environmental biology is Illick Hall, with laboratories, classrooms, controlled spaces, and equipment in a modern building in which 8,000 square meters of working space is available for graduate study and research. Laboratories, many of them temperature and temperature-humidity controlled, and one sound-controlled, are provided for study and research in plant development, physiology, tissue culture, molecular biology, biochemistry and toxicology, ecology, and animal behavior. An herbarium, mycological collections, insect and other invertebrate collections, an artificial stream, and the Roosevelt Wildlife Collection of vertebrates are maintained as resources for the academic program. Eight rooftop glasshouse units, three of them air-conditioned and one incorporated into a five-room indoor-outdoor insectary, are important to the full array of interests in plant science and plant-animal interactions. An important catalyst for graduate studies is the revitalized Roosevelt Wildlife Station which helps to focus teaching, research, and outreach in field stations.
Also available to students and faculty is a variety of sophisticated instrumentation; convenient access to a computer center and many computer clusters; radioisotope counting equipment, including liquid scintillation spectrometry; diverse analytical equipment and measuring devices, including automated DNA sequencer; gas-liquid chromatography; and comprehensive analytical expertise. The N.C. Brown Center for Ultrastructure offers course work and research in scanning and transmission electron microscopy.
Supportive to the program are the academic resources, including courses, of Syracuse University, SUNY's Upstate Medical University and several additional campus facilities. Our students also participate in courses and utilize faculty and facilities at Cornell University and several SUNY campuses in cooperative exchanges.
Excellent field sites and facilities are available for research in all aspects of the program. In addition to the college's several campuses and field stations that offer a broad diversity of forest types, sites, and conditions, there are New York State Department of Environmental Conservation lands, the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, the Adirondack Mountains, and the transition zones near Lake Ontario, Oneida Lake, and Cicero Swamp. These areas offer a variety of habitat diversity from highlands to aquatic-terrestrial zones. The ponds, streams, and lakes in Central New York and the St. Lawrence River are regularly used by graduate students in aquatic ecology, fishery biology, and ecosystem science. Faculty and students have access to a broad array of boats, motors, nets, and sophisticated field sampling instrumentation.
Additional academic facilities enhancing graduate study include the Adirondack Ecological Center, the revitalized Roosevelt Wildlife Station, and the Thousand Islands Biological Station.
Further academic advantages stem from the urban setting of the Syracuse campus. Nearby Onondaga Lake is a prominent feature that serves as a focus for many research and teaching activities. The Greater Syracuse area provides a convenient laboratory for studies basic to urban ecology: urban wildlife, the growth and protection of woody vegetation, greenspace maintenance, the utilization of waste beds for plant growth, the detoxification of pollutants, and the restoration of terrain stripped of vegetation. Disposal of industrial and human wastes requires deeper understanding of the role of plants, animals and microorganisms in the biodegradation of organic matter. The conversion of organic materials into useful fuel, into additives for plant growth, or into protein feeds for domestic animals are stimulating topics.