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e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry

Aquatic and Fisheries ScienceBachelor of Science

Apply Kate Abott on a boat with her equipments wearing ESF hat.

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

Aquatic ecosystems are complex and found within myriad wetlands, streams, lakes, estuaries, and oceans that support life on earth. Professional aquatic scientists and managers work to conserve and restore biodiversity, habitats, and ecological function while supporting services including fisheries, water resources, transportation, energy, recreation and human connections to nature. Career opportunities for students with a B.S. in aquatic and fisheries science include fisheries science, wetland science, limnology, marine biology and oceanography, and numerous conservation-related fields. Typical employment is with federal and state agencies, universities, research institutions, and management authorities, private consulting firms and non-governmental organizations, both local, regional, and international.

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.

students on a boatFaculty

  • Joshua A. Drew; jadrew@esf.edu
  • John M. Farrell; jmfarrell@esf.edu
    Fisheries Science and Management, Aquatic Ecology, Wetlands Restoration, Invasive Species.
  • Hyatt Green; hgreen@esf.edu
    molecular microbial ecology, eDNA, microbial water quality, microbial source-tracking, SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater, forest soil nitrification, Hg-methylation
  • 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
  • Roxanne Razavi; razavi@esf.edu
    ecotoxicology, limnology, environmental toxicology, mercury
  • 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
  • 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


Current Graduate Students in Aquatic and Fisheries Science


Current Students Only currently registered students appear — new names appear at start of academic year


Katelyn Barhite

kmbarhit@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Farrell


Hailey Boone

hmboone@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Belant


Anna Conklyn

Anna Conklyn

alconkly@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Farrell
Undergraduate Institution: Cornell University (Biological Sciences)

Graduate Research Topic
I am investigating the intersection of invasive species and disease ecology through the interrelationship of the round goby and viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River.



Corinne Conlon

clconlon@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Whipps


Justin Herne

jtherne@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Limburg


Genevieve Ivec

Genevieve Ivec

gmivec@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Whipps
Undergraduate Institution: Ohio State University: Columbu (Evolution and Ecolog)

Graduate Research Topic
My thesis is focusing on fish health and biodiversity. I'm studying the freshwater fish-parasite communities at Lily Lake, PA and also using otolith microchemistry analysis to look at the relationship between parasite burden and trace element concentrations in fish.



Amanda Lemoine

amlemoin@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Farrell


Hadis Miraly

Hadis Miraly

hmiraly@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Limburg and Razavi
Undergraduate Institution: Guilan University

Previous Graduate Study: Guilan University

Graduate Research Topic
The goal of my research is to determine the effects of lifetime hypoxia exposure on trophic transfer of methylmercury using fish otoliths and eye lenses chemistry



Christopher Nack

ccnack@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Limburg
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY-ESF (EFB)

Previous Graduate Study: SUNY-ESF (Fisheries Sci )



Thornton Ritz

thritz@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Farrell


Alissa Ryan

Alissa Ryan

aryan09@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Dann
Undergraduate Institution: New York University (Environmental studie)


Scott Scrodin

sascrodi@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Limburg


Joseph Sullivan

josulliv@syr.edu
Aquatic and Fisheries Science
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s):
Undergraduate Institution:

Graduate Research Topic
Effects of structure composition on epifaunal communities and the subsequent changes in fish diets within a recovering urban lake.