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

Fish and Wildlife Biology & Management Area of Study for M.S., M.P.S. or Ph.D. in Environmental and Forest Biology

A woman kneeling in the sand and looking at a flying bird Apply

Study in this area provides students with advanced preparation in biological concepts of wildlife populations as they relate to resource management. M.P.S. students will undertake a professional experience in wildlife management or policy, or a synthesis course in wildlife management planning. M.S. and Ph.D. students will address important research questions in wildlife science, typically aimed at supporting resource management agencies in their decision making.

The work of a wildlife biologist is diverse and often includes monitoring the status of wildlife populations, restoration of declining or extirpated species or populations, managing sustainable harvests of game species, identifying and managing threats to wildlife and their habitat, mitigation of human-wildlife conflict, and communicating wildlife issues and regulations with the public. Graduate education is rapidly becoming a universal prerequisite to employment as a professional wildlife biologist. A major strength of our program is the diversity of our research partners, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and many other state agencies. Graduate students working on agency-funded projects typically network with representatives from these agencies, which often opens up career opportunities. Certification by The Wildlife Society is supported by our faculty, and also enhances career opportunities because many state and federal agencies, and consulting firms give hiring preference to those who are certified. Graduates with an advanced degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management from ESF are employed worldwide, with nearly 100 percent placement shortly after graduation. Some of the organizations employing our recent graduates are:

North America

  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Panthera
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of Washington
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US Forest Service

International

  • ICM-Bio, Brazil
  • Itaipuu Binancional - Reserve Ecologica, Paraguay
  • Land of the Lepard National Park, Russia
  • Wildlife Conservation Society, Malaysia







Wildlife programs at ESF date to establishment of the Roosevelt Wild Life Station in 1919. The Roosevelt Wild Life Collections that stemmed from early wildlife expeditions currently house over 10,000 vertebrate specimens that are an integral part of today's teaching and research programs. Today, the faculty in wildlife supervise more than $1.6 million in sponsored research and about 35 graduate students. While much research occurs in New York State, our students tackle pressing wildlife issues nationwide and around the world. Recent studies have been conducted in Michigan, Florida, Alaska, Canada, Peru, Russia, Malaysia, Mexico, Argentina, Madagascar, and elsewhere! Technology is increasingly central to wildlife research, and our graduate training often involves extensive use of computer modeling, satellite imagery and spatial analysis to evaluate habitat, radio and GPS telemetry to study animal behavior and population dynamics, and remote cameras and acoustic sampling devices to detect species and monitor populations. We also highly value boots-on-the-ground education as well effective translation of science into conservation action.

Associate Wildlife Biologist CertificationThe Wildlife Society

Graduate students often complete TWS certification requirements begun as an undergraduate. They can then become certified as Associate Wildlife Biologists by The Wildlife Society.

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.

Career Opportunities

Many who earn degrees in fish and wildlife biology find employment with state and federal conservation agencies, the forest industry, and environmental engineering and consulting firms. Graduates are not limited to these fields, however, because the wildlife biology curriculum emphasizes analytical/quantitative tools, management and planning concepts, and communication and teamwork skills, leading many into careers in technical and people-oriented fields, including the computer industry, medicine, teaching, and government.

The work of a wildlife biologist is diverse and often includes harvest management of game species, restoration of extirpated species, control of urban wildlife populations, assessment of impacts of human development on wildlife habitat, and surveys of wildlife populations and education of the public.

A graduate degree enhances career opportunities and is often essential to those wishing to move into positions of significant responsibility for supervising management programs and conducting research projects. Graduate degrees substantially augment capabilities with computers and field biology, and provide valuable experience with problem-solving, communication and leadership.

Certification by The Wildlife Society or certification by the American Fisheries Society also enhances career opportunities because many state and federal agencies, and consulting firms give hiring preference to those who are certified.

The elective courses, in conjunction with the core curriculum in EFB, satisfy most state and federal civil service requirements, and provide the educational program needed for certification as an Associate Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society,

Placement of ESF graduates with M.S. and Ph.D. degrees has been nearly 100 percent. Some of the organizations employing our recent graduates are:

  • Blasland, Bouck and Lee, Environmental Consultants
  • Disney World Animal Park
  • Illinois Natural History Survey
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • New York Department of Environmental Conservation
  • New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
  • North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • U.S. Geological Survey - Biological Resources Division
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

EB Graduate Study Links

TOP
Faculty

  • Jerrold L. Belant; jbelant@esf.edu
    wildlife ecology and management, carnivore conservation, human-wildlife conflicts, ecological plasticity, international conservation
  • Jonathan Cohen; jcohen14@esf.edu
    wildlife ecology and management, population and habitat ecology, threatened and endangered species
  • Cynthia J. Downs; cjdowns@esf.edu
    Animal Physiology, ecoimmunology, physiological trade-offs, organismal ecology, scaling, allometry, Ecological and evolutionary consequences of variation in physiological phenotypes
  • John M. Farrell; jmfarrell@esf.edu
    Fisheries Science and Management, Aquatic Ecology, Wetlands Restoration, Invasive Species.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Michael L. Schummer; mlschumm@esf.edu
    Waterfowl Ecology, Waterfowl Management, Waterfowl Conservation, Wetlands Management, Wetlands Conservation, Ornithology, Plant-Animal Associations, Conservation Biology, Wildlife Ecology, Wetlands Ecology, Wildlife-habitat relationships, ecology, climate change, human dimensions of wildlife, avian toxicology
  • 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

Current Graduate Students in Fish and Wildlife Biology & Management


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


Katelyn Barhite

kmbarhit@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Farrell


Melanie Berger

Melanie Berger

mberge01@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Frair
Undergraduate Institution: Brown University (Biology: Ecology & E)

Previous Graduate Study: University of New South Wales (Conservation Biology)

Favorite Quote
"Creativity is intelligence having fun." - Albert Einstein



John Bittner

jmbittne@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Underwood


Hailey Boone

hmboone@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Belant


Anna Conklyn

Anna Conklyn

alconkly@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
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
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Whipps


Maureen Durkin

Maureen Durkin

mmdurkin@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Cohen
Undergraduate Institution: Connecticut College (Biology )

Graduate Research Topic
Effects of human-caused disturbance on Snowy Plover behavior, habitat selection, and reproductive success in the Florida Panhandle.



Cameron Fiss

Cameron Fiss

cafiss@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Cohen

Previous Graduate Study: Indiana University of Pennsylv

Links
Web Link

Graduate Research Topic
Assessing the effects of forest management activities on songbird communities in Pennsylvania



Brittnie Fleming

bflemi04@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Schummer


Julie Fletcher

jfletc01@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Downs


Madison Hand

Madison Hand

mahand@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Underwood
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Wildlife Science)

Graduate Research Topic
Integrating winter track counts with conventional distance sampling to estimate white-tailed deer density in urban areas.



Kayla Harvey

kmharvey@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Schummer


Justin Herne

jtherne@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Limburg


Genevieve Ivec

gmivec@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Whipps


Alison Kocek

Alison Kocek

arkocek@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Cohen
Undergraduate Institution: University of Arizona (Ecology )

Previous Graduate Study: SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (Fish and Wildlife Bi)


Web Link

Graduate Research Topic
My dissertation research focuses on two tidal marsh sparrow species, saltmarsh sparrows and seaside sparrows within New York City, NY. I am studying the processes by which individuals and populations of tidal marsh sparrows adjust to a changing environment with hopes of using the information gained to impact tidal marsh restoration design.



Samuel Krebs

Samuel Krebs

sakrebs@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Schummer
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY College of Environmental (Conservation Biology)

LinkedIn
Web Link

Graduate Research Topic
Studying the winter foraging ecology of birds and mammals on staghorn sumac in Central New York and the Finger Lakes.

Office
Illick 301



Samuel Kucia

srkucia@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Schummer


Amanda Lemoine

amlemoin@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Farrell


Hadis Miraly

Hadis Miraly

hmiraly@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
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
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Limburg
Undergraduate Institution: SUNY-ESF (EFB)

Previous Graduate Study: SUNY-ESF (Fisheries Sci )



Manoon Pliosungnoen

Manoon Pliosungnoen

mpliosun@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Gibbs


Terra Rentz

tarentz@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Frair and Parker
Undergraduate Institution: Humboldt State University (Wildlife Management)

Graduate Research Topic
Strengthening the Public Trust: Management Effectiveness of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Favorite Quote
"Like the resource it seeks to protect, wildlife conservation must be dynamic. Changing as conditions change, seeking always to become more effective." (Rachel Carson, Silent Spring)



Thornton Ritz

thritz@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Farrell


Alissa Ryan

Alissa Ryan

aryan09@syr.edu
EFB Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Dann
Undergraduate Institution: New York University (Environmental studie)


Sarah Schooler

sschoole@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Belant


Scott Scrodin

sascrodi@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MPS
Advisor(s): Limburg


Sandy Slovikosky

Sandy Slovikosky

saslovik@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Frair
Undergraduate Institution: University of Arizona (Renewable Natural Re)

Personal Website
Web Link

Personal Statement
Though originally from Munich, Germany, I was raised in the American Southwest in Tucson, Arizona. My research interests primarily center on human-wildlife conflict, large carnivore ecology, endangered species conservation, and international work. For my undergraduate research, I studied small mammal movement in relation to disturbance ecology. In my spare time I enjoy reading, learning new languages, and spending time outdoors.



Joseph Sullivan

josulliv@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: MS
Advisor(s): Ringler
Undergraduate Institution:

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



Nathaniel Wehr

Nathaniel Wehr

nhwehr@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Belant
Undergraduate Institution: Oberlin College (Biology)

Previous Graduate Study: University of Hawaii at Manoa

Links
nathanielwehr.weebly.com

Graduate Research Topic
Space-use patterns of grey wolves in relation to other large mammals in Isle Royale National Park and northeastern Minnesota

Twitter
@WildNateure



Alejandra Zubiria Perez

azubiria@syr.edu
Fish & Wildlife Biology & Management
Degree Sought: PHD
Advisor(s): Belant