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2022 Field Courses

students pull a cage out of the water

Get support > We have several scholarships available to help students — both UMN and non-UMN — cover the cost of these courses. More information will be posted in late January. Email IBSL@umn.edu with questions in the meantime.

Faces of field biology > Students who head north come from a wide range of backgrounds. Hear about their experiences.


Registration

  • UMN graduate students — enroll in spring 2022 — Registration opens Nov 9, 2021
  • UMN undergraduate students — enroll in May/summer 2022 — Registration opens Feb 24, 2022
  • non-UMN students — enroll in May/summer 2022 — Registration opens March 2, 2022

2022 May/Summer Field Courses

  • PMB 3802/5802: Field Microbiology

    3 credits | May 16 - June 3, 2022 | M, Tu, W, F | 8 - 11:50 a.m.

    This course covers methods of environmental microbiology. Students develop their own independent research ideas, and they integrate their data generation efforts with an existing infrastructure of analytical tools focused on microbes and their consequences in nature. We will learn how to sample from a variety of environments, isolate genomic DNA, PCR-amplify and then sequence and analyze 16s and ITS rRNA genes. Microbial community information will be integrated with environmental data. A focus of this course will be implementation of the MinION sequencing platform. 

    Instructors: Professors Jim Cotner (cotne002@umn.edu) and Jeff Gralnick (gralnick@umn.edu). Guest lecturers include Professors Trinity Hamilton, Katie Fixen and Kyle Costa.

    For a more detailed course description refer to the course catalogue. Permission is required for undergraduates to enroll in the graduate-level of this course (PMB 5802); inquire with the instructors. If you have any additional questions about the course, email the instructors.

  • PMB 3812/5812: Field Mycology

    3 credits | May 16 - June 3, 2022 | M, Tu, Th, F | 1 - 4:50 p.m.

    This class focuses on learning about how to study fungi. Students will gain experience identifying mushrooms and other samples collected during course field trips using macromorphological, microscopic, and molecular techniques. In addition, students will isolate fungi from environmental samples and maintain cultures as well as assess fungal community abundance and composition using both traditional (e.g. root tip colonization) and DNA-based methods (e.g. next-generation sequencing, bioinformatics, and ecological statistics). Course lectures highlight different aspects of fungal diversity (taxonomic, physiological, and ecological) and lab exercises provide hands-on practice. Course writing assignments and presentations emphasize the exploring the natural history of fungi as well as critically assessing primary research literature.

    Instructors: Professors Jonathan Schilling (schillin@umn.edu) and Peter Kennedy (kennedyp@umn.edu).

    For a more detailed course description refer to the course catalogue. If you have any questions about the course, email the instructors. Permission is required for undergraduates to enroll in the graduate-level of this course (PMB 5812); inquire with the instructor.

  • EEB 3811: Animal Behavior

    May 16 - June 16, 2022 | 4 credits | M, Th; full-day + 2 additional field days TBD

    This course introduces the principle concept of animal behavior through hypothesis-driven inquiry of animal systems in the field. Topics covered: proximate and ultimate causation of behavior, optimality, foraging, habitat selection, risk-sensitive behavior, antipredator behavior, courtship and territoriality, parental care and implications of animal behavior for resource management and conservation. Most class days begin with the introduction of a topic followed by a day-long field experiment involving the concept. Thus, students learn concepts in animal behavior and how to be an animal behaviorist. In the process, students acquire skills in data collection and management, and experimental design (controls, replication, conclusions based upon statistical inference, connecting class results to the primary literature). I

    Instructor: Professor Brian Wisenden (wisenden@mnstate.edu).

    For a more detailed course description refer to the course catalogue. If you have any questions about the course, email the instructor.

  • EEB 4839: Field Mammalogy

    May 17 - June 17, 2022 | 4 credits | Tu, F; full-day + 2 additional days TBD

    The primary goal of this course is to introduce students to the study of mammals, including aspects of their evolution, natural history, identification, and techniques used for scientific study. This course will enable students to integrate concepts of ecology, morphology, physiology, as well as other aspects of natural history using mammals as model organisms. This course will supplement knowledge of taxonomy, phylogeny, and ecology while providing practical experience with current methodology. Writing assignments will expose students to current literature and aid in the process of critical thinking.

    Instructor: Professor Joseph Whittaker (jwhittak@cord.edu)

    For a more detailed course description refer to the course catalogue. If you have any questions about the course, email the instructor.


Summer Job Opportunity

Are you a University of Minnesota (any campus) undergraduate student not graduating in spring 2022? Would you enjoy living and working at Itasca for the summer (mid-May – mid-August)? Position duties are diverse and support our educational and research activities. Please note that work hours from mid-May to mid-June can be modified to enable interested applicants to take up to one Field Biology course. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Learn more

To apply send a cover letter and resume to Dr. Lesley Knoll, Itasca Associate Director at lbknoll@umn.edu. Questions or want more information? Email Dr. Knoll.

 


COVID-19 Statement

As a University of Minnesota field station, we follow all University COVID-19 policies as it relates to housing, dining and classrooms. All University of Minnesota students enrolled online or in person (including all undergraduate, graduate, professional, and Post Secondary Enrollment Option) were asked to complete this Student COVID-19 Immunization Vaccination Form by Oct. 8, 2021. We anticipate formal guidance for the summer 2022 courses to come in the spring of 2022.

IBSL staff will continue to be in close contact with Collegiate and University leadership to ensure the safety of students and faculty during field courses. If you have any specific questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email IBSL@umn.edu.