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2018 Field Biology Courses

Embark an only-in-Minnesota learning experience this spring in the heart of Itasca State Park.


Registrations begins March 1 for U of M students and March 8 for everyone else!

Courses begin with a mandatory orientation May 23;run for five weeks, ending either June 25 or 26, 2018.

  • Ecology

    EEB 3807: Ecology

    with Prof. Leif Hembre (4 credits, Mondays & Thursdays + 2 additional days TBD. May 24 - June 25, 2018)

    This course focuses on the interactions of human societies with both natural and managed ecosystems, including discussions of the impacts of new management practices (such as plant crops instead of gathering from nature, or plows, fertilizer, etc.) on human societies, and the impacts of changes in human population size and per capita consumption back on both managed and natural ecosystems. It also explores the interactions between the biological diversity of a region, the development of human societies, and the direct and indirect impacts of that development (including the evolution of diseases) on the spread and dominance of various cultural systems. All of this is done in the context of a rigorous treatment of ecological principles, including mathematical principles of population growth and regulation, interspecific interactions, and the epidemiology of human diseases. These principles provide significant insights into the development of different societies and cultural systems.  How to register

  • Animal Behavior

    EEB 3811: Animal Behavio

    with Prof. Brian Wisenden (4 credits, Tuesdays & Fridays + 2 additional days TBD. May 24 - June 26, 2018)

    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). How to register

  • Field Mammology

    EEB 4839: Field Mammalogy 

    with Prof. Joseph Whittaker (4 credits, Tuesdays & Fridays + 2 additional days TBD. May 24 - June 26, 2018)

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

  • Field Ornithology

    EEB 4844: Field Ornithology 

    with Prof. Muir Eaton (4 credits, Mondays & Thursdays + 2 additional days TBD. May 24 - June 25, 2018)

    Introduction to biology of breeding birds through use of field techniques. Bird identification by sight/song, focal-animal observation, mist-netting, and censusing. Levels of nest depredation in different habitats. In lab, students learn about 100 species from study of specimens. How to register