FISH, WILDLIFE AND CONSERVATION ECOLOGY
Department website: http://aces.nmsu.edu/academics/fws/
M. Desmond, interim department head, Ph.D. (Nebraska) – avian ecology and conservation; M. Andersen, Ph.D. (Washington) – ecological modeling; W. Boeing, Ph.D. (Louisiana State) – aquatic ecology; J. W. Cain (University of Arizona) – large mammal ecology and management; C. A. Caldwell, Ph.D. (Tennessee) – fish biology; D. E. Cowley, Ph.D. (Wisconsin-Madison) – fish conservation genetics; J. Frey, Ph.D. (University of New Mexico) – ecology and conservation of mammals; G. W. Roemer, Ph.D. (UCLA) – behavioral, population and community ecology and conservation biology; R. Valdez, Ph.D. (Texas A&M) – wildlife ecology
DEGREE: Master of Science
MAJOR: Wildlife Science
The Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree with a major in wildlife science. The fishery science major is an option within wildlife science. Faculty members in the department also may advise Ph.D. candidates through the graduate program in the Department of Biology or through the range science program in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. For additional information please see the graduate catalog entries for the respective departments.
By selecting appropriate courses, the student can meet basic requirements for becoming a Certified Wildlife Biologist and/or a Certified Fisheries Professional.
Minimum qualifications for admission to the graduate program include the following:
- 3.0 grade-point average in the last two years of undergraduate work
- Combined score of 1000 on the verbal and quantitative parts of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), with at least 450 in each of the two parts
- Course work in zoology, botany, and animal ecology and a basic appreciation of sustainable use of natural resources, with supporting courses in mathematics and written and oral communication.
Applicants should submit a writing sample of approximately 350 words in the form of an essay or letter of application. It should indicate the applicant's reasons for pursuing advanced study, personal and educational goals, and additional experiences (e.g., military or career) or skills that might provide additional preparation for graduate studies. The writing sample should be sent to the department. Three letters of recommendation (or reference forms) should also be submitted to the department (it is preferred that at least two letters come from university instructors) along with GRE scores. Applicants should also contact a faculty member in the department that they would like to work with as an advisor, and that faculty member needs to agree to serve as the students' advisor and fund their research. Application forms, application fee and transcripts should be sent to the Graduate School. Successful applicants will be selected from those who meet the criteria of grade-point average, GRE scores, and educational background described above and who appear to have professional promise as indicated by personal history and written references.
For the Master of Science degree, a minimum of 30 semester credits of graduate work in the major and related subjects is required, together with a thesis for most students. Of these credits, at least 15 must be in courses numbered 500 and above, and at least 15 must be for courses with the FWCE prefix. Those programs involving a thesis or research project include 4 to 6 credits of research (FWCE 598 or 599). Students electing a minor are required to take at least 8 credits in the minor field. A nonthesis option is available to some students, depending on prior training and experience, and subject to approval by the advisor and department head.
All students in the program must complete the following requirements:
- A ST 505 or equivalent
- One semester of Graduate Seminar (FWCE 515- may be repeated for credit)
- Two courses from the Quantitative Methods category (eligible courses listed below)
- One course each from the Ecological Concepts, Organismal Biology, and Ecological Techniques categories (eligible courses listed below)
- 4 to 9 credits from the Independent Study category (eligible courses listed below)
In addition, a student may petition to have up to 3 credits of special topics courses (FWCE 548) apply to one of the three areas. Other courses than those listed may be acceptable, given permission by the student's supervisory committee.
Quantitative Methods: Eligible courses
|A ST 503, SAS Basics||2|
|A ST 506, Statistical Inference II||3|
|A ST 507, Advanced Regression||3|
|A ST 523, Biological Sampling||3|
|A ST 550, Special Topics||3|
|FWCE 509, Population Ecology||3|
|FWCE 522, Research Methods||3|
(Other courses, particularly in Applied Statistics, may be eligible with consent of the advisory committee)
Ecological Concepts: Eligible courses
|BIOL 467, Evolution||3|
|BIOL 484, Animal Communications||3|
|BIOL 489, Genetic Aspects of Population Biology||3|
|BIOL 567, Individuals and Populations||3|
|BIOL 568, Communities and Ecosystems||3|
|BIOL 569, Evolutionary Ecology||3|
|BIOL 570, Ecological Biogeography||3|
|BIOL 587, Behavioral Ecology||3|
|FWCE 455, Environmental Risks and Decisions||3|
|FWCE 488, Conservation Genetics 3|
|FWCE 459, Aquatic Ecology||4|
|GEOG 557, Biogeography||3|
Organismal Biology: Eligible courses
|BIOL 547, Advanced Ornithology||4|
|FWCE 466, Advanced Management of Mammals||3|
|FWCE 482, Ichthyology||4|
|FWCE 532, Environmental Biology of Fishes||3|
Ecological Techniques: Eligible courses
|GEOG 487, GIS Practicum||3|
|GEOG 521, GIS Applications||3|
|RGSC 452, Rangeland Analysis||4|
|RGSC 518, Watershed Methods and Management||3|
|FWCE 464, Management of Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems||4|
|FWCE 534, Aquatic Contaminants and Toxicology||3|
Independent Study: Eligible courses:
|FWCE 548, Special Topics||up to 3|
|FWCE 598, Thesis Research||4-6|
|FWCE 599, Thesis||4-6|
Graduate work in the department is intended to prepare students for careers in research, teaching, extension, and management. Facilities available to graduate students include two ranches of approximately 90,000 acres, a large suite of shared laboratories, and a 2500 sq ft fish-culture facility. We actively cooperate with state and federal natural resource management agencies, and graduate students have access to national forests and extensive public lands, as well as the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research site and associated databases (see http://jornada-www.nmsu.edu for details). Additional research opportunities for graduate students are available in the New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, located in the department since 1988.
Additional information on the graduate program and faculty is available at http://aces.nmsu.edu/academics/fws
Fish, wildlife and conservation ecology
- FWCE 450. Special Topics 1-4 cr.
- Specific subjects and credits as announced in the Schedule of Classes. Maximum of 4 credits per semester and a grand total of 9 credits. Consent of instructor required.
- FWCE 455. Environmental Risks and Decisions 3 cr.
- Risk assessment and decision analysis in the context of environmental and conservation issues. Concepts of risk perception and uncertainty; precautionary principle; the roles of experts and stakeholders; the use of conceptual and probabilistic models in risk assessment. Pre/Corequisite(s): MATH 142 or MATH 191G, A ST 311, FWCE 301.
- FWCE 457. Ecological Biometry 3 cr.
- Use of ecological data to test scientific hypotheses. Stochastic and statistical models for environmental data, data visualization, likelihood-based and information-based model selection. Emphasis on open-source software tools. Prerequisite(s): MATH 142G or 191G, A ST 311, FWCE 301.
- FWCE 459. Aquatic Ecology 4 cr.
- Plant and animal communities in aquatic ecosystems with emphasis on chemical and physical properties, productivity, species interactions, population dynamics, and concepts for diagnosing problems and restoring aquatic ecosystems. Prerequisite(s): FWCE 301 or BIOL 301, CHEM 112G, MATH 142G.
- FWCE 462. Conservation Biology 3 cr.
- An examination of the patterns of biological diversity, the processes that generate and maintain it, as well as the forces that are eroding it. Aspects will include the value of biodiversity, factors driving extinction, national and international law and policy. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 111G and BIOL 111L. Pre/Corequisite(s): FWCE 301.
- FWCE 464. Management of Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems 4 cr. (3+2P)
- Principles and methods for managing aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and their fish and wildlife resources. Emphasis on quantitative techniques, data collection and analysis for management of systems at a landscape spatial scale. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 301 or FWCE 301, FWCE 330, A ST 311.
- FWCE 466. Advanced Wildlife Management of Mammals 3 cr.
- Ecological principles, production and harvest, habitat management, and techniques of mammal management.
- FWCE 482. Ichthyology 4 cr. (3+2P)
- Classification, morphology, identification, life history, and ecology of fishes. Prerequisite(s): FWCE 330 or consent of instructor.
- FWCE 488. Conservation Genetics 3 cr.
- Application of evolutionary theory and biotechnologies used in conservation of populations including concepts in population structure, gene flow, inbreeding, hybridization, and forensics. Consent of instructor required. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 305 or AGRO 305.
- FWCE 509. Population Ecology (s) 3 cr. (2+2P)
- Quantitative analysis of vital statistics and mechanisms promoting stability in wild populations. Theory and application of life tables and population models.
- FWCE 515. Graduate Seminar 1 cr.
- Current topics. May be repeated for unlimited credit.
- FWCE 522. Fishery and Wildlife Research Methods (f) 3 cr.
- Methods of research in fishery and wildlife management to include conceptual analysis of research problems; proposal preparation; presentation of results. Prerequisite(s): A ST 461 or consent of instructor.
- FWCE 532. Environmental Biology of Fishes 4 cr. (3+3P)
- What makes a fish a fish. Mechanisms of circulation, gas exchange, osmotic and ionic regulation, swimming, migration, reproduction, and chemoreception. Students are responsible for all requirements for FWCE 432 plus additional work.
- FWCE 534. Aquatic Contaminants and Toxicology 4 cr. (3+3P)
- Basic principles and methodologies of aquatic toxicity testing. Routes of exposure and modes of action. Environmental legislation and ecological risk assessment. Students are responsible for all requirements for FWCE 434 plus additional work.
- FWCE 535. Special Topics 1-4 cr.
- Specific subjects to be announced in the Schedule of Classes. Maximum of 4 credits per semester. No more than 9 credits toward a degree.
- FWCE 536. Advanced Avian Ecology 3 cr.
- Focuses on current topics and literature in avian ecology including systematics, mating systems, behavior, physiology, movement patterns and conservation. Includes required overnight field trips. Prerequisite(s): Graduate standing or consent of instructor.
- FWCE 537. Wildlife Damage Management 3 cr.
- Introduction to basic need and appropriate methods for management of animal damage. Socioeconomic, ecological, and political factors. Taught with FWCE 437. Prerequisite(s): BIOL 111G.
- FWCE 545. Advanced Fish and Wildlife Habitat Management (f) 4 cr. (3+2P)
- Principles and methods for managing aquatic and terrestrial habitats for use by fish and wildlife. Quantitative methods and computer programs for evaluating habitats. Field trips and use of computer programs by students are required. Prerequisite: WLSC 522 or consent of instructor.
- FWCE 548. Graduate Problems 1-3 cr.
- Individual studies in fishery and wildlife sciences. Maximum of 3 credits per semester. No more than 6 credits of this course and FWCE 598, combined, toward a degree.
- FWCE 558. Nonthesis Project 1-6 cr.
- Independent study to satisfy nonthesis project requirement. Maximum of 6 credits toward degree. Available only to nonthesis students.
- FWCE 560. Wildlife Ethology (s) 3 cr.
- Comparative vertebrate behavior including social organization, dominance, marking, territoriality, and mother/offspring relationships and their management implications. Introduction to sociobiology. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
- FWCE 578. Advanced Limnology (s) (a) 3 cr.
- Concepts in aquatic production ecology and analytical methods for lake and flowing waters. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
- FWCE 585. Fish and Wildlife Planning (f) 3 cr.
- Covers planning methodologies and concepts for fishery and wildlife professionals.
- FWCE 595. Internship 1-6 cr.
- Supervised professional on-the-job learning experience. Limited to Master of Agriculture candidates. No more than 6 credits toward the degree.
- FWCE 598. Special Research Programs 1-3 cr.
- Individual investigations, either analytical or experimental. Maximum of 3 credits per semester. No more than 6 credits of this course and FWCE 548, combined, toward a degree. Not available to students in the nonthesis program.
- FWCE 599. Master's Thesis 0-88 cr.