At Lake Superior State University class sizes are small and labs are taught by faculty rather than graduate students, Our faculty are not only experts in their field of interest but are also dedicated teachers. Hands-on experience includes working with sophisticated laboratory equipment and the opportunity to work at many diverse terrestrial and aquatic field sites. Graduates of the department complete a capstone senior thesis or service-learning project which they design, implement, analyze, and present their findings on a topic of their choosing. Student organizations play an active role in their professional and local communities and provide support to students presenting their work at local, state and regional conferences.
We maintain state-of-the art facilities, including the Aquatic Research Laboratory, Small Mammal Undergraduate Research Facility, Fish Disease Laboratory, as well as dedicated molecular, physiology, and ecology laboratories. Sophisticated instrumentation and equipment such asDNA sequencers, climate controlled environmental chambers, fish and wildlife sampling gear, etc. are dedicated to teaching and student research opportunities which provide valuable hands-on opportunities for students throughout their academic career at LSSU.
The Aquatic Research Laboratory (ARL) is one of only a few such facilities within the United States. Our students have the opportunity to work in the on-going hatchery operations to produce Atlantic salmon for release in the St. Marys River, as well as several other aquatic ecology research projects housed at the ARL. Students also can intern at the Fish Disease Lab (FDL) where they combine molecular skills with field biology to diagnose diseases found in fish and other freshwater samples.
We offer a variety of experiences outside of the classroom that will reinforce your knowledge base and extend your professional abilities. Each student works one- on-one with a faculty mentor on your own senior project. You could also work in the department helping set up labs, on a faculty member’s research project, or at the ARL. You may complete an internship with a state or local agency or work for the Learning Center, helping other students excel in their biology classes. Our active student organizations (Fisheries and Wildlife Club, SEEK, Pre-Professional Club) also provide great opportunities for extra-curricular experiences in your chosen field.
Our location provides unsurpassed field sites for natural resource based labs. Students may be out on a boat in the fall or snowshoeing through the forests in the winter. Forests, grass lands, wetlands, inland lakes and rivers, the St. Marys River and of course all three of the Upper Great Lakes are within an hour’s drive of campus (some just minutes from campus!). Notable fish and wildlife species in these habitats include lake sturgeon, whitefish, moose, deer, fishers, wolves, bears, goshawks, piping plovers and many others, including threatened and endangered species of plants and animals. You will visit these sites often in labs and for other projects. No other university offers access to as many varied field sites as LSSU!
For those students interested in a career in the health professions, we offer excellent preparation for medical, dental and veterinary studies. We also prepare students to go on to graduate studies in chiropractic, podiatry, physician assistant and pharmacy
Tagging Monarch Butterflies
Amanda Taylor of Byron Center, MI coordinated a large tagged monarch butterfly release at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. Through this internship at Michigan Butterflies she was able to educate the public on monarch butterflies, the decline of the species, and steps to help keep the monarch population flourishing. By tagging monarchs it is possible to track them along migration routes and compare data from the release with known migration data to help determine what is effecting the monarch population.