Lake Superior State University
Lake Superior State University
 
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Alum Success

Nancy (Braschayko) McNamara, a summa cum laude Laker Alumni from 2006 is attending the University of Michigan School of Medicine.

Biology

LSSU biology students hard at work

Biology is a great field of study and Lake Superior State University is a great place to study it. Whether you’re interested in natural resources ecology, human biology, medical lab sciences, genetics, anatomy, physiology, plants, animals, microbes, indoor or outdoor biology, our program offers a number of unique advantages for undergraduate students. "Serious Work by Serious Students"

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Degree Details (From Catalog)

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

Areas of Study

Evnironment & Ecology: The sustainability of freshwater, marine, or terrestrial ecosystems, the management of fish and game populations, or the conservation and ecology of natural resources. Our program prepares students for careers where they can make a contribution to mitigating wide-ranging challenges such as invasive species, altered landscapes, species extinctions, or the restoration of degraded aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Our selection of rigorous field based courses in watersheds, soils, forestry, ecology (general, fish, wildlife or plant), and organisms (mammalogy, ornithology, ichthyology, or entomology) offers an unparalleled set of foundational courses in the natural sciences. Combining this coursework with interdisciplinary courses in social dimensions, political science, sociology, business/economics, communication and GIS technology adds the breadth needed to integrate biological, economic, and policy issues in the formulation of sustainable solutions. Electives allow students to tailor the program to their interests and sustainable solutions. Electives allow students to tailor the program to their interests and career goals. Students may choose as a capstone experience a summer semester internship working in a professional capacity in conservation biology, or a senior thesis research project. Students will be prepared for careers or for graduate work in conservation biology or a broad range of related areas.

Biomedical & Laboratory Science: The health professions (pre-med, pre-dental, pre-vet, pre-pharmacy), medical laboratory science, or lab-based studies in botany, zoology, genetics, or molecular biology. Our Medical Laboratory Sciences program provides an excellent background for students who want to work in a medical support setting such as analyzing blood samples in a hospital or clinic. Students in the BS Medical Laboratory Sciences complete a year-long internship at an approved medical facility.

Education & Outreach: The development of public policy with regard to natural resources and the environment or teaching biology at the middle- or high-school level.

 

 

    

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Have a Question?

 

Q&A with Professor Zimmerman

Is LSSU a good place to begin training as a veterinarian?

"Our pre-professional advisor knows all the ins and outs of applying to all the professional schools and provides excellent advice for that. Our pre-professional society (the student group for pre-professional students) is very active in ways that helps students enhance thier applications to professional schools. We have had a number of our students go on to vet school, last year our two applicants into vet school ended up going to Michigan State University and Purdue. This year of the six students that applied to professional schools, all six got it. But i want to emphasize that it's up to each individual student to gain the experience they need to have the best chance of success in veterinary or any other professional school. Our program helps, but it's up to the individual student. Our small classes, our individualized attention, our academically rigourous programs, our collaborative atmosphere, our senior thesis program all can help you prepare yourself for application to professional schools." -- Gregory Zimmerman, Professor

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New Discovery!

Lake Superior State University's BIOL337 ecology class poses with an unexpected find they made along a Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., public hiking trail. Professor Greg Zimmerman discovered the "Himalayan Touch-Me-Not" after his class conducted a biomass sweep through the city's Minneapolis Woods area. Students subsequently pulled all of the plants they could find as a service project. Zimmerman hastens to add that the illegal alien should not be confused with the region's "Spotted Touch-Me-Not" or "Jewelweed," a perfectly welcome native plant.
Lake Superior State University's Biology 337 ecology class poses with an unexpected find they made along a Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, public hiking trail. Professor Greg Zimmerman discovered the "Himalayan Touch-Me-Not" after his class conducted a biomass sweep through the city's Minneapolis Woods area. Students subsequently pulled all of the plants they could find as a service project. Zimmerman hastens to add that the illegal alien should not be confused with the region's "Spotted Touch-Me-Not" or "Jewelweed," a perfectly welcome native plant.

Investigat- ing the Use of QPCR: An Early Detection Method for Toxic Cyano- bacterial Bloom

Garrett Aderman

Harmful algal blooms (HABs), including cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms (CHABs), are a global phenomenon. In the US, annual economic loss due to HABs was recently estimated at $82 million. Furthermore, the consensus amongst the scientific community is that the frequency and duration of CHABs in freshwater systems will increase as a result of climate change and anthropogenic nutrient enrichment. Due to the ability of some strains of CHAB genera to produce toxic compounds, larger and more sustained CHAB events will become an even greater threat to drinking water. Of all the known cyantoxoins, one of the most ubiquitous is microcystin (MCY). Humans are primarily exposed to cyantoxins through drinking water consumption and accidental ingestion of recreational water. The increasing risk presented by these toxins requires health officials and utilities to improve their ability to track the occurrence and relative toxicity. Current tracking methods do not distinguish between toxic and non-toxic strains. Biochemical techniques for analyzing the toxins are showing considerable potential as they are relatively simple to run and low cost. My goal was to develop a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method to measure the amount of mcyE gene in a Lake Erie drinking water and compare the levels of the mcyE to toxin produced. This is the first step to determining if the presence of mcyE of the mycrocystin synthestase gene cluster in Microcystits, Planktothrix and Anabaena cells can be used as the quantitative measurement in an early detection warning system for recreational and drinking waters.

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