Wildlife biometrics training at the University of Georgia: Adding quantitative emphasis to a wildlife management program

Rober J. Cooper, Michael J. Conroy, John P. Carroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This case study describes the rapid evolution of a quantitatively oriented wildlife program from one with little quantitative emphasis. Until recently, wildlife programs, including ours, have relegated quantitative courses such as statistics and modeling to other departments. A recent trend at the University of Georgia has been the hiring of faculty who, although classically trained in ecology and resource management, also specialize in quantitative skills. This blend of expertise provides the opportunity to teach specialized courses in quantitative wildlife biology and to integrate quantitative approaches into the overall curriculum. Quantitative integration occurred in concert with, but not at the expense of, other aspects of the wildlife program. Until recently, the only quantitative course taught in the wildlife program was Estimation of Parameters of Fish and Wildlife Populations, which emphasizes model building and estimation in a decision-making context and is targeted at advanced graduate students. Alone, this course did not meet the needs of the wildlife program in terms of quantitative training. Recently, 4 new quantitative wildlife courses were introduced into the program at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels. These courses focus on population dynamics, wildlife-habitat modeling, design of experiments, and quantitative decision making. Emphasis at the graduate level is in a rigorous understanding of methods and principles appropriate for research and management applications. Most graduate students now take several "in house" quantitative courses and have one or more quantitative wildlife faculty on their committees. Numerous other quantitative courses are available in other departments on campus, and opportunities exist for dual degree programs (e.g., Ph.D. in forest resources, M.S. in statistics) for students wishing to specialize in these areas. Challenges remain in bringing about a true integration of quantitative methods in our graduate and undergraduate programs. We anticipate a transition period during which rethinking must occur about how and when key undergraduate courses are taught to achieve a true integration of quantitative methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1054
Number of pages6
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Volume29
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Quantitative training
  • Wildlife biometrics
  • Wildlife education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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