Ecology & Biodiversity, Fisheries & Wildlife Biology

Flint Hills tallgrass prairie

Students interested in undergraduate or graduate studies in ecology, biodiversity, evolutionary biology, environmental biology, or fisheries and wildlife management are encouraged to consider work at Emporia State University.  The Department of Biological Sciences at ESU has a long history of excellent research and instruction in natural history, fisheries & wildlife biology, ecology, and organismal biology.  This includes studies of fungi, plants, invertebrates, parasites, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.  Emporia, Kansas is located on the eastern edge of the Flint Hills terrestrial ecoregion within easy reach of several diverse field sites.  Eight Natural Areas encompassing over 500 acres of tallgrass prairie, wetlands, and eastern deciduous forest provide classroom/laboratory opportunities for student research and field trips.  Students also have access to the nearby 18,500-acre Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge and the 10,894-acre Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.  Students conduct research in theoretical and applied fields, and are encouraged to disseminate their research results through presentations at professional meetings and publications in peer-reviewed journals.  The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism research office, located on campus, provides another excellent opportunity for training and professional development.  We also offer an interdepartmental certification or minor in GeoSpatial Analysis, one of the fasting growing technologies in ecology and resource management.

The Department also has an active student internship program with the David Traylor Zoo of Emporia.  Students have the opportunity to participate in zookeeper tasks at the zoo, supervised and trained by zoo personnel, and earn college credit for the experience.  Several students have gone on to part-time or full-time employment with the zoo following their internship.  Our students have also conducted research at the zoo, on subjects as varied as overwintering behavior in turtles, handedness in lemurs, and methods of zoo educational outreach.

Undergraduate Studies

For more information about our undergraduate program in Ecology and Biodiversity, please see our Academic Advising sheet (this is a PDF file) or the ESU Undergraduate Catalog.  For information about admissions to Emporia State University (including online application forms) please visit the Undergraduate Admissions page.  Students may be able to obtain certification as an Associate Fisheries Professional (American Fisheries Society) or an Associate Wildlife Biologist (The Wildlife Society) by taking the necessary electives in addition to our required courses (click here to see a list of courses offered in our department).  Experience in the form of internships, paid or volunteer positions, and research is strongly encouraged in addition to coursework.

ESU’s Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society is active in promoting professionalism, networking, and conservation awareness and education in fisheries & wildlife management, and is involved in many hands-on research and management activities in the region, as well as fund-raisers and social events.   

Graduate Studies

For more information about graduate studies in biology at ESU, please see our graduate webpage or contact the graduate coordinator, Dr. Bill Jensen.  For general information about graduate studies at ESU, including application forms, visit the Graduate Studies and Research page.  Students interested in pursuing a master's degree in biology with an emphasis in ecology, environmental, or evolutionary biology are encouraged to contact one of the faculty members below with whom you share interests. 

Ecology & Biodiversity Faculty

Flint Hills photo courtesy of the Kansas Geological Survey.