Ecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems

The Ecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems (ETE) track is designed to prepare students for careers as environmental and natural resource scientists for government agencies or NGOs, consultants, and many others, and to provide a solid foundation for students interested future graduate-level work in terrestrial ecology, including forest ecology, plant ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry and other allied disciplines. The overarching objective of the ETE track is to provide students with a broad theoretical and technical scientific background, allowing students to effectively acquire and apply scientific knowledge within the field of conservation.  Suggested coursework focuses on providing students with fundamental skills, including use of the scientific method (study design), synthesis of the primary scientific literature, field analysis (including data collection and measurement of both biotic and abiotic factors in the environment), taxonomy, statistics, and GIS. The track has also been designed to familiarize students with the underlying concepts in the ecology-related disciplines, including geology, soil science, hydrology, biology and botany, while simultaneously providing students with understanding of economics, policy and society and how those factors interact to influence the management and conservation of terrestrial ecosystems.

The ETE track in Resource Conservation meets all the requirements for the Ecologist Series (GS-408) in the Federal Government (e.g., USDA Forest Service, USGS, Park Service, and others). The 408 series requires that students take at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences (these hours must include at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences).  We strongly encourage students interested in graduate school to conduct an independent research project and/or senior thesis  and to plan to take calculus (M162), physics (PHSX 121N) and additional coursework in applied statistics (e.g., STAT 451).

Required Core Curriculum

In addition to specialized courses in the Ecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems track, all students must complete the required core curriculum. 

Within the required core curriculum, students in the Ecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems track should take M 162 Applied Calculus, STAT 216 Intro Statistics, BIOB 170 Biological Diversity, FORS 330 Forest Ecology, and BIOE 370 Ecology.

Degree Requirements

Suggested Courses for the Ecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems Track

The following courses are recommended for students emphasizing Ecology of Terrestrial Ecosystems.  Please note that the courses in bold are the most important courses for students in this track to take.  

SUGGESTED COURSES PREREQUISITES CREDITS
CHMY 123N - Intro to Organic & Biochemistry 3
GEO 101N - Intro to Physical Geology 3
BIOB 272 - Genetics & Evolution 
-or-
BIOB 480 - Conservation Genetics 
BIOB 260

BIOB 275
3

3
PHSX 205N - College Physics I/Lab 5
NRSM 455 - Riparian Ecology & Management 
-or-
BIOE 428 - Freshwater Ecology
 
NRSM 385

BIOB 170
3

3
NRSM 385 - Watershed Hydrology 3
BIOO 335 - Rocky Mountain Flora  BIOB 160 or 170 3
FORS 240 - Tree Biology 3
ECNS 201S - Principles of Microeconomics
WILD 275 - Wildlife Habitat Conservation 3
FORS 347 - Multiple Resource Silviculture  FORS 330 3
Electives - (12 credits are recommended, including one ecology course)
FORS 241 - Dendrology BIOB 170 3
NRSM 265 - Elements of  Ecological Restoration  1 ecology or biology course 3
NRSM 335 - Environmental Entomology  BIOB 170 3
NRSM 365 - Restoration Ecology  NRSM 265 3
NRSM 415 - Environmental Soil Science ENSC 245 3
NRSM 408 - Global Cycles & Climate 3
NRSM 418 - Ecosystem Climatology 3
NRSM 462 - Range Ecology NRSM 360 3
BIOO 320 - General Botany BIOB 170 3
BIOO 433 - Plant Physiology BIOB 170 3
BIOE 449 - Plant Biogeography 3

Note: NRSM 455 (Riparian Ecology and Management), BIOE 428 (Freshwater Ecology) and/or NRSM 385 (Watershed Hydrology) may also be used to partially fulfill the 12-credit elective requirement if not taken previously.