The Conservation Sciences Graduate Program (formerly known as Conservation Biology) was established in 1990 and is the largest interdisciplinary program at the University of Minnesota. It has 85-90 students and equal number of faculty members from 22 departments, 7 colleges and 11 agencies. The students are trained in one of the two tracks, 1) Conservation Science (ConSci) Track and 2) Fisheries and Aquatic Biology (FAB) Track. The Conservation Science Track provides structure and oversight for students interested in the interface of population, species, and ecosystem biology with disciplines of social sciences, education, economics, and law. The Fisheries and Aquatic Biology Track focuses on conservation and management of fisheries and aquatic systems. Both tracks offer MS and Ph. D. degrees in Conservation Sciences as well as joint degrees (JD/MS, JD/PhD) with the Law School and a minor.
The Conservation Sciences program is highly interdisciplinary and offers graduate opportunities that truly integrate problem-solving across the social and biological sciences. The students partner with local, state and federal conservation agencies and national and international non-government organizations to improve conservation and management of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and well-being of humans. Student research projects range from the effects of walleye fishing tournaments on walleye survival, genetic diversity in the endangered Great Lakes piping plover population, improvement of oil and gas road reclamation in the Badlands, the role of exotic earthworm in forest degradation, community based monitoring of tigers in Nepal, and lion-human conflict in Tanzania to name a few. Click here for more research titles.
Research, teaching and outreach in Conservation Sciences have been promoted through various University of Minnesota institutes and centers, notably the Bell Museum of Natural History, the Raptor Center, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Itasca and Cloquet Field Stations, Institure on the Environment, the Institute for Social, Environmental and Economic Sustainability, the Center for Community Genetics, Invasion Biology Research Consortium, and the Center for Global Change. The University's location within a government and commercial center has created numerous partnerships with federal and state agencies, as well as non-profit organizations to address conservation biology issues. In addition, 18 members of the Conservation Sciences program are adjunct faculty from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the Minnesota Zoo, the Pollution Control Agency, and The Nature Conservancy.