Course Offerings - Summer 2014

Courses are field-intensive research-based experiences led by nationally recruited instructors. Field courses can be physically demanding. Participants should be willing to embrace long hours out of doors in sometimes rugged environments, and in all weather conditions.

  • Applications are accepted until courses start.
  • Enrollment is limited to 12. 
  • Non-college students are welcome to enroll. 
  • Financial assistance is available.

► Fees and Information (inc. How do I register for a class? What UVA requirements do MLBS courses fulfill?)

► Course Application


Summer Session I: May 19 - June 13


Dave Neely, Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute

This course will provide an introduction to the diversity, ecology, and conservation of the freshwater fish fauna of the southeastern U.S. Proficiency in field techniques and knowledge of the regional fauna will be developed through field trips and lab exercises.  We will explore the challenges and threats specific to freshwater ecosystems that can lead to their imperilment.  Through both field and case studies specific to the southeastern U.S. we will explore the principles and methods of conservation biology, ecology and evolution, and their application to the preservation of fish diversity.

PLANT CONSERVATION AND DIVERSITY: Bioinformatics, Systematics, and Field Techniques, 3 credits, BIOL 4751/7751

Zack Murrell, Appalachian State University

The extraordinary diversity of the southern Appalachians will serve as a backdrop to explore the world of plants. We will visit unique and wide-ranging regional mountain habitats to learn, and develop an appreciation for, different species assemblages. Biodiversity issues at these sites will be explored. The methodology and management activities of state and federal agencies involved in conservation will be examined to evaluate their effectiveness. Based upon our observations and analyses, we will critique contemporary views of the most effective conservation units (individual, population, species, family, habitat, etc.) and the methods used to achieve these conservation goals.

Short Course: May 19 - May 30

ArtLab Course - SCIENCE WRITING: Creative Approaches to Biology and Ecology, 3 credits, BIOL 2757/STS 2500

Hannah Rogers, University of Virginia

Writing is fundamental to the practice and appreciation of science. We observe, think, and write about individual organisms, ecosystems, patterns and anomalies, to record our findings and to reach broader publics. This course aims to make students better writers as they communicate to specialist knowledge communities and to other citizens. Students will be inspired by the environment at Mountain Lake and other prominent nature and science writers (eg. Wordsworth, Oliver, Cole, Thoreau, McPhee, Berry) and use the experience to produce creative written works ranging from environmental essays to poems.  


Summer Session II: June16 - July 11

FIELD HERPETOLOGY, 3 credits, BIOL 4754/7754

Caitlin Fisher-Reid, University of Richmond

We will explore “life in cold blood” as it is exemplified by the diversity and natural history of amphibian and reptile communities of the Appalachian Mountains and nearby areas.  In addition to natural history, course activities will focus on conservation, behavior, and ecology of local amphibians and reptiles. Students will learn methodology for identification and monitoring, as well as how studies of amphibians and reptiles have increased our general understanding of evolution, ecology, and organismal biology. Class will consist of lectures, field-based laboratories, and collaborative research projects.

GIS FOR FIELD BIOLOGISTS, 3 credits, BIOL 4757/7757

Chris Gist, University of Virginia

This course will cover the fundamentals of Geographic Information System (GIS) and spatial analysis as applied to biological questions.  Through laboratory assignments and independent projects, students will learn spatial theory, spatial analysis, and hands-on use of GIS software (including ArcGIS).  Students will use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in the field and learn to incorporate this technology into spatial analyses.  Activities will include the exploration of GIS techniques with application in ecology, evolution, conservation, disease ecology, and human land-use through analysis and discussion of the primary literature.

Summer Session III: July 14 - August 1

STREAM ECOLOGY, 3 credits, BIOL 4752/7752

Christine May and Scott Eaton, James Madison University

Students will focus on integrating principles of stream and watershed ecology as a means of gaining insight into stream-dwelling organisms and their environments.  Course goals are to introduce students to: 1) the physical, chemical and biological organization of aquatic ecosystems, 2) current theories in stream and watershed ecology, and 3) lab and field methods for conducting stream research.  Students will partake in field and laboratory explorations, and participate in lectures and student-led discussions. 

Research / Independent Studies Credit: Offered all Sessions


By special arrangement. Contact the Station. 

Independent research credit is available for graduate students pursuing degrees at the University of Virginia and for undergraduates who have made advance arrangements with faculty at the Station.  For example, REU students, and summer course students whose instructor has decided to offer research credit as an option, may register for Biological Research.

► Fees and Information  (inc. How do I register for a class? What UVA requirements do MLBS courses fulfill?)


► Course Application