These courses will build practical skills and practices for working in the field.
This is an online course with some field work that teaches how to to recognize a variety of animal tracks and sign, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of animal behaviors relating to the habitats frequented, feeding locations, den/bedding areas and other activities.
WIS 6561 Wildlife Crime Scene Processing
This course will serve as an introduction to wildlife crime scene investigations. The purpose of the course is to give the student an overview of procedures and protocols that can be used when processing a wildlife crime scene and will discuss in detail various types of evidence. Students will gain an understanding of forensic science and its disciplines and will know how to properly document and process a crime scene where wildlife may be the victim or possibly the perpetrator. Students will learn about evidence recognition and handling as well as record keeping to prevent undocumented scene details or lost or damaged evidence. Topics will also include various methods to properly conduct a search of the scene and record information, as well as tricks and techniques for equipment improvisation when in the field. Students will also become familiar with various presumptive test methods that can be utilized at the scene to identify items of evidence, and will have gained a background in basic species morphology.
WIS 6559 Contemporary Issues in Wildlife Protection and Conservation
This course is an introduction to wildlife conservation and ecology issues that may impact the investigation of wildlife crime. At the successful completion of this course, students will have an understanding of wildlife ecology, biodiversity, current environmental and wildlife concerns such as habitat destruction, invasive species, and climate change, and topics related to population ecology, restoration ecology and ecological succession. The student will have also learned some of the various considerations in wildlife management and population assessments, in addition to how to evaluate animal populations for decreases, altered structure, or changing adaptations. The student will be familiar with the current trends in wildlife and biodiversity threats, including poaching, illegal trade, and environmental disasters, as well as some investigative tools such as soil and isotopic analysis, chemical fingerprinting, microscopy, and new and novel environmental forensic techniques that can be used to combat these issues.
WIS 6557 International Wildlife Conservation Law, Policy & Ethics
Despite the global threat of diminishing natural resources to the survival of all living beings, establishing mechanisms for conservation on an international scale presents daunting challenges. Added to the difficulties of reaching agreement on the scope of the problem and the goals of conservation amidst myriad competing interests, unified legal mechanisms to ensure successful efforts are virtually non-existent. Positive change for wildlife conservation requires that everyone, from citizens to scientists to lawmakers of all nations work together to establish sound conservation goals, practices and legally enforceable protocols. Upon successful completion of the course, students will understand the complexity of the international legal structure and be able to identify the current organizations tasked with developing and enforcing international wildlife laws. In addition, students will gain critical thinking skills necessary to identify the ethical, cultural and societal concerns complicating solutions to contemporary conservation issues. The course is split into 12 modules spanning 16 weeks. Learning objectives will be accomplished through a combination of lecture material, readings, writing assignments, exams and online active discussions. Case studies will be used to supplement the lessons.
WIS 6558 U.S. Wildlife Law, Policy & Ethics
Upon successful completion of this course students will possess a thorough understanding of the U.S. legal system governing fish and wildlife conservation as it relates to wildlife management and will develop the skills necessary to analyze the complex stakeholder motivations affecting U.S. wildlife conservation policies from multiple perspectives.
WIS 5562 Conservation Medicine
The discipline of conservation medicine results from a long evolution of trans-disciplinary thinking merged from the health and ecological sciences. This course will examine the links between climate, habitat and land use, emergence and re-emergence of infectious disease, parasites, and environmental contaminants, and the maintenance of biodiversity as an indicator of the ecohealth of a community. The course will describe conservation medicine in a historical context, and includes case studies and applied techniques. Conservation medicine stresses the importance of recognizing that human health, animal health, and ecosystem health are inextricably interdependent.
Wildlife forensics is an emerging discipline within the field of conservation medicine. This course will discuss conservation with wildlife forensic science in mind, from the perspective of the transdisciplinary approach. Forensics, as it relates to issues of wildlife crime, the illegal wildlife trade, and the consumption and trade of bushmeat; ecotoxicology as it relates to forensics and the use of plants to harm humans, livestock, or wildlife; applied techniques in conservation as it relates to the forensic sciences will all be discussed. Throughout the course, current topics in wildlife forensics will be covered through the presentation of case studies, examples in the field, and relevant media.
VME 6053 Skeletal Trauma Analysis in Animals
This course provides an introduction to skeletal trauma in non-human remains. In the course of this class, we will cover blunt force, sharp force, projectile, and fighting trauma including the mechanisms of injury. Also covered will be skeletal evidence of other types of abuse including starvation, infection, or neglect. Skeletal pathology will be addressed. Taphonomy will also be discussed particularly in reference to distinguishing postmortem damage from antemortem or perimortem trauma. Learning objectives will be accomplished through a combination of lecture material, readings, online active discussions and case analyses, and a final case analysis presentation.
WIS 6934 Working Dogs in Conservation and Forensic Sciences
The value of the canine nose is well-documented, and working dogs are being increasingly utilized for their olfactory skills in conservation. Dogs are used in forensic science, in the calculation of population trends of endangered species, in the eradication of invasive species in protected environments, in the identification of disease, and in the identification of infestations and chemical contaminants.
WIS 6934 Wildlife Tracks and Sign – available for Fall 2020!
The ability to identify animal sign is fundamental to good science and safe field work, and the goal of this course is to increase your recognition of the visual clues left behind by the myriad of creatures that inhabit a given ecosystem. It is intended for those who wish to improve the skills that can aid them in gaining a deeper understanding of animal behavior, since knowing the whereabouts and movement patterns of animals is critical to ascertaining preferred habitats, what and where they eat, resting and sleeping locations, and other activities.
VME 6574 Aquatic Animal Pathology
WIS 6576 Human-Wildlife Conflict
This course introduces issues of human and wildlife conflict both in historical context & current conservation. Explore solutions, including innovative & traditional agricultural practices, hunting & tourism as potential means of off-setting the cost of wildlife damage, & policy development at the local, regional, and national or international levels.
WIS 6421 Wildlife Toxicology: The Ecohealth Perspective – available for Fall 2020!
This course provides a global assessment of toxicological stressors, including pesticides, environmental contaminants, and other emerging chemical threats, and reviews the impact on wildlife, through an ecohealth perspective. Outlines the physiological and pathological impacts of toxins in wildlife as it relates to the investigative process for wildlife forensics.
WIS 6553 Wildlife Forensic Pathology
Examine the pathology and pathogenesis of infectious and non-infectious diseases, traumatic injury, and poisoning that are a feature of wildlife forensic cases. Recognition of aspects of gross and histopathological pathology and correlate changes with clinical pathology and other data. Understand infectious agents and involvement in the production of pathological lesions.
WIS 6425 Carrion Ecology & Evolution
Carrion Ecology and Evolution includes a range of organisms including molecular, bacterial, fungal, invertebrate, and vertebrate communities. Intra & interspecific interactions related to population biology, community ecology, & processes that manifest into habitats and ecosystems will be addressed. A multidisciplinary view of organisms will provide the basis for understanding decomposition.
VME 6580 Cybercrime in Wildlife Investigations – available for Fall 2020!
Students completing this course will have an understanding of the various forms of cybercrime from the perspective of wildlife investigations. The course will cover not only aspects of computer forensics, mobile device technology, email and network forensics, but also the basics of electronic evidence and processing an electronic crime scene. It will also provide a comprehensive analysis of the legal principles that apply to cybercrime and electronic trade in wildlife. Students will have learned the laws and policies applicable to privacy and digital rights and the acts and statutes governing digital technology. They will also have an understanding of how online investigations help in the fight against wildlife crime. Learning objectives will be accomplished through a combination of lecture material, readings, writing assignments, and online active discussions.
VME 6573 Applications of DNA for Companion Animal and Wildlife Cases – available for Fall 2020!
This course will introduce the student to the basic understanding of DNA and how it is used to identify species and individuals and provide evidence for criminal investigations. Topics will include DNA basics for forensics, collection and processing of DNA evidence, data analysis and interpretation, written reports and courtroom testimony. Upon completion of this course, the student will have basic knowledge of how DNA is used to identify species, gender and individual identification, chain of custody, how to write a report and what is expected during testimony.
WIS 6306 Applied Wildlife Forensic Genetics
Provides the student with understanding of forensic genetics applied to wildlife conservation, DNA distribution in populations, mechanisms for evolutionary change, population genetics in solving forensic problems, genetic markers in forensics, and DNA utilization to investigate crimes against endangered and threatened species. Will prepare students for the Forensic Genetics Capstone course. Prereq: VME 6573.
SUR 6934 GIS Fundamentals – available for Fall 2020!
This course introduces geographic information systems to Geomatics and natural resources students. The course aims at providing both theoretical background and diversified practical skills needed in many applications. Students learn basic GIS data modeling and managing concepts, spatial references, and analysis tools. Real world case studies involving data modeling, overlay analysis, and surface modeling are presented.
STA 6093 Introduction to Applied Statistics for Agricultural and Life Sciences
Provides students with a conceptual and practical understanding of the application of statistics in the agricultural and life sciences. A combination of lectures, programming demonstrations, data exercises using the programming language R, group activities, and primary literature will be used.
WIS 6905 Botswana Field Course/Study Abroad
Work with wildlife and apply forensics skills to real world situations in Africa! This three-week course gives you the opportunity to travel extensively throughout northern South Africa and the entire country of Botswana, experience the ecosystems and conservation dynamics of both countries and see the concepts learned in your classes come to life. Participate in rhino ear notching, helicopter darting and chemical immobilization, camera trapping, telemetry exercises, wildlife forensic investigations and crime scene processing, and vegetation surveys. Come study with us in Africa!