New Field Biology Courses Offered At Pymatuning Laboratory Of Ecology

Posted on 4/19/2012 2:06:22 PM

Students can earn 4 credits per course and make progress in their upper-level biology classes by taking field biology courses at Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology.


The Pymatuning Lab of Ecology (PLE) offers its courses to a consortium of regional universities to better serve the region. While PLE is operated by the University of Pittsburgh main campus, the educational consortium has grown over the past five years to include Pitt–Bradford, Pitt–Greensburg, Pitt–Johnstown, Pitt–Titusville, Clarion University, Edinboro University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University, and the University of Wyoming.

Over the past five years, we have also made tremendous efforts to improve the quality of the courses, residences, and catered food. Students have responded strongly to these improvements. Enrollment from all universities in the consortium has increased by 95 percent.

For 2012, we have assembled another impressive collection of high-quality courses. These courses offer you the chance to satisfy your hunger for field experience, improve your resume, meet requirements for your major, and interact with a diverse array of teaching and research faculty.

Courses which satisfy requirements for IUP Biology majors in the Ecology, Conservation, and Environmental Biology track are marked with an asterisk, below.


Session 1: May 14–June 1


4 credits BIOL 490 sec 003

Anthony Bledsoe (University of Pittsburgh)

What better way to learn ecology than to be outdoors seeing it for yourself? Lectures and laboratory exercises emphasize environmental factors, populations, communities, ecosystems, and biodiversity. Bledsoe’s outdoor experiments and field trips are a great way to help understand the lecture material.

Forest Ecology

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 003

Walter Carson (University of Pittsburgh)

In this course, you’ll study the ecology, management, and conservation of forests. Pack your sleeping bag for an overnight field trip to study a major regional forest type, the beautiful Allegheny National Forest. Lectures, labs, and an independent project will get you on your way to become a professional forest ecologist!

Wetland Ecology and Management

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 003

Instructor: TBA

Discover the wonders of wetlands! This course will help you discover them and provide an understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur within and around wetlands and how these processes relate to the management of wetland systems for wildlife. Visit many different types of wetlands in the Pymatuning area!

Session 2: June 4–June 22


4 credits BIOL 490 sec 004

Randy Layne (Slippery Rock University)

What better way to learn ecology than to be outdoors seeing it for yourself? Lectures and laboratory exercises emphasize environmental factors, populations, communities, ecosystems, and biodiversity. Layne’s outdoor experiments and field trips are a great way to help understand the lecture material.

Ornithology (Bird Ecology)

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 004

Anthony Bledsoe (University of Pittsburgh)

Have you ever wished you could tell the difference among birds and among bird calls? Then this class is for you! Learn all about the biology of birds, with an emphasis on bird anatomy, physiology, behavior, reproduction, and ecology. This course combines lectures and laboratory experiences with superb field trips to Presque Isle, Powdermill Nature Reserve, and the Allegheny National Forest.

Field Botany

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 004

Jerry Chmielewski (Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania)

Who doesn’t like to see picturesque wildflowers in the forest and fields? June is an excellent month to view wildflowers and all of the other spring and summer plants. This course teaches you how to identify wildflowers, shrubs, and trees as well as how to collect and prepare specimens. Day trips to local arboretums are sure to be on the schedule!

Field Techniques in Ecology and Conservation*

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 004

Tim Nuttle (Indiana University of Pennsylvania)

A new course for 2012! This class is designed to give practical, hands-on experience in a variety of field techniques used in aquatic and terrestrial ecology and conservation. Topics include orienteering, vegetation sampling, radio telemetry, GIS and GPS, animal population sampling, aquatic insect surveying, and the design of research studies.

Session 3: June 25–July 13

Ecology of Fish

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 005

Andrew Turner (Clarion University of Pennsylvania)

The Pymatuning area’s lakes, ponds and streams are perfect for studying fish! Learn about population and community ecology of freshwater fishes—including identification, age and growth, life-history, trophic interactions and biogeography of fish. Daily trips to various aquatic habitats will provide field experience.

Ecology of Amphibians and Reptiles: Herpetology

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 005

Peter Lindeman (Edinboro University of Pennsylvania)

What is the difference between a salamander and a lizard? You will learn this and much more on just the first day of class! You not only get to canoe the rivers of western Pennsylvania and cruise in a pontoon boat on Pymatuning Lake in search of these amphibians and reptiles, but you’ll learn about their identification, ecology, and conservation.

Session 4: July 16–Aug. 3

Wildlife Management*

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 006

Morty Ortega (University of Connecticut)

The Pymatuning area is a perfect location to learn the principles of wildlife management including the management of habitats, exotic wildlife, urban wildlife, and nongame species. Ortega will captivate you with lectures and field trips that illustrate how biologists manage wild populations. (Note: this course will meet every day from July 16 to July 30)

Conservation Biology*

4 credits BIOL 490 sec 006

Steve Latta (The National Aviary)

To protect and conserve the diversity of plants and animals in nature, we need to understand how to integrate ecology, management, and public policy. Latta uses activities such as bird banding and trips to Powdermill Nature Reserve to offer hands-on demonstrations of conservation principles.

How to enroll

Log on to URSA and pick the BIOL 490 session pertaining to the course you want to take. Then e-mail Tim Nuttle ( and tell him which specific class you want so your spot can be reserved. Each class is 4 credits of IUP tuition paid to IUP.

Additional fees and information

IUP Department of Biology