Students of fisheries and aquatic sciences learn the skills necessary to understand and manage freshwater fish populations.  This study also includes an understanding of the relationships among physical, chemical and biological components of aquatic ecosystems. Graduates of this program may go on to work as scientists and managers for state and federal natural resource agencies, researchers, or as professionals for environmental consulting firms, nonprofit environmental firms, and water-based industries.  Current Students please visit the Watershed Sciences Department homepage for current news and information or the Watershed Science department's undergraduate homepage

Faculty Advisor:  Wayne Wurtsbaugh
                            BNR 106

Club membership is not specific to any major in the College of Natural Resources and all students are encouraged to get involved.  Visit the Student Organizations website to see how to get involved in what interests you.


What is Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences?

The Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences is the study of the biology of rivers, lakes, and wetlands.  The program highlights the ecology of freshwater and marine systems, management of important fisheries, restoration of riparian and wetland areas and restoration, and protection of the plant and animal communities in lakes and rivers.


What type of students study Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences?

Students who . . .

  • Want to apply their knowledge of biological sciences to real-world situations.
  • Like to work outside, on rivers, lakes, and reservoirs.
  • Are interested in restoring water related habitats such as wetlands and riparian areas.
  • Would like to prevent and reduce water pollution.

What do Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences majors study?

Students in this major receive a solid foundation in

  • math and science
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • calculus
  • physics
  • statistics
  • general ecology

They then focus on watershed science courses, including hydrology and limnology and on the management and ecology of fisheries and other aquatic organisms.   Capstone courses provide the valuable opportunity to apply the skills and knowledge they’ve to “real world” problems. Students may use their electives to explore interests in policy or water law, environmental history or ethics, oceanography, or genetics.


What kind of jobs do the graduates get? 

Curriculum can meet the USA Federal Government's Office of Personnel Management requirements for the Fish Biologist Series

Fisheries biologists and aquatic scientists work for state and federal agencies, private consulting firms and no-governmental organizations such as Trout Unlimited or The Nature Conservancy to:

  • Restore endangered fish populations.
  • Manage lakes and reservoirs.
  • Restore river systems such as the Colorado or Green rivers.
  • Improve water quality in streams and lakes.
  • Use computer tools such as GIS to analyze land uses and their effects on water.

What are recent graduates doing?

  • Graduate School University of Colorado
  • USFS Hydrologic Technician, Alaska
  • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
  • USDA Wildlife Services
  • USFS Fish biologist, Nevada
  • See the Where Are They Now Page for more alumni information