Although water covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, the freshwater that people rely upon comprises less than 1% of all the water on Earth. Supporting the water needs of human populations and maintaining water quality in our rivers, lakes and groundwater will be one of the dominant environmental issues of the 21st century.
The Odum School of Ecology has one of the best programs in the U.S. for aquatic ecology. Aquatic ecologists in the Odum School have been leaders in long term ecological research that explores the influence of human activities on freshwater ecosystems. Faculty interests range from impacts of climate change on tropical stream food webs to the effects of loss of amphibian biodiversity on stream communities. Other faculty study long-term changes in fish populations including several rare and endangered species found only in Georgia. The Odum School is home to the River Basin Center which sponsors interdisciplinary research on water issues and works with community stakeholders to implement strategies to effectively manage water resources.
Students can select courses tailored to their career goals. For example, students interested in aquatic conservation issues should take ECOL 3530 Conservation Biology, ECOL 4050/4050L Ichthyologyand ECOL4310/4310L Freshwater Ecosystems. All students with the aquatic ecology area of emphasis should consider taking coursework for the Certificate in Water Resources.
Many students enroll in ECOL 4960 Research to gain research experience by working with faculty and graduate students. For students interested in public policy related to aquatic systems, a summer internship with a non-profit group or government agency would provide an excellent opportunity to explore career options.