Fisheries/Aquatic Biology

The Department of Biological Sciences at Murray State University offers a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the area of fisheries or aquatic biology. This program is designed to provide students with solid foundations in biology, chemistry and applied mathematics, and advanced courses in fisheries biology or aquatic biology. Development of problem solving and communication skills, and an understanding of resource management are major objectives of the program. Students who successfully complete either option are well prepared to compete for state and federal jobs or for admission to graduate programs. Students graduating in the fisheries option meet certification requirements of the American Fisheries Society.

Field Investigations are a major component of courses in fisheries and aquatic biology, and are conducted through use of the region's diverse aquatic habitats and the outstanding facilities available at the Hancock Biological Station on Kentucky Lake. Students have opportunities for individualized instruction, participation in research projects and for on-the-job experience through a variety of grant and contract research projects. Many of these projects have led to publications and to presentations at regional and national scientific meetings.

Murray State University is located in a region of diverse aquatic ecosystems which are used extensively in the fisheries and aquatic biology program. These aquatic systems contain more than 150 fish species and a diversity of other aquatic fauna and flora. The region is bounded by the Mississippi, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Ohio Rivers, and Kentucky and Barkley Lakes are two of the largest reservoirs in the southeastern United States. These two reservoirs are separated by public land known as Land Between the Lakes (LBL) which has been designated by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve. Classes also visit cypress dominated aquatic ecosystems in nearby Reelfoot Lake and Murphy's Pond, and study streams in the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Hancock Biological Station began operation in 1971 as a field extension of Murray State University. The Station is located on 75 acres of woodlands on the western shore of Kentucky Lake approximately 17 miles from the main campus. The close proximity of the Station to Kentucky and Barkley Lakes and the Land Between the Lakes makes it an ideal location for ecologically oriented teaching and research programs. Open year-round, the Station has a boathouse, covered floating dock, and cabins for visiting scientists and students. The Station also operates a fleet of boats and is well-equipped with instrumentation and equipment necessary for field and laboratory studies. A summer program of courses is offered each year at the Station. Classes are kept small to provide the maximum opportunity for individual work and interactions with faculty. Classes meet all day, twice per week, and many students take two courses or one course plus research or independent study. Students enrolled in these classes may elect to stay in one of the cabins at the Station and thus have a total summer field station experience. The Station is also used by visiting classes and faculty, several of which provide seminars. Thus, students enrolled in Station courses have opportunities to interact with people from other institutions.

In 1987, the Kentucky Council on Higher Education established a Center for Reservoir Research at Murray State University. The Center is charged with conducting research on aquatic ecosystems and the education of aquatic scientists. The Center consists of research and teaching facilities at the Hancock Biological Station, Mid-America Remote sensing Center and Chemical Services Laboratory and relies on the expertise of associated faculty in the Departments of Biological Sciences, Geosciences and Chemistry. An aquatic science curriculum can be designed for students interested in course work in each component of the Center.

Suggested Curriculum Outline, B.S. in Fisheries/Aquatic Biology

Fall Year 1 (16 total hours)

  • BIO 100T Transitions (1 credit hour)

  • BIO 115 The Cellular Basis of Life (3 credit hours)

  • MAT 150 Algebra & Trigonometry or MAT 250 Calculus & Analytical Geometry I (5 credit hours)

  • ENG 105 Critical Reading, Writing & Inquiry (4 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Social Science Elective (3 credit hours)

Spring Year 1 (15 total hours)

  • BIO 216 Biological Inquiry & Analysis (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 221 Zoology: Animal Form & Function (4 credit hours)

  • COM 161 Introduction to Public Speaking (3 credit hours)

  • PHY 130/131 General Physics & Lab (4 credit hours)

Fall Year 2 (16 total hours)

  • BIO 222 Botany: Plant Form & Function (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 240 Biological Applications of GIS or EES 202 Introduction to GIS (3 credit hours)

  • CHE 201 General College Chemistry I (5 credit hours)

  • STA 135 Intro to Probability & Statistics (4 credit hours)

Spring Year 2 (15 total hours)

  • BIO 103 Saving Planet Earth or BIO 308 Ethics in Biology (3 credit hours)

  • BIO 330 Ecology (4 credit hours)

  • CHE 202 General College Chemistry II (5 credit hours)

  • CIV 201 or 202 World Civilization I or II (3 credit hours)

Fall Year 3 (15 total hours)

  • BIO 333 Genetics (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 570 Ichthyology (4 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Restricted Fish/Aq Electives (4 credit hours)

    Restricted Fisheries and Aquatics Biology electives must be chosen from list in the academic bulletin.

  • HUM 211 The Western Humanities Tradition (3 credit hours)

Spring Year 3 (14 total hours)
  • BIO 586 Limnology or BIO 588 Reservoir Ecology (4 credit hours)
  • XXX XXX Restricted Fish/Aq Electives (4 credit hours)
    Restricted Fisheries and Aquatics Biology electives must be chosen from list in the academic bulletin.
  • ENG 224 Writing in the Professions or COM 131 Interpersonal Communications (3 credit hours)
  • XXX XXX Global Awareness Elective (3 credit hours)
Fall Year 4 (14-15 total hours)
  • BIO 578 Conservation Biology or BIO 584 Wildlife Policy & Administration (3-4 credit hours)
  • BIO 582 Fisheries Management (4 credit hours)
  • XXX XXX Restricted Fish/Aq Electives (4 credit hours)
    Restricted Fisheries and Aquatics Biology electives must be chosen from list in the academic bulletin.
  • CHE 210 Brief Organic Chemistry (3 credit hours)
Spring Year 4 (15 total hours)
  • BIO 499 Senior Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • BIO 549 Fisheries Techniques (4 credit hours)
  • XXX XXX Restricted Fish/Aq Electives (1-9 credit hours)
    Restricted Fisheries and Aquatics Biology electives must be chosen from list in the academic bulletin.
  • XXX XXX Unrestricted Electives (0-8 credit hours)
  • CHE 215 Brief Organic Chemistry Lab (1 credit hours)

Fall Year 1 Post Associate's Degree (15 total hours)

  • BIO 240 Biological Applications of GIS or EES 202 Introduction to GIS (3 credit hours)

  • BIO 330 Principles of Ecology (4 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Restricted Fish/Aq Elective (4 credit hours)

  • STA 135 Intro to Probability & Statistics (4 credit hours)

Spring Year 1 Post Associate's Degree (15 total hours)

  • BIO 333 Genetics (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 586 Limnology or BIO 588 Reservoir Ecology (4 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Restricted Fish/Aq Elective (4 credit hours)

    Restricted Fisheries and Aquatics Biology electives must be chosen from list in the academic bulletin.

  • ENG 224 Writing in the Professions or COM 131 Interpersonal Communication (3 credit hours)

Fall Year 2 Post Associate's Degree (15-16 total hours)

  • BIO 570 Ichthyology (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 578 Conservation Biology or Bio 584 Wildlife Policy & Administration (3-4 credit hours)

  • BIO 582 Fisheries Management (4 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Restricted Elective (4 credit hours)

Spring Year 2 Post Associate's Degree (15 total hours)

  • BIO 549 Fisheries Techniques (4 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Restricted Fish/Aq Electives (1-9 credit hours)

    Restricted Fisheries and Aquatics Biology electives must be chosen from list in the academic bulletin.

  • XXX XXX Unrestricted Electives (1-8 credit hours)

  • BIO 499 Senior Seminar (1 credit hour)

Note, the transfer student pathway follows the pre-Biology Curriculum from WKCTC. It assumes that students have taken courses that will transfer as Murray State's BIO 115, BIO 216, BIO 221, BIO 222, CHE 201, CHE 202, MAT 150 and PHY 130/131. See Murray State Transfer Equivalency Tool to help you figure out how courses transfer from your current institution.

For More Information Please Contact:

Dr. Tim Spier

Associate Professor, Graduate Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences

2112 Biology Building

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