Feb 21, 2024  
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog 
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Conservation

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The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture offers graduate study leading to a Master of Science in Wildlife Ecology, a non-thesis Master of Wildlife Conservation, and a Doctoral degree in Wildlife Ecology. A broad range of ecosystems, modern laboratory facilities, and a diversified staff provide excellent opportunities for graduate study in wildlife ecology. Emphasis is placed on detailed studies of wildlife species and the habitats in which they live. Research may be conducted in such areas as terrestrial and aquatic ecology, fisheries, physiology, behavior, population dynamics, resource management, and the influence of environmental disturbances.

The department is home to federal biologists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Cooperative Fisheries and Wildlife Research Unit.  These scientists have faculty appointments and advise graduate students. Other personnel from the U.S. Geological Survey participate in the program as do biologists from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.



Students are admitted to this graduate program on the basis of their academic records, GRE scores, experience, and recommendations. For M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, students are only admitted when teaching or research assistantships are available. Becasue of this, interested students are strongly encouraged to contact and coordinate with prospective major professors to assess potential for support before applying.  Available assistantships are posted on the Department web page. These assistantships include stipends and payment of tuition. Additional funding is available for research expenses on most projects.

Degree Requirements

In addition to the requirements of the Graduate School, the following requirements must be met by graduate students in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology:

The student’s advisory committee should be constituted during the first semester to provide program direction and aid in development of the student’s research proposal; the student’s  program of study should be completed during the first semester; and the student should complete a detailed thesis proposal prior to the beginning of the second semester.

All students must have finished course work in the following subject areas, either in a previous program or prior to completion of the graduate degree. At least three courses must be taken within the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology (either taught by our faculty or with WLE designator). One of these three courses must be at a 500 level or greater.

Biology - 15 credits to include:

  • Ecology 3 cr.
  • and two of the following:
  • Vertebrate Zoology 3 cr.
  • Invertebrate Zoology 3 cr.
  • Botany 3 cr.

Conservation - 9 credits to include:

  • Habitat Conservation 3 cr.
  • Population Conservation 3 cr.
  • Resource Economics and Policy 3 cr.

Analytical Tools - 6 credits to include:

  • Statistics 3 cr.

and up to 3 credits may be satisfied by:

  • GIS 3 cr.
  • Modeling 3 cr.

M.S. candidates are required to complete at least 20 course credits.

MWC students must complete a 4-credit independent study on a topic selected by the student and advisory committee and submit a formal report for approval by the committee. Though this is not a thesis, it will require the review and quality of presentation suitable for publication.

A comprehensive examination consisting of both written and oral sections is administered to Ph.D. candidates after the majority of the student’s course work is completed.

All theses must be written in publication format and presented at a Department seminar and defended during a final oral examination.

Each Ph.D. candidate also is required to undertake a program to broaden or extend his or her knowledge in a discipline that is ancillary to wildlife ecology. A suitable discipline will be selected by the candidate and his or her graduate committee. Selection will be based on the candidate’s background and professional aspirations. Suitable disciplines might include foreign languages, quaternary studies, economics, biochemistry, physiology, geographic information systems (GIS), or statistical theory. The level of effort of this endeavor should equal at least six credit hours, but need not take the form of structured course work if a suitable alternative is developed. Upon completion of this effort, the candidate will demonstrate his or her proficiency to the graduate committee to fulfill this requirement.

All Ph.D. candidates are required to have at least one semester of teaching experience.

The credit hour requirement for doctoral students in Wildlife Ecology shall include a minimum of 50 credit hours, which may include a maximum of 30 credit hours from the master’s program. A minimum of 35 credit hours will be in course work, of which 20 hours must be in graduate level (500/600) courses. Ph.D. students are expected to be engaged in full-time work on their Ph.D. program for a minimum of two full years; most programs last 3-4 years beyond the master’s degree.

Further Information

For the most up to date details about specific aspects of the program and the availability of assistantships, visit http://umaine.edu/wle/graduate-program/ or write to the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology.  wildeco@maine.edu

Graduate Faculty


Aram J.K Calhoun, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1996), Professor.  Vernal pool ecoogy and conservation, wetland ecology. 

Erik J. Blomberg, Ph.D. (University of Nevada, 2012), Assistant Professor. Population dynamics of avian wildlife.

Stephen M. Coghlan, Jr., Ph.D. (State University of New York, 2004), Associate Professor. Energetic ecology of Atlantic salmon, brook trout, and smallmouth bass; fish response to dam removal; role of anadromous fishes in stream food webs; ecology of headwater streams; fish foraging; fish-habitat relations.

Daniel J. Harrison, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1986), Professor. Wildlife-habitat relationships, interactions among forest management practices and wildlife populations, predator ecology.

Malcolm L. Hunter, Jr., D. Phil. (Oxford University, 1978), Professor and Libra Professor. Conservation biology, forest wildlife management, landscape ecology, international conservation.

Cynthia S. Loftin, Ph.D. (University of Florida, 1998), Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Unit Leader, Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Systems ecology, landscape ecology, wetlands ecology, GIS applications.

Alessio Mortelliti, Ph.D. (University of Rome “La Sapienza”, 2008), Assistant Professor. Conservation biology, effects of land-use change on vertebrates, mammalogy, quantitative modelling, wildlife surveys & monitoring.

Amber M. Roth, Ph.D. (Michigan Technological University, 2012), Assistant Professor. Forest ecology and land use.  

Frederick A. Servello, Ph.D. (Virginia Polytech Inst. and State Univ., 1985), Professor. Foraging ecology, habitat relationships of birds and mammals.

Carly C. Sponarsky, Ph.D. (Memorial University, 2014).  Assistant Professor.  Human dimensions of wildlife conservation.

Joseph D. Zydlewski, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts, 1998), Professor and Assistant Leader-Fisheries, Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.  Physiology, behavior and ecology of migratory fishes both in the laboratory and in the field.

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