*Current students should consult Blackboard for course materials*

NRM 2305 – Introduction to Freshwater Ecology and Fisheries

Water shapes continents and regulates climates. Every species on earth—including Homo sapiens—requires water to survive. Therefore, aquatic ecosystems represent a critical management focus. In this course, students will be introduced to the complex interactions of physical, chemical, and biological elements that comprise freshwater ecosystems. Furthermore, students will apply general ecological and scientific principles to the unique challenges encountered in management of fresh waters. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify the unique chemical and physical properties of water
  • Explain movement of water through the hydrologic cycle
  • Characterize, compare, and contrast groundwater, lentic, and lotic habitats
  • Classify aquatic organisms by taxonomy, function, habitat, and interaction
  • Describe spatial and temporal dynamics in freshwater ecosystems
  • Assess positive and negative consequences of human interaction with freshwater ecosystems

NRM 3308 – Quantitative Methods in Natural Resources Management

Effective natural resources management depends upon systematic collection of data, appropriate analysis of those data, and the drawing of conclusions based on those analyses. Quantitative methods—especially statistics—discipline scientific thinking and strengthen our ability to gain understanding about the natural world. This course will introduce students to quantitative concepts and statistical methods (t-tests, analysis of variance, regression, and correlation) commonly applied to natural resource ecology, conservation, and management. Students will study the work of others who have applied such methods to the collection and analysis of ecological data in the past as well as gain proficiency applying quantitative methods—ranging from experimental design to statistical analyses and interpretation—to data sets of their own.  Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Relate samples and populations using descriptive statistics such as mean and variance
  • Design experiments and data collection strategies to facilitate analysis and interpretation
  • Identify the appropriate use of and successfully apply t-tests, analysis of variance, regression, and correlation
  • Select appropriate visual data representations and interpret visual data representations produced by others

NRM 4320 – Natural Resource Policy
& NRM 5320 – Natural Resource Biopolitics

Although natural resources represent ecological entities, human interaction with natural resources is social, economic, and political. In this course, students will learn not only the content of contemporary policies guiding natural resources use, management, and conservation, but also explore their historical contexts and development through time. Students will develop an understanding of the processes through which policies are conceived, developed, and implemented. Furthermore, students will gain experience articulating opinions, asking questions, considering different points of view, and becoming agents in increasing their own understanding on critical—and often contentious—natural resources management and policy issues. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:      

  • Describe historical and modern natural resources policies in the United States
  • Identify major agents and explain general processes through which policies are conceived, developed, and implemented
  • Evaluate natural resources policy based on ecological, social, and legal perspectives
  • Communicate policy-relevant information effectively to various audiences, including the public and policymakers  

IS 2101 – Inquiry & Investigation 

The search for knowledge and truth represents a uniquely human enterprise, and many routes for understanding the surrounding world exist, including sensory experience, emotion, reason, and faith, among others. Science, from the Latin scientia meaning “knowledge,” provides one framework to organize understanding of the universe based on description of observations (“what happened?”), development of theories to explain observations (“why did it happen?”), and systematic undertaking of research to acquire new observations and test theory. The purpose of the two-semester Program in Inquiry and Investigative Thinking (Pi2) is to introduce incoming first-year Texas Tech students to science and research in a university setting.

The first semester of the course will provide students with a foundation of information and experiences upon which to build their undergraduate research careers. Topics covered through readings, discussions, classroom exercises, and laboratory activities will include the philosophy of science, the scientific method, responsible research conduct, ethics, safety, the use of animals and human subjects in research, and introductory molecular laboratory procedures, among many others. In many cases, experts at the university in these areas will lead associated lessons. Students will also become immersed in the scientific literature as they begin to design and execute a class research project with their peers and instructor.

In the section semester, students will continue to implement a class research project, including data collection and analysis as well as preparation of a manuscript for publication. Meanwhile, students will also gain exposure to a broad spectrum of ongoing research at Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center through guest faculty seminars and discussion, and students will receive guidance and support as they seek out research mentors and opportunities for undergraduate research following the conclusion of Pi2. Also upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Describe the scientific method and explain its advantages and limitations in the search for knowledge and truth  
  • Evaluate the role of responsible conduct, safety, and ethics in the execution of successful science and research in a university setting
  • Apply introductory molecular laboratory techniques such as DNA extraction and Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Communicate with scientific peers, including comprehending peer-reviewed literature and seminars by others as well as composing their own proposals and research reports