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The Department of Watershed Sciences

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Student with Fish

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.

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

Shelly Kotynek


Shelly Kotynek

NR 120

Shelly brings years of experience in academic advising, and her love for the outdoors to help students succeed in their educations and future careers.

  • Semester-by-semester planning
  • Connecting with clubs
  • Changing your major
  • Academic success resources
Jereme Gaeta


Dr. Jereme Gaeta

BNR 175
435.797.2498 Directory Listing
  • Career planning
  • Graduate school planning
  • Undergraduate research opportunities
  • Selecting degree program electives


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 type of students study Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences?

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?

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.