Summer Program - Courses

Courses at FLBS

Classes are offered to qualified applicants on a first to apply basis. Applying as early as possible will assist you in securing your first-choice courses and will assist FLBS in planning summer session. Note that underenrolled courses may be cancelled based on enrollment numbers as of the enrollment review date.

Each course runs all day each scheduled day of its timeframe, including holidays, unless otherwise noted. You may select 1 or up to 5 classes for the summer. Taking a full load over the 8-week session is an efficient way to complete advanced courses during one summer and may even qualify you for a scholarship.

Admission and Credit Info

  • Undergraduate (300/400 level) or Graduate (400 level) credit, or audit
  • Credits transferrable to UM and most colleges/universities
  • Formal admission to UM not required
  • Credits may be transferred with a single completed transcript request form
  • Applying for FLBS courses requires: application; $50.00 non-refundable application fee; and transcripts (official or unofficial)

Field Course Notice

 Some field courses require you to be:
  • In good physical condition
  • Able to hike up to 10+ miles a day in strenuous conditions at altitude
  • Properly equipped for a great deal of hiking (equipment list)

About FLBS summer course prerequisites

FLBS summer courses are designed to be affordable and accessible to all students and working professionals, whether in state or out of state, for undergraduate, graduate, or continuing education credit. If any of our courses interest you, contact FLBS with questions or contact the course instructor directly (contact info listed below within the course description).

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions and fees are subject to change.

Four-Week Courses, M-Th, 8 a.m-5 p.m.; F, 8 a.m.-Noon
(unless otherwise noted)

FIELD ECOLOGY, BIOE 342, Sec. 01, 5 credits

Dates: June 25-July 20, 2018
Instructors: Dr. James Elser, FLBS-UM; Dr. Diana Six, UM

Prerequisites: One semester of college-level biology, chemistry and mathematics (or equivalents); or consent of instructor

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

The course engages major concepts and approaches in modern ecology via immersive field experiences, hands-on sampling, and project-based learning in both aquatic and terrestrial habitats. Topics range from physiological and behavioral ecology to population and community ecology to ecosystem ecology. The course will build students’ natural history knowledge of the biota of the Rocky Mountain region while directly engaging them in active research projects of FLBS / UM faculty. This course is conducted largely outdoors regardless of weather so that ecological phenomena can be examined in real time and real life. All-day and overnight trips will be conducted throughout the course, taking students into a range of aquatic and terrestrial environments near the Bio Station and the adjacent mountain areas including Glacier National Park. Students should be physically fit and able to hike 10 miles per day. Students will conduct directed measurements connected to ongoing research projects of the faculty, developing technical skills as well as skills in analysis and interpretation in written and oral form. Meets UM writing requirement.

 To participate in courses at FLBS you must be: in good physical condition; able to hike up to 10+ miles a day in strenuous conditions at altitude; and properly equipped for a great deal of hiking! (see equipment list).

SEMINARS IN ECOLOGY AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, BIOB 494, Sec. 01

Dates: June 25-July 20, 2018, 10-11am
Lecturers/Instructors: Dr. Gordon Luikart, FLBS-UM

1 Credit (Credit/No Credit)

This seminar involves presentation and discussion of local environmental issues and problems, and is available to any students enrolled for the first four weeks of summer session in any combination of courses.

Two-Week Courses, M-F, 8am-5pm , 3 Credits

CONSERVATION ECOLOGY, BIOE 440, Sec. 01

Dates: June 25-July 6, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Christopher Frissell, FLBS-UM

Prerequisites: One semester of college-level biology and an ecology course (BIOE342 Field Ecology at FLBS) or equivalents; or consent of instructor.

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

Principles and methods of conservation ecology applied to aquatic and terrestrial species and ecosystems with emphasis on evolution, population genetics and behavioral ecology as key attributes to be considered in the design and implementation of conservation. This course emphasizes the application of basic biological research to problems in conservation and management with an eye toward the interface between science and policy. Five primary course themes are: defining population units of conservation; the effects of introduced species (including invasive species, hybridization, and infectious disease); habitat modification and climate change; population viability and monitoring; and policy and politics. These themes are applied to a diversity of case studies that have been chosen to illustrate general issues in conservation. A special aspect of the course is spending most of our time in the field with practicing, expert conservation biologists who work for state and federal government agencies or nongovernmental organizations.

ENVIRONMENTAL SENSORS: DESIGNING, BUILDING AND DEPLOYING IN THE FIELD, BIOB 491

Dates: June 25-July 6, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Cody Youngbull, FLBS-UM

Prerequisites A (Ecologists): One year of college-level biology, chemistry, and mathematics; computer programming;
Prerequisites B (Engineers): Early proficiency in a computer programming language, computer aided design software, and/or manufacturing principles;
or consent of instructor.

Full Course Description / Syllabus

Networked, autonomous environmental sensors are increasingly being used to collect real-time data about the natural world. Understanding how to design and produce the appropriate sensor to answer specific scientific questions requires knowledge from a broad range of disciplines. The Flathead Lake Biological Station’s SensorSpace (https://sensorspace.tech) is a cutting edge facility that enables scientists and engineers to design and manufacture their own environmental sensor networks. This course is designed for both engineering and ecology students to work on small team projects to learn about, design, manufacture, and deploy robotic environmental sensor networks. This course will include instrumentation design/manufacturing, and wireless network communications in the field.

LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY, BIOE 451, Sec. 01

Dates: July 9-July 20, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Solomon Z. Dobrowski, CFC-UM

Prerequisites: One year of college-level biology, chemistry, and mathematics, and an ecology course (BIOE342 Field Ecology at FLBS) or equivalents; or consent of instructor.

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

The objective of this course is to understand the physical and ecological processes that shape landscapes, how these biological and physical processes interact, and how they are responding to global change. We will examine how plants and animals are distributed across landscapes, how the physical template of the environment shapes species distributions and how biotic feedbacks can influence the physical environment. We will examine processes of pattern formation in the environment such as disturbance from fire and how landscape pattern can affect both physical and biological processes. Field trips will underscore concepts and allow data gathering and interpretation by students. Students are introduced to both satellite and airborne remote-sensing tools used in a GIS environment. Students will analyze and interpret spatially explicit data through analyses and oral presentations.

 To participate in courses at FLBS you must be: in good physical condition; able to hike up to 10+ miles a day in strenuous conditions at altitude; and properly equipped for a great deal of hiking! (see equipment list).

AQUATIC MICROBIAL ECOLOGY, BIOB 491

Dates: July 9-July 20, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Matthew Church, FLBS-UM

Prerequisites: One year of college-level biology, chemistry, and mathematics, or equivalents; or consent of instructor

Full Course Description / Syllabus

This intensive field course is available to upper-level under-graduate students with interests in environmental microbiology and aquatic ecology and provides a conceptual foundation and experiential field and laboratory training in modern methods in aquatic microbial ecology. Students will explore topics such as physiology and metabolism of aquatic microbes; methods and tools for assessing microbial diversity, biomass, and growth; and the role of microbes in bioelemental cycles. Students will gain hands-on experience with both cultivation-based approaches and cultivation-independent methods for studying environmental microorganisms.

ALPINE ECOLOGY, BIOE 416, Sec. 01

Dates: July 23-August 3, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Wendy Ridenour, UM-Western

Prerequisites: One semester of college-level biology and an ecology course (BIOE342 Field Ecology at FLBS) or equivalents; or consent of instructor.

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

Distribution, abundance and life cycles of plants and animals and their unique ecophysiological adaptations to life in the rigorous environments of mountains, high above the timberline, with emphasis on the Crown of the Continent area. Students learn about the distributions of plants and animals and study the processes and interactions that are the foundation to ecology in alpine environments. Substantial emphasis is placed on processes that organize communities and the global drivers of climate and how those processes affect alpine systems. The class is organized around field trips (involving extensive hiking) and data intensive class projects that underscore major concepts and allow training in data gathering, analysis, presentation and interpretation by students.

 To participate in courses at FLBS you must be: in good physical condition; able to hike up to 10+ miles a day in strenuous conditions at altitude; and properly equipped for a great deal of hiking! (see equipment list).

LAKE ECOLOGY, BIOE 453, Sec. 01

Dates: July 23-August 3, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Shawn Devlin, FLBS-UM

Prerequisites: One year of college-level biology, chemistry, and mathematics, and an ecology course (BIOE342 Field Ecology at FLBS) or equivalents; or consent of instructor

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

Physical, chemical and biological characteristics of lake ecosystems with an emphasis on how physical processes of lake circulation and stratification, nutrient loading and cycling, primary and secondary production and food web interactions, and atmospheric and land/watershed use affects water quality. This course focuses on functional relationships and productivity of plant and animal assemblages in lakes as regulated by physical, chemical and biotic processes. Fundamental concepts of ecology as they relate to the aquatic environment are emphasized. Limnological principles are presented within the context of regional and landscape spatial scales. Students will learn basic and contemporary methods of study in field settings including Flathead Lake, glacial lakes of Glacier National Park, inter-montane prairie kettle lakes and nutrient rich lakes with emphasis toward experiential learning and obtaining hands-on examination and characterization of lakes. Written and oral reports of independent studies as directed by the professor are required.

STREAM ECOLOGY, BIOE 439, Sec. 01

Dates: August 6-August 17, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Bob Hall, FLBS-UM

Prerequisites: One year of college-level biology, chemistry, and mathematics, and an ecology course (BIOE342 Field Ecology at FLBS) or equivalents; or consent of instructor

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

The biota and ecological processes of running waters with unifying principles and contemporary research approaches. This course focuses on the fundamental concepts of stream/river ecology and the physical, chemical and biological processes that characterize running water ecosystems. Students learn principles, concepts and methods of study in a field setting, and obtain hands-on experience in the examination and characterization of stream systems. Written and oral reports of independent or group studies as directed by the professor are required.

ECOLOGY OF FORESTS AND GRASSLANDS, BIOE 458, Sec. 01

Dates: August 6-August 17, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Larson

Prerequisites: One year of college-level biology, one semester of college-level chemistry, one semester of college-level mathematics, an ecology course (BIOE342 Field Ecology at FLBS) or equivalents; or consent of instructor

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

Patterns and processes of forests and grasslands of the northern Rocky Mountains in the context of principles of population, community and ecosystem ecology. This course emphasizes the interactive biophysical attributes and processes of the forests and intermountain grasslands. Students observe and learn about plant and animal distributions, plant community structure and behavior including principles of plant ecology, ecophysiology and plant and animal interactions in these environments. Energy and materials transfer and feedbacks within food webs are used to describe complex interrelationships driving the dynamics of these systems, including both natural and human components as modifiers of systems dynamics. Field trips underscore concepts and allow data gathering and interpretation by students.

 To participate in courses at FLBS you must be: in good physical condition; able to hike up to 10+ miles a day in strenuous conditions at altitude; and properly equipped for a great deal of hiking! (see equipment list).

DRONE REMOTE SENSING OF FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS, BIOB 491

Dates: August 6-August 17, 2018
Instructor: Dr. Michael Döering, ZHAW; Diane Whited, FLBS-UM

Prerequisites: Prior coursework in GIS is mandatory (FORS 250 Intro to GIS for Forest Management or GPHY 284 Intro to GIS and Cartography at UM) or equivalents; or consent of instructors. Knowledge of remote sensing is preferred, but not required.

Full Course Description / Syllabus | Required Overnight Field Gear

This course will introduce students to field-based methods of close range remote sensing in freshwater ecosystems. Students will gain knowledge of basic spatial analysis through GIS and remote sensing techniques. Students will learn basic application of drones and ADP, two remote sensing instruments of fast growing interest in ecological research and application. Students will learn about essentials to operate drones and ADPs, initial post processing of data products and integrating these data into ecological research and application.

One-Week Courses, M-F, 8 a.m-5 p.m , 1 Credit

FIELD METHODS IN ORNITHOLOGY, BIOB 491

Dates: July 23-July 27, 2018
Instructors: Dr. Erick Greene, UM; Megan Fylling, UM; Anna Noson, UM

Prerequisites: At least one year of college-level biology, a semester of mathematics and some experience with bird identification; or consent of instructor

Full Course Description / Syllabus

This field course focuses on conceptual and practical understanding of advanced techniques in ornithology. You will get experience in bird identification (including molt, aging and sexing), mist-netting and banding, point count surveys, telemetry, recording and bioacoustical analyses. We will read and discuss some key papers in the relevant literature. After successful completion of this course, you will have high-level field research skills in avian biology. These skills would help in your own research, or in getting field research jobs. The instructors are certified trainers by the North American Banding Council and collectively have over 100 years of experience as avian researchers.

Independent Study, 1-8 Cr; Contact FLBS for more information and to apply

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH EXPERIENCE, BIOB 497

Dates: Mon, Jun 25 - Fri, Aug 17, 2018
Instructor: FLBS Faculty

Prerequisites: *Special approval required for application*

Description (not available)

Course is graded CR/NCR.

Independent research experience in field ecology associated generally with the various research projects at FLBS. Projects are mentored by permanent and visiting FLBS faculty. Send us a short outline of research work you would like to undertake.

UNDERGRADUATE THESIS, BIOB 499

Dates: Mon, Jun 25 - Fri, Aug 17, 2018
Instructor: FLBS Faculty

Prerequisites: *Special approval required for application*

Description (not available)

Course is graded CR/NCR.

Objective is preparation of a thesis/manuscript based on undergrad research in field ecology for presentation and/or publication. Student must give an oral presentation at the Biological Station. Student provides short outline of proposed research work.

RESEARCH IN ECOLOGY, BIOB 596

Dates: Mon, Jun 25 - Fri, Aug 17, 2018
Instructor: FLBS Faculty

Prerequisites: *Special approval required for application*

Description (not available)

Course is graded CR/NCR.

Open only to non-UM graduate students. The purpose of this independent research is to solve a specific ecological problem as identified and examined by the student under mentorship of a Biological Station professor. Independent research includes design, analysis and reporting of ecological data. Student provides outline of proposed research work.

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