COOL CLASSES: Introduction to Fisheries Science

The course studies fish in the context of harvest, including the million dollar question in the field: “How many can we take out and still have enough for the future?”

Class name: Introduction to Fisheries Science

Taught by: Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Talia Young

Here’s what Young had to say about the course: Fisheries science is the study of fish in the context of harvest. Fisheries scientists study questions like: How many fish are there? Where are they? How big are they? How fast do they grow and reproduce? How do you catch them? The million-dollar question in the field is: How many can we take out and still have enough for the future?

This course provides an introduction to some of the concepts and quantitative methods and skills involved in fisheries science. It includes a general overview of the field, but the bulk of the course will be devoted to learning to build mathematical models in the open-source programming language R, and understanding how those models can be used to generate and evaluate sustainable fisheries management strategies. The data and examples used are fish-specific, but the programming and modeling skills developed here will be applicable across many disciplines and fields.

The course also includes a “field trip” to the Duck Pond, where students use a seine fishing net to conduct a species survey.

 As a final project, students will select from a list of research projects being carried out in the region on subjects such as as declining migratory eel populations and the impact of climate change on fish migration, and will do an analysis on data shared by the collaborating fisheries scientists. The final work will be presented in an academic-style poster that will be displayed in the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center and shared with the scientists.  Students also will have the option of presenting their posters at a local fisheries conference.