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Freshwater lake sturgeon have long, scaleless bodies with ridges along their spines.
Two hands holding various large mussels above a river

Program overview

Freshwater Ecology is an upper-level undergraduate course offered to students enrolled in an ACCA school. Offered annually in the fall semester, this class introduces students to freshwater ecology and human-environment interactions with a special focus on the Great Lakes and local waterways. In this class, students will investigate and research the roles that water, animals, plants, and humans play in freshwater ecosystems and explore conservation actions from a local to global scale.

Program description

Classes are held virtually on seven Saturdays in September and October. Classes are a mixture of lectures and guest speakers and optional field trips in the greater Chicago area. Students will actively gain an appreciation for the diversity in form and function of aquatic animals, and an understanding of some of the techniques used to study animal behavior. Immersive activities and field trips will provide field research experience and hands-on learning about the Great Lakes region.

Program outcomes

  • Have a grasp of key ecological terms and the importance of the discipline of the ecology of freshwater systems.
  • Identify key taxonomic groups inhabiting freshwater ecosystems.
  • Understand how anthropogenic stressors impact freshwater ecosystems and conservation actions taking place in response to stressors.
  • Gain an appreciation of the scientific method as it pertains to freshwater ecology- including collection and analysis of scientific data, and publishing of the results by working with primary scientific literature.
  • Become familiar with the Great Lakes ecosystem, interact with Shedd researchers, and gain an appreciation of the role of scientific research in conservation and management actions.