Courses That Will Change Your Life: Animal Ecology


“Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!” Ahem, or more accurate for Northern Lower Michigan’s fauna it should read, “skunks, voles, and foxes, oh my!” Few things capture our attention in quite the same way as the animals that inhabit the environment around us, this makes studying animals, their populations, environments and communities an engaging pursuit! Au Sable’s Animal Ecology course during Summer Session I, taught by Dr. Matt Ingle, provides a learning experience that is just that.

In Animal Ecology students will have opportunities to work in the field in various local settings of Michigan. In the past, visiting Wilderness State Park, Hartwick Pines State Park and conducting night searches for nocturnal animals, have been highlights of the field experiences offered through this course. Students will come away from this course able to understand ecological systems on a fine scale, recognizing and documenting the players in these systems. This is a skill that will equip future ecologists to assess the successes and problems associated with management regimes. This course provides unique learning opportunities and objectives within a familiar college course set up.

Click here to enroll in Animal Ecology or other course at Au Sable.

‘In the current ecological climate, students are exposed to theoretical constructs and ecological principles on a regular basis. While this type of education is extremely important, students are less acquainted with a basic knowledge of the roles animals play in ecosystems. The Au Sable Animal Ecology course explores this applied side of ecology through hands-on field activities, an intentional focus on learning to identify animal species and their associated environments, and hypothesis testing of local, real-world ecological interactions. This education provides a stronger foundation for theoretical and predictive ecology, as well as preparing students directly for positions as ecological consultants.”

-Dr. Darren Proppe former professor of Animal Ecology