Together, WLE 450 (Wildlife-Habitat Relationships) and WLE 455 (Wildlife-Habitat Evaluation) or WLE 457 (Ecology and Management of Game Birds) serve as the Capstone experience for Wildlife Ecology students. In these courses, students integrate and synthesize prior learning from their coursework and field experiences in the Wildlife Ecology program.
Through classroom discussions and lectures, students explore the conceptual and theoretical basis for studying wildlife-habitat relationships. Students apply this, and previous knowledge from their program, to a hands-on class project that they design, conduct, and analyze on habitat use and selection of snowshoe hares via radio telemetry.
Students enrolled in WLE 450 and WLE 455 will visit a bear den and handle the female and cubs to assess reproduction, survival, and physiological condition, and further explore numerous case studies (e.g., Canada lynx, forest amphibians) to apply various methods to assess wildlife-habitat relationships and to affect wildlife policy. Additionally, students develop an individual research paper addressing a topic related to wildlife-habitat relationships and critique primary literature through case studies, class discussions, and short assignments. These co-requisites promote independent and critical thinking to address current problems, controversies, and research questions and approaches to wildlife-habitat issues.