Conservation Biology at the University of Maine

Biological sciences and natural resource conservation are cornerstones for The University of Maine with many programs covering various aspects of these disciplines. Because of this breadth, conservation biology—the applied science of maintaining the earth’s biological diversity—is an interdepartmental activity at The University of Maine. There are about thirty faculty members in five units (Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology, School of Biology and Ecology, School of Forest ResourcesSchool of Marine Sciences, and School of Economics) who constitute a conservation biology interest group. The University funds conservation biology activities specifically with an interdepartmental Conservation Biology Seminar Series, with monies for travel to conservation biology conferences, and with an endowed chair, the Libra Professorship of Conservation Biology. The forest, wetland, freshwater, and marine ecosystems of Maine offer a diverse biota near campus for conservation biology research.


Graduate students studying conservation biology at the University of Maine can earn any one of the following degrees depending on their specific interests:

Doctor of Philosophy

Biological Sciences, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Forest Resources, Marine Biology, Oceanography, Plant Sciences, Wildlife Ecology, and Zoology

Master of Science

Resource Economics and Policy; Ecology and Environmental Sciences; Entomology; Forestry; Marine Biology; Marine Policy; Oceanography; Botany and Plant Pathology; Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences; Resource Utilization; Wildlife Ecology; and Zoology

Other Master Degree Options

Master of Forestry, Master of Wildlife Conservation

Courses in Conservation Biology

A wide variety of courses related to Conservation Biology are available. A small sample would include: Advanced Conservation Biology, Tropical Deforestation, Coral Reefs, Evolutionary Biology of Plants, Community Ecology, Population Biology, Evaluation of Wildlife Habitats, Tropical Field Ecology, and Landscape Ecology and Conservation.


To inquire about specific opportunities and the availability of graduate assistantships, write to any of the faculty members listed below whose interests are close to yours. For general information about Conservation Biology at the University of Maine, write to Erik Blomberg; Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology:  Nutting Hall, preferably by e-mail (

Graduate Faculty

Andrei Alyokhin, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts, 1999), School of Biology and Ecology. Invasion biology, non-target effects of biological control.

Kathleen P. Bell, Ph.D. (University of Maryland, 1997), School of Economics. Land management, land-use change; environmental economics, geographic information systems, spatial econometrics.

Susan H. Brawley, Ph.D. (University of California, Berkeley, 1978), School of Marine Sciences. Ecosystem structure and function in estuaries and rocky intertidal zones.

Stephen M. Coghlan Jr., Ph.D. (SUNY-ESF 2004), Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. Aquatic ecology, applied fisheries ecology, land-use effects, biotic interactions, bionergetics.

Christopher S. Cronan, Ph.D. (Dartmouth College, 1978), School of Biology and Ecology. Biogeochemistry and plant ecology, resource sustainability in forest ecosystems, effects of air pollution and global change on natural resources.

Daniel J. Harrison, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1986), Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. Wildlife habitat relationships, interactions among forest management practices and wildlife populations, predator ecology.

David D. Hart, Ph.D. (University of California, Davis, 1979), School of Biology and Ecology, Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research. Stream ecology, watershed science and management, restoration ecology, adaptive management.

Rebecca L. Holberton, Ph.D. (State University of New York at Albany, 1991), School of Biology and Ecology. Endocrinology, ecology, and behavior of birds, ecophysiology of migrating birds; biology of Arctic – and temperate breeding birds; conservation biology.

Michael T. Kinnison, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1999), School of Biology and Ecology. Fish ecology, contemporary evolution, conservation genetics.

Jessica Leahy, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota, 2005), School of Forest Resources. Social psychological aspects of natural resources management, environmental attitudes and behavior, information effects.

Cynthia S. Loftin, Ph.D. (University of Florida, 1998), Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit/Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. Wetlands, landscape, and systems ecology; GIS applications.

Brian J. McGill, Ph.D. (University of Arizona, 2003), School of Biology and Ecology. Sustainability Solutions Initiative. Large-scale ecology. Species ranges, climate change, measuring biodiversity, spatial ecology, community structure.

Robert Steneck, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins University, 1982), School of Marine Sciences. Marine benthic ecology, fisheries management.

Joseph Zydlewski, Ph.D. (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1998), Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit/Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. Physiology, behavior and ecology of migrating fish, impacts of invasive fish species, ecological responses to habitat fragmentation.