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Through formal course work, research projects with faculty, or internships, students interested in the aquatic ecology track of the environmental science major have the opportunity to prepare themselves for graduate school and for careers with government agencies, academic institutions, industries, consulting firms or non-governmental organizations in the aquatic sciences. After graduation, qualified aquatic science students have gone on for graduate work and into the job market. For example, The College at Brockport undergraduates have entered graduate programs at Utah State University, Mississippi State University, SUNY Albany, University of Tennessee, Kent State University, University of Vermont and SUNY Brockport. They have found employment opportunities at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Fish and Game, Massachusetts Department of Natural Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Utah Department of Fish and Game, Monroe County Departments of Health and Pure Waters, Eastman Kodak Company, Columbia Analytical, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and various law firms.
Aquatic science faculty and students have conducted numerous research projects on rivers and lakes throughout the Great Lakes region, including studies of toxic chemical levels in Great Lakes biota; acid precipitation in Adirondack lakes; water quality problems in the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario; phytoplankton and zooplankton dynamics in Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Ontario; salmonid and fisheries ecology in Lake Ontario; environmental analyses of harbors, power plants and other sites on Lakes Erie and Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the St. Lawrence, Niagara and Hudson Rivers; effects of development on Great Lakes coastlines; stressed stream analyses; impacts of zebra mussels, spiny fishhook water fleas and other exotic species on community dynamics, food webs and nutrient cycles in Lake Ontario; benthic macroinvertebrate and fish communities as indicators of stream and lake health, and aquaculture of fishes common to the Great Lakes basin and the northern U.S. An active aquatic research program has attracted more than $6 million in grants and contracts since 1984 from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York Sea Grant Institute, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, N.Y.S. Electric and Gas Corp., Eastman Kodak Company, Hudson River Foundation, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and many other agencies.
The R.V. Madtom, a trailerable 25' research vessel, is berthed 20 minutes north of the campus at Sandy Creek on Lake Ontario. The Madtom is fully equipped with winch, meter wheel, crane, GPS, marine radio, fathometer, etc. Its deep-V hull, twin 100 HP motors, and heavy gauge aluminum construction have proven it to be a reliable research platform on the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes, and on the Hudson, Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers. In addition, the program operates a pontoon boat with complete electrofishing capability and several 16 – 18’ runabouts with outboard motors. This active research program offers interested students opportunities for collaborative research, internships, volunteer outings and possible employment doing aquatic science.
Approximately 7,500 square feet of laboratory and office space is utilized for limnological, fishery and water quality teaching and research. Eight aquaculture ponds are on campus. A fully functional and well-equipped wet laboratory, with toxicity testing capability, is available where fish and other aquatic organisms can be maintained in static, flow through and recirculated systems under controlled environmental conditions. In addition, state of the art analytical facilities (nutrients, metals, pesticides, etc.) for water and tissue analyses are housed in the Water Quality Laboratory – a nationally certified laboratory. We encourage students to volunteer for lab and field projects.