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School of Applied Sciences and Technology

Biological Sciences Technology Conservation Biology

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Campus

The location where your NAIT courses will be held.

Credential

The type of certification (degree, diploma, certificate) you will earn after completing your program.

  • Degree - NAIT offers a number of business degrees and applied science and technology degrees accredited by Alberta Advanced Education.
    Applied degree programs offer a stronger emphasis on practical applications of the concepts learned in the classroom
  • Diplomas & Certificates - These credit programs take 1 or 2 years and lead to government approved and industry-recognized credentials.
  • Journeyman Certificate - Hands-on and expert-led apprenticeship and industry training for skilled trades and technology professionals.
  • Continuing Education/Non-Credit - NAIT offers a wide range of non-credit programs and courses for personal and professional development in a number of interesting and exciting fields. These options are great for people who may be working but are interested in studying as well.

Delivery Options

The flexible schedule options for this course including time of day and full/part-time.

  • Day - Courses taking place between Monday - Friday, before 5 PM.
  • Evening/Weekend - Courses taking place on weekdays from 5 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Online - Sometimes called "Home Study" or "Computer-Based Learning"
  • Distance - Traditional correspondence format. These courses work best if you can't get to a campus or if your schedule can't accommodate fixed class times

Length

The average or expected time it will take to complete your program.

Open Studies

Open Studies allows you to explore credit courses without applying to a program.
It is an opportunity to get a feel for school and what program you want to be in.

International Students

Program availability may be limited for international applicants. Contact your student advisor for more information.

Advanced Credit

You may apply for advanced credit once you have been accepted into the program. Advanced Credit can be Transfer Credit (for completed post-secondary courses) or PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition).

Transfer Credit

In addition to the common guidelines outlined on the Transfer and Credit Options section and on the Transfer Credit Request Form (PDF), your program has other advanced credit requirements that are applied to each request including:

  • You must have completed the course or program no more than 7 year(s) ago unless a formalized articulation agreement is in place
  • You must have a minimum mark of C in the course(s) or program

Prior Learning and Assessment Recognition (PLAR)

If you do not qualify for transfer credit or credential recognition, Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) may be an option.

Contact the program for additional information about Advanced Credit.

Get more out of using less

Do you have a love for the outdoors and a desire to help keep Canada’s natural spaces healthy and prosperous? Does the idea of searching for clues and investigating cause/effect interest you? 

The Biological Sciences Technology – Renewable Resources 2-year diploma program will help you develop the skills needed to ensure that our natural resources are used in an optimal way that is sustained for future generations. Your knowledge and technical expertise will also allow you to engage in resource management activities without compromising the integrity or sustainability of the ecosystems in which they work.

Employment rates reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and do not guarantee future employment opportunities.

Salaries reported by NAIT alumni are for information purposes and are not a guarantee of future alumni income.

Hands-on, industry-relevant skills

In this program, you’ll acquire skills used in field sampling, environmental education and resource management by studying chemistry, botany and the biology and ecology of birds, fish, mammals, insects, plants, rivers, lakes and soils.

You’ll also explore genetics, wildlife surveys, plant and animal diversity, soil and range management, water quality issues, parks management and environmental education projects.

With the help of support instructors with years of industry experience, you’ll learn in a combination of classroom, lab and field settings. Our facilities will provide you with practical, job-ready experience using a variety of modern laboratory and field instruments, and simulation and computer applications. You may also learn through work experience, field trips, applied research and other opportunities. 

 

 


Field Skills

  • collect and identify plants, invertebrates, mammals, birds and fish
  • measure and monitor biodiversity of aquatic and terrestrial systems
  • conduct field studies on ecological systems
  • perform soil, vegetation and water quality analyses
  • working and navigating in remote and adverse conditions
  • conduct environmental site assessments
  • operate and maintain field equipment
  • present information as an interpreter or naturalist
  • collect and analyze water, soil and biological samples for analysis

Laboratory Skills

  • perform necropsies on mammals, birds and fish
  • prepare and age fish structures
  • prepare and identify vascular and non-vascular plant specimens
  • prepare reagents

Additional Skills

  • opportunities to work independently and apply team building skills
  • design and manage a group-based project
  • use legislation and standards related to environmental and park management issues
  • prepare literature searches, oral presentations and written reports


Labs and classrooms

You can expect to spend, on average:

  • 30 hours per week attending classes over the course of a semester
  • 15 to 20 hours per week studying and completing class assignments outside of scheduled class time

We maintain 6 dedicated instructional laboratories for the delivery of program curriculum, supported by a technical support team of 5 skilled and dedicated individuals. These labs contain an extensive inventory of scientific equipment for investigative and instructional purposes.

Enter the workforce with confidence

Upon graduation, you may find work with consulting companies, regulatory agencies, analytical laboratories, government agencies or post-secondary institutions. You may also find environmental monitoring opportunities in industry.

Typical jobs secured by graduates include:

  • wildlife technologist
  • fisheries technologist
  • biodiversity field technologist
  • environmental educator
  • conservation officer
  • museum technologist
  • laboratory technologist
  • weed inspector
  • independant consultant


Pre/post graduation affiliations and certifications

The following professional affiliations and certifications are often required in the biological science field in order to prove professional competence and adherence to safe work/research practices:

  • Alberta Electrofishing Crew Member certification
  • Alberta Hunter Education Instructor Association certification
  • Alberta Safety Council (ASC) Standard:
    • Bear Awareness Certification
    • All Terrain Vehicles Safety (Optional)
  • Pleasure Craft Operators License (Optional)
  • Possession and Acquisition License (Optional)
  • Standard First Aid (Optional)
  • Stream Crossing Assessment
  • Eligible for student membership with the Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists (ASET)

Is this program right for you?

To be successful as a biological scientist, you must be able to work in a team and communicate effectively with strong interpersonal skills. You may also need to update and/or develop specialized skills to fulfill the needs of your employer or position.

Due to the nature of renewable resource industries, employment opportunities are often found in remote or rural areas. To give yourself the best chance for a rewarding career, you must be willing to relocate to various geographical locations within the province or Western Canada.

Have questions? We've got answers 

General program information

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Courses

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Level 1 Term 1

BIOL1145Laboratory Techniques and Calculations
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Conservation Biology, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, or Laboratory Research and Biotechnology.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the principles and basic procedures used in the laboratory, and laboratory math. Topics include laboratory safety, WHMIS, laboratory calculations, water quality and reagent preparation, operation and maintenance of microscopes, balances, pH meters, spectrophotometers and other related laboratory equipment. Emphasis will be placed on accurate and complete documentation methods.

CHEM1632Inorganic and Organic Chemistry in Biology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology Laboratory and Research and Biological Sciences Technology Renewable Resources plan.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on basic inorganic chemistry concepts related to chemical formulas, bonding, aqueous solutions, reactions and equilibrium. The organic chemistry portion of the course focuses on nomenclature, structure and physical and chemical properties of biological and environmentally important organic compounds. Laboratory work includes evaluation of properties, reactions and methods of titration of inorganic chemical materials. To emphasize organic chemistry concepts, laboratory exercises include extraction, identification and synthesis of organic compounds.

COMM1220Communications in the Biological Sciences
  • Course Equivalencies: COMM1105
  • Open Studies: Available

Students will develop their written and oral communication skills by writing, editing, reviewing, and presenting various forms of technical communications including workplace correspondence, short technical reports, and formal technical reports. Students will use MS Office applications to create and import graphs and tables into a document, as well as apply standard formatting conventions, desktop publishing and mail merge functions. Students will also learn to create and use appropriate and effective audio/visual aids to deliver oral presentations during classes.

ECOL1335Introduction to Ecology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences program with a plan of Renewable Resources or Environmental Sciences.
  • Course Equivalencies: ECOL1235
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The course will provide an overview of the principles, composition, structure, and function of populations, communities and ecosystems with a focus on western Canada. A fundamental treatment of ecological principles emphasizing the ecosystem concept, natural selection and speciation, nutrient cycles relating to environmental sampling, energy relationships, limiting factors, population dynamics, and community ecology will be examined. The laboratory component includes practical studies of local ecosystems and population dynamics. The lab will also introduce small mammal handling, sampling location descriptions and the students will practice classifying various Alberta Ecosites.

MICB1560Introduction to Microbiology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOL1165
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on the tools and methods used to study the microbial world. An overview of the vast diversity of microorganisms is provided as well as a comparison of the distinguishing characteristics of bacteria, archaea, fungi, prions and viruses. Other topics include techniques for cultivating microorganisms, handling and disposing of biohazardous materials, and controlling microbial growth. This course introduces classic strategies used in applied microbiology and environmental microbiology to identify, characterize and quantify microbes.

ZOGY1460Invertebrate Zoology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences program with a plan of Renewable Resources.
  • Course Equivalencies: ZOGY1125
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course examines the diversity of Alberta invertebrates including methods for collection and classification of these organisms. Students will have the opportunity to conduct biodiversity surveys of aquatic and soil invertebrates and learn to recognize communities of species as indicators of ecosystem health and biological integrity. This course examines both free living and parasitic invertebrates of Alberta. Students will compare key features of invertebrates including structure and function of parts as it relates to their ecological role and how they respond to environmental impacts. Strategies for mitigation will be discussed.

Level 1 Term 2

BISC1508Law, Ethics and Professionalism
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Conservation Biology. Prerequisite: COMM1220.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is modular in design and addresses ethics and professionalism at the beginning with case studies and discussions. The case studies range from ethical treatment of data through to addressing interpersonal issues and resolving conflict. Concepts of intellectual property, misconduct, and ethical paradigms will be discussed in detail. The final module has emphasis on sourcing, interpretation, and application of a variety of Provincial and Federal Acts and Regulations pertinent to the environment. Focus on areas related to wildlife, fisheries, vegetation, cumulative impacts and parks are provided to reinforce concepts in other courses within the program. Collection and preservation of evidence and appropriate enforcement strategies are discussed. Familiarization with laws and regulations is gained, as well as an understanding of enforcement protocols, authorities and public relations concepts. Particular focus on national and international levels through SARA, WAPPRIITA, and COSEWIC is provided

BOTA1522Applied Plant Morphology and Identification
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment or Conservation Biology. Prerequisite: ECOL1335.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is an introduction to the classification, identification, ecological adaptation and distribution of the native plants of Alberta. The focus is the use of botanical dichotomous keys, identifying characteristics, morphology, and terminology in the Flora of Alberta. Concepts of botanical nomenclature, species epithet, and author are taught, in addition to collection principles and the creation of permanent herbarium records. For higher taxa, the plant phylogeny, life cycles and characteristics are discussed. While the focus is on vascular plants, a brief survey of a number of common mosses and Sphagnum is included.

ENSC1570Collection and Analysis of Spatial Data
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Science program with a plan of Conservation Biology or Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. Prerequisite: ECOL1335.
  • Course Equivalencies: SURV2375
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The purpose of the course is to give students an introduction to how positional information is collected and used. Students learn different techniques for data capture and become familiar with how to put data to use through a geographic information system.

SOIL1334Introduction to Soil Sciences
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program with a plan of Environmental Monitoring and Assessment or Conservation Biology. Prerequisites: ECOL1335 and (CHEM1104 or CHEM1632).
  • Course Equivalencies: ENSC1265
  • Open Studies: Not Available

The course provides an introduction to soil genesis, nomenclature, classification, and the use of the Canadian System of Soil Classification. Focus is on the physical, biological and chemical properties of soils and includes the application and understanding of field sampling and lab analysis. The course includes an introduction to wetland function and classification. There is one mandatory fieldtrip to the monolith collection at the University of Alberta.

STAT1245Biostatistics
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program.
  • Course Equivalencies: BSC1245, BSC245
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This introductory course focuses upon organizing data and selecting appropriate statistical tests for biological data. Descriptive statistics from samples and populations are used to organize raw data from databases into summaries, tables and charts. Confidence intervals for means, proportions and regression lines are calculated and interpreted. Normal, Binomial, Poisson, and Chi Distributions are studied. Fundamental principles of experimental design are explained and applied. Hypothesis tests are conducted on biological data sets with particular focus on career relevant scenarios (traditional non parametric and parametric testing Z test, t-tests, correlations, regressions, one-way and two-way ANOVA, Chi2, post hoc contrasts, etc.,). Analyses are performed manually or using commonly available software with various demo software introduced for awareness.

ZOGY1470Vertebrate Zoology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences, Renewable Resources plan.
  • Course Equivalencies: ZOGY1225
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course examines the diversity of vertebrates of Alberta including methods for collection and classification of these organisms. Students will learn to recognize communities of species as indicators of ecosystem health and biological integrity. Students will compare key features of vertebrates including structure and function of parts as it relates to their ecological role and how they respond to environmental impacts. Strategies for mitigation will be discussed.

Level 2 Term 0

ENSC1355Ecological Field Studies
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences with a plan of Renewable Resources.
  • Course Equivalencies: ECOL2360
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is designed to familiarize students with practical field experience in recognizing floral, soil, and animal components of communities, as well as in measuring, recording and relating environmental variables to different habitats. Students also receive instruction in, and hands-on experience with, GPS, live mammal handling, establishing a field camp, operating and maintaining chainsaws, brushers and hand-tools. Environmental and ecological assessments are done throughout the course. (Students are responsible for the additional costs of food and lodging.)

Level 2 Term 1

BIOL2840Wildlife and Range Management
  • Requisites: This course is not available to Open Studies students. Prerequisites: BOTA1522, ZOGY1470.
  • Course Equivalencies: BIOL2385
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course will introduce the student to an integration of ecological topics that will form a basis for wildlife and rangeland management. These topics will be used to determine stocking rates and habitat condition for agricultural and wild landscapes. The theoretical portion of the course includes identification of intensive and extensive principles blended with a practical focus on application and interpretation of adjacent land uses, land classification, habitat alteration and community dynamics. Fundamental principles for vertebrate management, species at risk, safe use factors, range water conservation and holistic management are included to optimize biodiversity. Biological scenarios are examined by the students to stress indicators of habitat and animal condition.

BOTA2380Taxonomic Botany
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: ENSC1265, ECOL1235.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This is a practical course in identification and classification of vascular plants, with emphasis on native Alberta flora. Identifications are required to the species level; however particular focus on family traits is stressed. Concepts related to the value of indicator plant species and ecological position is addressed throughout the course while the role of vegetation control on resource management is examined relative to industrial practices. The lab involves collecting, labelling, preparing, preserving and identifying herbarium specimens to museum standards. (Students are responsible for a summer field collection detailed in the second semester).

SOIL2460Soil and Vegetation Reclamation
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisites: ENSC1265, BOTA2380.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course focuses on soil and vegetation reclamation and restoration of uplands and wetlands. It explores stabilization of soils and slopes using vegetation and erosion control products and structures; identification and selection of suitable native plant species in reclamation and restoration; and reclamation of riparian areas using native vegetation. It includes classification and delineation of wetlands in Alberta’s Natural Regions and application of current Alberta wetland restoration / compensation guidelines. A portion of the course focuses on the propagation of seeds and cuttings of native shrubs for reclamation and restoration. Further, principals of equivalent land capability, end-use planning, and the development of a reclamation plan are incorporated. It also includes an assessment of reclaimed / restored sites for wildlife habitat and/or the assessment of soil invertebrates in reclaimed vs. natural soil. The students apply Alberta reclamation criteria and legislation for industry, municipalities, and natural areas. The course includes field trips to restoration and reclamation sites.

ZOGY2370Entomology
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology program. Prerequisite: ZOGY1125
  • Open Studies: Not Available

Students will explore the evolution, life histories, and adaptations that have contributed to the success of Class Insecta. Beneficial and detrimental relationships between insects and humans will be discussed, with emphasis on species that are important in Alberta agriculture and forestry. Students will demonstrate knowledge of morphological features by classifying and identifying various insects, and will prepare an entomology collection using the appropriate techniques.

ZOGY2542

This course has recently been updated and is under review. If you are a current student, please refer to the Student Portal for your program schedule.

ZOGY2636

This course has recently been updated and is under review. If you are a current student, please refer to the Student Portal for your program schedule.

Level 2 Term 2

BIOL2821Conservation Biology Project
  • Requisites: This class is not available to Open Studies students.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course is designed to give students experience in researching and presenting scientific literature, designing and creating a research proposal, and implementing a research project. Students conduct their research and write a technical paper summarizing their results as part of a team. The students perform background research on a project and create a project design, which is implemented in the last half of the semester. The final component of the course is to present the project. Students are evaluated both individually and as team members throughout the course.

ENSC2757Limnology
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This course includes baseline surveys of lakes and streams, including physical and chemical features, biotic and abiotic relationships and population dynamics of aquatic floral and faunal communities. Laboratory exercises involve collection and handling of aquatic samples using a variety of limnological equipment, and the subsequent analysis of a variety of water quality parameters, and presentation of the data in scientific format.

ENSC2834Parks and Environmental Education
  • Requisites: This course is available to students in the Biological Sciences Technology - Renewable Resources program. Prerequisite: COMM1220.
  • Open Studies: Not Available

This hands-on course will examine the different types and roles of protected areas in Canada with a closer look at Alberta Parks. Students will examine parks management issues, including strategies for protecting resources and enhancing visitor experience in our parks. Topics will include the benefits of nature to individuals and communities, and strategies for making parks inclusive and accessible. Students will engage in science communication, using various modes of delivery, and will design and deliver an environmental education program for a local school or community group.

ENVT2601

This course has recently been updated and is under review. If you are a current student, please refer to the Student Portal for your program schedule.

ZOGY2556

This course has recently been updated and is under review. If you are a current student, please refer to the Student Portal for your program schedule.

Tuition

Cost Per Credit: $180
Tuition Cap: $1,940

Tuition for International Students

Cost Per Credit: $567
Tuition Cap: $6,111

Mandatory Fees

NAITSA: $129
U-Pass: $175
Health & Dental: $128
Rec. & Athletics: $70

Pay Your Tuition & Fees
How much will first year cost?

Books, Supplies & Program Fees (est.)

Level 1 Term 1: $925
Level 1 Term 2: $1,025
Level 2 Term 1: $825
Level 2 Term 2: $675

Dates & Deadlines

We recommend submitting your program application at least 90 days before the application deadline.

Application Deadline: Sep 03, 2019

Term Start Date: Sep 03, 2019

Program Availability Status:  

Domestic Applicants: WL
International Applicants: WL

Entrance Requirements

  • Grade 12 English
  • Math 30-1 or 30-2 or Pure Math 30 or Applied Math 30 or Physics 30
  • Chemistry 30
  • Biology 30
  • Proof of English Language Proficiency

Additional Requirements and Considerations

Immunization Requirements: Students are required to have their immunization for Tetanus and Diptheria. A form will be provided that must be filled out by a healthcare professional (a Doctor or a Public Health Nurse).

Laptop Requirements:

Students are required to provide their own laptops for the duration of their studies at NAIT. Extensive use of computers in industry has changed how technologists work and additional knowledge and skill are expected from our grads. The NAIT campus provides a wireless environment for students to use. NAIT will also provide a virtual environment (VDI) for the students to access course related software. The VDI model will allow students to access software and work on projects both on and off campus.

Recommended Laptop Requirements:

  • Minimum of 12 inch display (minimum 24-bit colour depth)
  • Intel quad-core i5 - 2.2 GHz minimum
  • 8 GB RAM; 500 GB hard drive
  • Microsoft Windows
  • 2.5" USB 3.0 portable hard drive (for backups)
  • 8 GB USB 3.0 flash drive (16GB or larger recommended)
  • Wireless mouse (Bluetooth preferred)
  • Video/Graphics adaptor 256MB RAM (NVIDIA, ATI, and Intel chipsets supported) may be required.

Notes: Apple laptops are STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. Often there are NO MAC VERSIONS of the required software. Previous semesters have shown that Apple laptops are often incompatible with some of the software we use. Microsoft Office 365 will be provided to students for free. Students are responsible for the service and repair of their own computers. NAIT Tech Support will be available to assist with software licensing and installation issues as much as possible. If you have any questions please contact either the School of Applied Sciences and Technology or our program by email.

Additional Requirements:

  • Power extension cord (minimum 3 meter length)
  • A method for Backup Storage of Files such as online "Cloud" storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) or a larger USB external hard drive is recommended
  • Up-to-date Virus protection for your computer.

Apply to Program

Apply to the program with step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application process. Please note, processing time may vary for applicants, so we recommend starting early.

Apply nowHow to apply checklist


Open Studies

A great option to get started or take a few courses without committing to a full program. Learn more

International Students

This program is open to international applicants. For more detailed information about applying, visit our admissions page. Learn more

Legend

Term Definition
Open Program still has seats available.
Waitlisting Program is full and qualified applicants are being placed on a waitlist. For information about waitlists, please visit the Waitlist FAQs.

If you’re on a non-competitive waitlist, you should consider NAIT’s Academic Upgrading program or NAIT Equivalency Tests to become a more competitive applicant.

There is no guarantee that waitlisted applicants will be offered a seat, however it is common for seats to become available until the start of class. As seats become available, they are filled from the waitlist.
Closed Program is no longer accepting applications.
N/A Not available for this term.


*Program availabilty is subject to change without notice.

Scholarships & Awards

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 Professional associations

Become a certified engineering technologist

Students of this program are eligible for student membership in the Association of Science and Engineering Technology Professionals of Alberta (ASET).

Apply to NAIT

Learn how to register through Alberta Post-Secondary Application System (APAS) or begin the application process.

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