Bozeman, MT/Online
Jun 25-Jun 29, 2012
Credit: 2 graduate
Tuition & Fees: $726.70
Instructor(s): John Winnie, Jr.

Register Online

Course Description

Hybrid: Pre-reading and discussion online June 11 to June 29 and face to face June 25 to 29 on the MSU campus, including an excursion to the field.

Our primary goals in this course will be to understand the theoretical underpinnings of predator-prey interactions and link these theories to the real world study of predator-prey ecology. Through a mix of class and field work, participants will move rapidly from foundational theory, to hands-on field work and data collection, to the basics of analyses and how theory and data are synthesized to inform management. For us to progress smoothly during the class week on the MSU campus and in the field, 2 weeks of background reading and study is necessary. Pre-class week materials, including not less than 2 homework assignments, will be posted on the course's Desire2Learn website beginning June 15th.

Classes at MSU will be a combination of lecture, readings, and excercises designed to familiarize participants with population and predator-prey theory. More generally, we will explore the overall utility of mathematical models in describing natural interactions. Field work will center on general field craft (seeing and understanding ecology), study design, and techniques for gathering data.

We will spend 3 days in the field (T, W, Th) regardless of weather. During these trips, participants will study field craft and data gathering techniques in an area that has been studied extensively by researchers and is heavily used by wolves and elk.

Physical and Gear Requirements:
Both class days and field days will be long. The field component of this class is substantial, and teacher-participants should be prepared to spend the better part of 3 days hiking and doing field work in moderately rugged terrain at high elevations (>6000'). Participants should be able to hike several miles at a stretch and be comfortable spending full days in the field.

    This means having and carrying the following field gear:
  • A light, comfortable day pack into which all this gear will fit
  • Bear repellant - immediately accessible in a holster on your pack belt
  • Comfortable, all-weather, sturdy, above-the-ankle hiking boots - no tennis shoes!
  • Light weight rain gear, preferably breathable
  • Mid weight fleece or wool pullover or sweater
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Sun screen
  • High energy snack food and a lunch to keep you going for a full day on the trail. All food should be double-bagged in zipper-style bags
  • 1 or 2 1L water bottles, or a Camel-back style bladder with drinking hose
  • First aid kit
  • Headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries
  • Binoculars
  • Field notebook and pencils. Rite-in-the-Rain, or similar notebooks are best. Usually available at the MSU bookstore
  • Compass, and if you have one, a GPS
  • Personal toiletry and first aid kit containing any necessary medications
If you have a medical condition that could present as an emergency in the field, you must notify the MSSE program before signing up for this class. We will be operating in a remote area with sketchy to no cell coverage, so emergency services will be delayed.

Notebook computer with word processing (Word), spreadsheet (Excel), Acrobat, and wireless internet connectivity strongly recommended!

Meeting Place and Times

June 11 to June 29: Online using Montana State University's learing management system, Desire2Learn. Login information to follow after registering for the course.

Face to Face:
June 25 to June 29: MSU Campus, Bozeman, MT. Lewis Hall 407 and in the field.
Class: M & F 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM - Lewis Hall 407
Field Trips: TWR 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM
More details on the field location to follow after registering for the course.


John Winnie, Jr., PhD. is an adjunct professor in the Ecology Department at Montana State University. His research centers on predator-prey ecology, conservation ecology, and trophic interactions driven by predators. When he is not in the field doing research, he enjoys being out hiking, climbing, biking and taking photographs. His nature and wildlife photographs have been widely published, and he is a recent winner of USAID’s Environment Photo Contest.


  • teachers should be enrolled in the Master of Science in Science Education degree program at Montana State University, or permission of the program director is required
  • you should be a science educator with at least 2 years of successful teaching experience
  • you must have a Bachelors degree in science or science education
  • and, be proficient through advanced algebra, or program permission is required
  • email Diana Paterson at the email listed below if you need to seek permission

    Target Audience

    The course is designed primarily for practicing science teachers with at least two years of teaching experience, seeking graduate credit in Biology.

    Tuition and Fees

     Program Fee $187.00
     Computer Fee$6.70
     Distributed Learning Fee$0.00

    A $30 registration fee is also charged once per semester.

    The costs above assume that you are taking only MSU Extended University courses during the semester that the course is offered. If you also registered for courses through the MSU Registrar, the regular MSU fee structure may apply.

    A $40 late fee will be assessed if payment is not posted to your account by 3 pm (Mountain Time) of the course start date (or the business day before if the course starts on a weekend or a holiday).

    To learn more about tuition and fees, please see the University Business Services' Student Accounts Web page.

    Required Books/Materials

    • A Primer of Ecology, by Nicholas Gotelli, 4th Edition, plus assigned readings from the primary literature.

    You can order the text through the Montana State University Bookstore at 1-888-247-2546. Ask to speak with the Textbook Department. It will expedite your order if you tell the sales representative:

    • the course number (BIOL 580)
    • the title of the text
    • that the course is offered online through Extended University

    • The text may also be available from other sources.

      This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

      For More Information

      contact Diana Paterson at or 406-994-5679.

      How to Register

      Register Online