The GS-408 Ecology (0408) series covers positions that involve primarily advisory, research, analytical, or other professional work in the science of ecology. Ecology utilizes a systems approach to study the interrelationships of organisms with each other, with their physical and chemical environment, and with society. Such relationships are considered primarily at the levels of individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. Ecologists analyze biological components and processes in the context of ecosystems including environmental factors, physical-chemical relationships, and social relationships. They use quantitative and systems analysis techniques to predict effects of planned or natural changes in ecosystems and to develop understanding of and solutions to ecological problems. The basic title for this occupation is Ecologist.
The University of Idaho offers a variety of online courses in a broad range of topics that in combination with work experience may help you meet the GS-408 OPM Qualification Standards.
The GS-0408 OPM Qualification Standards are defined as:
Courses in biology, or a related field of science underlying ecological research that included at least 30 semester hours in basic and applied biological sciences. These hours must have included at least 9 semester hours in ecology, and 12 semester hours in physical and mathematical sciences.
Please make sure to check with the appropriate Human Resources officer to ensure that our courses will qualify for the GS-408 OPM Qualification Standards. All are semester-based courses. Note some prerequisites can be waived by the individual College Departments and instructor. Check the University of Idaho master course schedule to ensure availability.
Suggested courses to meet Ecology requirements
FOR 221 – Principles of Ecology (3 credits)
Principles of ecology and their relevance to management of natural resources. Major topics include plant and wildlife population, community, ecosystem, and landscape level processes and how these processes interact with the environment. Exploration of how ecosystems are affected by humans and global change. Introduction to the types of questions asked by ecologists, the principal concepts and theories that guide ecological inquiry, and the methods that are used to answer ecological questions. Both terrestrial and aquatic systems are considered. (Summer).
Prereq: BIOL 102/BIOL 102L or BIOL 114 or BIOL 115 or PLSC 205; or Permission
REM 252 Wildland Plant Identification (2 credits)
Develop skills to identify and classify major rangeland plants. Focus is on identification of grasses, forbs, and shrubs. Discussions will also encompass the ecological roles of wildland plants and the ecosystem classification. This course includes a 1-day field trip. Required for REM majors. (Spring).
REM 280 Introduction to Wildland Restoration (2 credits)
History and overview of the ecological, social, and economic aspects of wildland restoration using case studies. Students will explore approaches and philosophies towards restoring and rehabilitating wildlands that have been damaged through natural forces and human activities such as wildfire, overgrazing, cultivation, and weed invasion. (Spring).
REM 341 Systematic Botany (3 credits)
Phylogenetic approach to understanding plant systematics and evolution with a primary focus on the flora of the Pacific Northwest. Includes identification of important plant families and the use of dichotomous keys for species identification. (Spring and Summer).
Prereq: BIOL 114 or BIOL 115; and BIOL 213 or PLSC 205
REM 411 – Wildland Habitat Ecology and Assessment (2 credits)
This course integrates field sampling with quantitative and theoretical concepts related to scientific research, wildlife habitat, and land management practices. Students collect, analyze, and report on ecological data in various formats, and learn specific protocols used by professionals to assess wildlife habitat. Class field trips required. Recommended preparation: REM 252 and REM 253, REM 341, or other plant identification class; ability to use excel. Co-enrollment in REM 410 is recommended. (Fall).
Prereq: STAT 251 or Permission
REM 429 – Landscape Ecology (3 credits)
Ecological relationships and conservation issues for biotic communities across the landscape, including spatial and temporal dynamics and patterns, and importance of landscapes in maintenance of ecosystem diversity and function. One or more field trips; one 2-3 hour lab period per week. Recommended Preparation: Familiarity with spreadsheet programs and problem solving using computers. (Spring).
Prereq: FOR 221 or REM 221
REM 440 – Wildland Restoration Ecology (3 credits)
Ecological principles and management practices involved in restoring and rehabilitating wildland ecosystems after disturbance or alteration to return damaged ecosystems to a productive and stable state. (Fall).
Prereq: FOR 221, or REM 221, or equivalent general ecology course
REM 459 – Rangeland Ecology (2 credits)
Application of ecological principles in rangeland management; stressing response and behavior of range ecosystems to various kinds and intensity of disturbance and management practice. Recommended Preparation: courses in general ecology (e.g., REM 221), technical writing (e.g., ENGL 317), and vegetation assessment (e.g., REM 410 or FOR 274) or Permission. (Fall).
Suggested courses to meet Physical and Mathematical requirements
GEOG 385 – GIS Primer (3 credits)
Intro to basic concepts and applications of geographic information systems (GIS), lab exercises on PC-based GIS packages. Two lec and 2 hrs of lab a wk. (Fall and Spring).
Prereq: basic knowledge of PC-based operating system.
ENVS 450 – Environmental Hydrology (3 credits)
Carries no credit after BE 355 or CE 325. Comprehensive understanding of the hydrologic processes associated with the environmental processes. Includes components of the hydrologic cycle, analysis of precipitation and run off, evapotranspiration, routing, peak flow, infiltration, soil and water relationships, snowmelt, and frequency analysis. (Spring).
Prereq: MATH 170
FOR 454 – Air Quality, Pollution, and Smoke (3 credits)
Assessment of the controls and drivers of emission processes and impacts on air quality from fires, industry, and other natural sources. Overview of the combustion and emission process, how these emissions impact the quality of air, and what models exist to monitor the emission. Other topics to include: recent EPA and other guidelines for smoke management planning, attainment issues, atmospheric transport and deposition processes. (Spring and Summer).
REM 410 Principles of Vegetation Measurement (2 credits)
On-line course designed to give an overview of vegetation measurement techniques for grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, and forests. Students will gain a solid understanding of how to evaluate and monitor vegetation attributes relative to wildlife habitat, livestock forage, fire fuel characteristics, watershed function, and many other wildland values. Recommended Preparation: A basic understanding of how to use computer spreadsheets such as Excel. (Fall only) Students who desire a hands-on and interactive experience with vegetation measurement are encouraged to also enroll in REM 411 which is a course the builds on the principles delivered in REM 410 and includes field experiences. (Fall).
Prereq: STAT 251 or permission
REM 407 GIS Application in Fire Ecology and Management (2 credits)
Introduces applications of GIS in fire ecology, research, and management including incident mapping, fire progression mapping, GIS overlay analysis, remote sensing fire severity assessments, fire atlas analysis and the role of GIS in the Fire Regime Condition Class concept and the National Fire Plan. Additional assignment/projects required for graduate credit. (Spring).
Prereq: FOR 375 or GEOG 385; or Permission
WLF 440 – Conservation Biology (3 credits)
Patterns of biological diversity; factors producing changes in diversity; values of diversity; management principles applied to small populations, protected areas, landscape linkages, biotic integrity, restoration, legal issues, and funding sources. (Fall).
Prereq: FOR 221, REM 221, or BIOL 314 or Permission
Other courses to meet Overall requirements
ENVS 485 – Energy Efficiency and Conservation (3 credits)
Includes aspects of science, policy, and economics of energy use and efficiency measures. Considers use trends and existing and potential efficiencies primarily on a national scale with some consideration of both global and local situations. Focuses on residential and transportation energy with some coverage of commercial and industrial energy use. (Fall).
FOR 451 - Fuels Inventory and Management (2 credits)
Tools, quantitative analysis, and approaches for inventory and management of fuels for wildland fires over large, diverse areas in forests, woodlands, shrubland, and grasslands. Critically review and synthesize relevant scientific literature.
Prereq: FOR 375, REM 144 and FOR 274 or REM 411
FOR 484 – Forest Policy and Administration (2 credits)
Evaluation of land and forest problems and policies in the U.S.; analysis of current conditions and policies; historical development of governmental and private agencies concerned with the administration of forest conservation program. Recommended Preparation: FOR 235. (Summer).
Prereq: Junior standing
REM 456 – Integrated Rangeland Management (3 credits)
Management strategies for integrating grazing with other natural resource values such as wildlife, water, timber, recreation, and aesthetics; emphasis on herbivore ecology including ecological impacts of grazing, ways to manage grazing, and nutritional relationships between plants and free-ranging ungulates on rangeland, pastureland, and forest ecosystems. One 4 to 5-day field trip. Recommended Preparation: REM 151. (Spring).
Prereq: ENGL 313 or ENGL 317