Field & Molecular Techniques in Wildlife Research & Management

Course Information: Offered through UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources 

Course Number: WILD 4650/6650          4 Credit Hours

Course Duration:  Two weeks in May, dates vary by year. 

Faculty Directors: Stacey Lance and Jim Beasley

Email: lance(at)  or  beasley(at)

Course Description:

This is a 4-hour undergraduate/graduate-level course offered during Maymester at the Savannah River Ecology Lab near Aiken, SC. The course will expose students to a variety of field and molecular techniques used in contemporary wildlife research and management and provide opportunities for students to apply these techniques in both field and laboratory settings. Topics will vary from year to year but will cover live-capture, handling, and chemical immobilization of wildlife, non-invasive sampling techniques for carnivores, wild-pig capture and necropsy, use of radio-telemetry to monitor animal movements, use of molecular techniques to extract and amplify DNA from invasive and non-invasive sampling collection methods, use of genetic data for species and individual identification, relatedness studies, population genetics, and disease diagnostics. 

Course Goals and Learning Outcomes:

In this course students will learn and gain practical hands-on experience applying contemporary field and molecular techniques commonly used in wildlife research and management. Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe and implement common invasive and non-invasive methods of capturing, handling, and sampling wildlife populations

  2. Demonstrate knowledge of wildlife sampling procedures, study design, and population monitoring techniques 

  3. Use molecular techniques to extract and amplify DNA from non-invasive samples

  4. Be proficient in analyzing and interpreting nuclear microsatellite data using a variety of software

  5. Demonstrate understanding of how non-invasive genetic data can used to address a variety of questions in wildlife ecology and conservation