Berkson, James M.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

James M. Berkson Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Assistant Professor
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences
College of Natural Resources


Dr. Jim Berkson works at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University as both an Assistant Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences and as Director of the University's Horseshoe Crab Research Center. Dr. Berkson received his B.A. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from the University of California at San Diego, his M.S. in Zoology from the University of British Columbia, and his Ph.D. in Biology from Montana State University.

Dr. Berkson's research on population dynamics has focused on a wide range of species including salmon, reindeer, oysters, wild turkeys, black bear, salamanders, and horseshoe crabs and has brought in over $1.6 million in sponsored research to the University. Dr. Berkson's primary educational interest is in designing learning experiences to properly prepare environmental science students for the real world they'll face after college. Dr. Berkson's philosophy is that students who know what to expect in the real world will make better decisions regarding their futures and will be more effective in their jobs.

Dr. Berkson has published six papers on the topic.

Experience in ERE
Prior to coming to Virginia Tech, I worked for a number of state, federal, and tribal natural resource management agencies in the United States and Canada for 15 years. I learned that my tremendous education from leading science programs did not prepare me to be an environmental scientist in a world filled with politics, economics, sociology, etc. Because of this experience, I have worked for the past 5 years to develop a more effective environmental science curricula, incorporating pedagogies better designed for the inter-disciplinary nature of the subject.