Marine Science–Not Offered 2022-2023

This elective course is made up of two semester-long courses that can be taken either independently or for the whole year.  Class work includes weekly individual readings of current articles followed by presentations to the rest of the group.  This seminar style requires that everyone be extremely responsible about meeting their individual work expectations. There are several papers assigned throughout the year, usually two in the fall, one in the winter, and two in the spring term.  The class will involve some hands-on labs, regular evening documentary watching, and then more extensive field work during a trip to Cape Cod in the spring.

Fall:  The fall semester will look at the ocean in depth, using all the various fields of science. We will discuss the coasts, along with tides, waves, and tsunamis.  We will talk about the open ocean along with currents and El Nino weather. We’ll delve into the structures of the ocean basins: the ocean floor, undersea volcanos and deep sea vents, and the edges of the sea.  Along the way we will talk about the variety of ecosystems and environments in the ocean:  the deep sea, the polar seas, rocky- and sandy- shores, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, salt marshes, and the surface of the ocean itself.

Winter/Spring:  In January the course will move into a survey of marine organisms, looking particularly at the adaptations that creatures make for life in the oceans.  It will start with the very small – the viruses and bacteria present in the seas, and move on through the invertebrates to the marine vertebrates – fish, sea turtles, seabirds, and marine mammals.  We will focus on animal adaptations and behaviors, and end with a special concentration on the cetaceans (whales and dolphins).  Along the way many of the topics will address various environmental issues and discuss human use and development of the ocean’s resources.

Each semester is limited to 12 people and is open to sophomores, juniors and seniors who have completed Biology.


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