BIO-315 Marine Biology
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This course will be taught every other year in May Term. The course is a laboratory science credit and may be applied to a biology major.

Course Description:

This course will survey marine organisms, emphasizing tropical systems. The primary field analyses will focus on the dynamics of coral reefs, tidal regions, turtle grass meadows, and adjacent terrestrial environments. A portion of the term will be spen t on campus in preparation for the field study which will be conducted at the Bahamian Field Station on San Salvador Island. Instruction will include lectures, both on campus and at the field station, library assignments and extensive exercises in the fi eld. Evaluation will be based on quizzes, student presentations and participation in class discussion and field activities.

Overview for Prospective Students:

This course is designed to introduce students who have had no formal instruction in marine science to selected aspects of marine and island biology. The course starts with a week on the Coe campus. Students attend lecture presentations on the diversity of marine organisms and complete independent library study of the life histories and taxonomic characteristics of two groups of organisms of their choice. The study guides and visual teaching aids they prepare are used to teach other students about the life histories organisms we see in the Bahamas.

The next step is travel to San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. Students must arrange their own travel to and from Ft Lauderdale and will be expected to arrive in time for the always exciting charter flight to San Salvador Island.

The Bahamian Field Station provides a campus setting right on Graham's Harbor, on the northern shore of San Salvador Island. While campus facilities are primitive compared to what we are used to at Coe, the island is surrounded by shallow patch reefs whi ch are ideal for studies of coral reef organisms and the ecological processes that occur on coral reefs. It is this unique combination of features, the field station facilities and literally dozens of coral reefs within easy snorkeling distance of shore, that convinces us to return year after year.

Activities at the Bahamian Field Station include three instructional sessions each day: a morning field trip, an afternoon field trip (may be an extension of the morning work) and an evening lecture/demonstration. Experimental investigations into ene rgetics and community dynamics of the systems are conducted by students in the afternoon sessions after they have mastered recognition of the organisms in the morning. Field observations emphasize recognition of organisms in each habitat we observe and t he basic biological principles which relate physical features of shallow marine habitats (substrate, salinity, temperature and geomorphology) to the biological patterns of productivity and diversity that are found in them.

On a typical morning we leave the Field Station by truck and travel to a field site near one of the coral reefs which surround the island. Students are presented with an assignment and work with the instructors to accomplish it. Each assignment include s either a terrestrial investigation or a period of snorkeling. After lunch students work in groups to complete an ecological study of some aspect of the field site they have become familiar with. Often this involves another period of snorkeling. After some time for relaxation, the class is transported back to the Field Station where there is time to shower and rest before dinner.

In the evening, approximately 2 hours are devoted to classroom presentations. Evening sessions may include lecture presentations of material related to field observations, and information about the biological and cultural histories of the islands or que stion and answer sessions about the specific locations we have yet to visit. Some evening sessions will be laboratories reviewing organisms and analyzing data collected during the day. On other occasions, the evening sessions will be used by students to prepare written lab reports based on field studies performed by the class. Each student will present 2 seminars during evening sessions as well.

Grades in the course will be based on participation in field activities, scores on weekly quizzes and grades on lab reports.

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Coe College 2003

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