Marine Science Semester Fall 2015

Setting trasects on Hurricane Island

The Bowdoin Marine Science Semester (BMSS) is an immersion experience in marine field work, lab work, and independent research open to sophomores - seniors, from Bowdoin and other colleges, who are interested in marine biology, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, earth and oceanographic science, and environmental studies. Students will take four courses sequentially in three-to-four week modules taught at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory and Coastal Studies Center in Harpswell, Maine. The module style allows for continuity of laboratory and field research.

Students will reside in campus housing on the main Bowdoin campus, eleven miles from the Coastal Studies Center and travel by shuttle to and from the Coastal Studies Center Monday-Friday. Classes, labs, and local field trips will generally run Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., with a few exceptions in morning arrival or afternoon departure for tides. Fridays are flexible, for example students can work on independent research projects, use the time for more exploration of the environments and facilities of the Coastal Studies Center, or have a campus day for clubs and other activities.

Field experience is a central component of the BMSS and in addition to all the great local habitats in Harpswell Sound, we will offer a series of 3-4 day trips to other habitats in the Gulf of Maine (Hurricane Island, and a Gulf of Maine Oceanography Cruise on the Schooner Bowdoin) as well as a 10 day trip to Baja California Sur which will feature near-shore tropical ecosystems (rocky reefs and mangroves) and the off shore pelagic environment.

Students interested in participating Fall 2015 are encouraged to contact Dave Carlon, Director of the Coastal Studies Center for more information or with any questions. Dave can be reached by e-mail at: dcarlon@bowdoin.edu

1. Biology 2501 a. INS. Biological Oceanography. Instructor TBA.
Emphasizes the fundamental biological processes operating in near and off-shore pelagic environments, including the factors that drive primary production and the structure and function of food webs. It will also review basic physical oceanography: the major ocean current systems, the physical structure of the water column, and coastal dynamics. Field trips to Harpswell Sound,  Casco Bay, and the greater Gulf of Maine will introduce students to the methods and data of biological oceanography. Taught in residence at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory, Coastal Studies Center. (Same as Environmental Studies 2231.) Prerequisite: Biology 1102, or 1109 and a course in mathematics, or permission of the instructor. (Biological Oceanography is an upper level elective for the biology major and an elective for the environmental studies coordinate major at Bowdoin.)

2. Biology 2232 a. MCSR. Benthic Ecology. David Carlon.
Explores the physical and biological processes that organize benthic communities in temperate and tropical environments. Field exercises will demonstrate the quantitative principles of marine ecological research, including robust design of field surveys and experiments. Students will directly participate in an intertidal monitoring study designed to detect long-term changes in the Gulf of Maine. A trip to Baja California will introduce the structure and function of tropical systems. Taught in residence at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory, Coastal Studies Center. (Same as Environmental Studies 2232.) Prerequisite: Biology 1102, or 1109 and a course in mathematics, or permission of the instructor. (Benthic Ecology is an elective for the biology major and the environmental studies coordinate major at Bowdoin.)

3. Biology 2330 a. MCSR. Marine Molecular Ecology & Evolution. Sarah Kingston.
Features the application of molecular data to ecological and evolutionary problems in the sea. Hands on laboratory work will introduce students to sampling, generation, and analysis of molecular data sets with Sanger-based technology and Next Generation Sequencing. Lectures, discussions, and computer-based simulations will demonstrate the relevant theoretical principles of population genetics and phylogenetics. A class project will begin a long-term sampling program, that uses DNA barcoding to understand temporal and spatial change in the ocean. Taught at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory, Coastal Studies Center. (Same as Environmental Studies 2233.) Prerequisite: Biology 1102, or 1109 and a course in mathematics, or permission of the instructor. (Marine Molecular Ecology and Evolution is a group 3 core course for the biology major and an elective for the environmental studies coordinate major.)

4. English 2802 c. Writing about the Coastal Environment. Russ Rymer.
This is a creative writing course whose subject is environmental science. Students will spend a month in a concentrated writing program involving intensive reading and composition. The reading will emphasize the work of science journalists and of scientists writing for lay publications. We will use the readings to explore what makes a worthy (or flawed) translation of complicated science concepts into layman’s language. Considerations of accuracy, complexity, readability and style will be applied directly to students’ writing projects, which will include daily blog posts, short assignments, and a longer opus requiring more extensive research and reporting, whose final form will incorporate all aspects of long-form science writing. Writing assignments are designed to help students bridge between their scientific research and the larger public world that their research involves and affects. To that end, stories may dovetail with lab work students have been pursuing during the semester. Taught at the Coastal Studies Center.(Same as Environmental Studies 2802).