Marine Science Semester

Bowdoin Marine Science Semester Fall 2015

The Bowdoin Marine Science Semester (BMSS) is an immersion experience in marine field work, lab work, and independent research open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors from Bowdoin and colleges participating in the *Twelve College Exchange. Students 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 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.

Hands on field work and cutting edge laboratory science are a central component of the BMSS. The Benthic Ecology course includes a10 day field seminar to the Gulf of California, Baja California Sur to study the natural history and unique ecological properties of this highly productive and exceptionally diverse tropical marine ecosystem. In the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, we visit Hurricane Island, off Rockland, Maine, and Bowdoin’s Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada. In both locations we have begun collection and curation of a long-term dataset to access changes in the intertidal community as climate changes in the Gulf of Maine. Several cruises collecting physical data and phytoplankton are scheduled for the Biological Oceanography module, and the Marine Molecular Ecology and Evolution module, which also features a student driven population genomics study focusing on intertidal snails, and utilizing next generation sequencing technology.

Students interested in enrolling in the semester program are asked to contact Rosie Armstrong, Program Coordinator (by e-mail: rarmstro@bowdoin.edu) by March 1, 2016.  At present, we are only accepting Bowdoin students, and students from schools that participate in the Twelve College Exchange.  Students from Twelve College Exchange schools should apply through the Twelve College Exchange application process for study at Bowdoin, indicating the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester under 'courses' and 'intentions'.

*The Twelve College Exchange participating school are:  Amherst, Connecticut, Dartmouth, Mount Holyoke, Smith, Trinity, Vassar, Wellesley, Wheaton, Wesleyan, and Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program (and Bowdoin)

1. Biology 2501 a. INS. Biological Oceanography. Bobbie Lyon.
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 Biology 1109 and Mathematics 1000 or higher. (Biological Oceanography is an upper level elective for the biology major and counts as an elective for the earth and oceanographic science major and 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 Biology 1109 and Mathematics 1000 or higher. (Benthic Ecology counts as 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 Biology 1109 and Mathematics 1000 or higher. (Marine Molecular Ecology and Evolution is a group 3 core course for the biology major and counts as an elective for the environmental studies coordinate major at Bowdoin.)

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) (Writing about the Coastal Environment counts as an elective for the environmental studies coordinate major at Bowdoin). Prerequiste: None