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 geared toward juniors and seniors- from Bowdoin and other colleges- who are interested in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, earth and oceanographic science, or environmental studies. Students will take four courses sequentially in three-to-four week modules taught at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory and Coastal Studies Center. The module style allows for continuity of laboratory and field research.

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:

1. Biological Oceanography – Biology 2501, ES 2231. 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, Biology 2501 is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester.

2. Benthic Ecology – Biology 2502, ES 2232. 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, Biology 2502 is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester.

3. Marine Molecular Ecology & Evolution – Biology 2330, ES 2233. 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, Biology 2503 is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester.

4. Writing about the Coastal Environment. ENGL 2XXX. Russ Rymer.
This course will develop writing skills in the communication and reporting of coastal environmental issues. It features a student-driven independent writing project. Taught at the Bowdoin Marine Laboratory, this will be a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester.