Past Courses

Bowdoin Marine Science Semester Course Archives


History 2129 c. History of Harpswell and the Coast of Maine. 
Sarah McMahon (2017)
Examines the long history of Harpswell as part of the coast of Maine, and the research methodologies used to uncover and analyze that history from environmental, community, socio-economic, political, racial and ethnic, and cultural perspectives. Topics include bonds and tensions in a peninsula and islands community, coastal agriculture and stone walls, inshore and deep-sea fisheries, shipbuilding and shipping, the Civil War, poverty and living on the margin, and the rise of tourism. Field trips around historic Harpswell and nearby Casco Bay and trips to archives at George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections and Archives, Pejepscot Historical Society, Harpswell Historical Society, and Maine Maritime Museum. For each student, the course will culminate with a research project prospectus for a projected essay on an aspect of that history (Same as Environmental Studies 2449).

Biology 2501 a. INS. Biological Oceanography Bobbie Lyon, Brittany Jellison* (2015, 2016, 2017, *2018)
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.)

Biology 2232 a. MCSR. Benthic Ecology. David Carlon (2015, 2016, 2017)
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.)

Biology 2330 a. MCSR. Marine Molecular Ecology & Evolution. Sarah Kingston (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
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.)

Maine Writers and the Environment, ENGL 2804  (c.) Elizabeth Muther (2018)
Explores the wild and diverse literary territories of the state of Maine-past and present-with a focus on coastal narratives and environmental writing. Considers Maine's multi-ethnic folkways, its austere modernisms, remorseless gothic landscapes, natural splendors and antagonisms, coastal rhapsodies and adversities, and contemporary environmental imperatives. Includes poetry, short stories, novels, memoirs, personal narratives, children's literature, nature writing, and environmental advocacy by such writers as Thoreau, Jewett, Robinson, Millay, Beston, Carson, McCloskey, King, Russo, Strout, and Bryan. Taught daily at the Schiller Coastal Studies Center, English 2804/Environmental Studies 2804 is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester. Biology 2501 (same as Environmental Studies 2231), Biology 2232 (same as Environmental Studies 2232), and Biology 2233 (same as Environmental Studies 2233) are co-requisites of this course. Pre-requisite: None.  

English 2802 c. Writing about the Coastal Environment. Russ Rymer (2015, 2016)
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). Prerequisite: None

Current Topics in Marine Science, BIOL 3117/ENVS 2217 Olaf Ellers (2019)
An advanced seminar focusing on aspects of marine science relevant to student research projects in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester. Students choose topics and learn to (1) search for information in the scientific literature; (2) evaluate the utility of papers to their research topic; (3) spot holes in existing understanding; (4) formulate hypothesis driven research questions; (5) integrate across research papers and apply that integrated knowledge to their own topic. Students will also advance their ability to write research plans and papers including producing a grant proposal modeled on a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Students will also visit several Maine Marine Research facilities and infrastructure to understand the current state of marine fisheries, regulatory and research activities in Maine.​

Methods in Ocean Change Ecology, BIOL 2503/ENVS 2233 (a.INS, MCSR) Brittany Jellison (2019)
Explores how marine organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems will respond to global ocean change. Concepts in ecology, behavior, physiology, and evolution will be highlighted to demonstrate how marine systems are affected by ocean change factors such as warming, ocean acidification, hypoxia, habitat loss, and invasive species. Emphasizes in-depth discussion of key literature to exemplify the theory, study design, and analysis tools marine scientists employ to research current and projected ocean change. Also integrates laboratory, fieldwork, and computer activities to illustrate approaches to monitoring and predicting shifts in biological communities. Students will run experiments to determine how intertidal organisms in the Gulf of Maine are responding to a modified environment. A trip to Hawaii will allow students to get hands on experience monitoring ecosystem health and change in a coral reef system. Taught in residence at Schiller Coastal Studies Center. Ocean change ecology is a course-module in the Bowdoin Marine Science Semester and is taught with three other co-requisite courses.