2014 Spring Mini-Session

January 2-13, 2014

The GCRL Spring Mini-Session is a great opportunity for students to gain knowledge marine and coastal sciences in an intensive field and laboratory oriented learning atmosphere. Three classes will be offered in a spring mini-session in 2014.

Coastal and Marine Geology

Spring Mini-Session, Woody Plants of the Gulf Coast

This introductory class discusses basic geological principles required for the understanding of the origins, development and significance of various coastal and nearshore environments, processes and landforms including barrier islands, man-made and eroding shore sectors. Coastal field trips are planned to illustrate these highly dynamic and ever-changing coastal environments.

Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor (Ecology recommended but not required).

Dr. Ervin Otvos
COA 409/509. Coastal and Marine Geology
Three semester hours credit.
Course field fee is $100.

Coastal Ornithology

Spring Mini-Session, Coastal Ornithology

This course explores the highly diverse avian habitats found along the Mississippi Gulf Coast with a focus on the study of avian ecology in the field. Class activities will include a significant emphasis on the use of both sight and sound as means of field identification. During this course students will explore the pristine Pascagoula River area, local marshes and other unique coastal habitats. Students will also be introduced to a variety of ornithology field techniques including bird-banding, call-broadcast surveys, and monitoring methodologies.

Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. (Ecology recommended but not required.)

Dr. Mark Woodrey
Special Topics: Coastal Ornithology, COA 411/511.
Three semester hours credit
Course field fee is $100

Woody Plants of the Gulf Coast

Spring Mini-Session, Woody Plants of the Gulf Coast

Students will be introduced to the wide range of coastal habitats and the associated woody plants of the Gulf Coastal Plain of the southeastern United States. Emphasis will be on the identification of trees, shrubs, and woody vines. Their distinctive features, distribution, rarity, and wetland indicator categories will be discussed. Participants will learn the specific terminology associated with woody plants, and the use of dichotomous keys in their identification. Habitats to be studied include: salt marsh, estuary and intermediate marsh, freshwater marsh, pitcher-plant savanna, riverine, forested wetlands, sea¬shore, dune, and relic dune. Land-based field trips will include visits to the DeSoto National Forest, the Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge and the Gulf Islands National Seashore, or similar areas. Boat trips to barrier islands or major river systems will be scheduled if possible.

Prerequisite: A semester in General Biology or General Botany or permission of instructor.

Dr. Ron Jones.
COA 490/590, Special Topics: Woody Plants of the Gulf Coast
Three semester hours credit.
Course field fee is $100.

Admissions Deadline

Applications for the spring mini-session classes are now being accepted.  To apply, submit all paperwork and a non-refundable $35.00 application fee (not applicable to current USM students) by December 6, 2013, to:

Margaret Firth
Office of Student Services
Division of Coastal Sciences
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
703 East Beach Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564


Tuition per semester hour:   

Room and Board: $480 per term

Field Fees: $100.00


Sam Clardy, Coordinator of Undergraduate Programs


Margaret Firth, Administrative Assistant