Course Offerings - 2013 Summer Field Program

Three sessions of courses are offered in 2013.

Summer Mini-Session, May 13-24, 2013

Hands-on marine biology field work during the GCRL Summer Field Program

Barrier Island Ecology

This field course will familiarize students with concepts of coastal ecology with emphasis on the diversity of plant and animal communities unique to the northern Gulf of Mexico barrier island ecosystem. Field excursions to barrier islands off the Mississippi and Florida coasts will be conducted during this course and cover topics such as: marsh and barrier island vegetation, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, mammals, birds and reptiles, brackish pond and lagoon communities, submerged seagrass communities, intertidal and shallow subtidal communities, and geologic processes of island dynamics. Prerequisites: Three semesters of science or permission of instructor. Dr. Jerry McLelland. Barrier Island Ecology; COA 448/448L. Three semester hours credit (1/2). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Coastal Herpetology

The coastal plain of the Southeast boasts an outstanding diversity of amphibians and reptiles, making the region an excellent place to study these often reclusive and elusive creatures. This course will provide students with an introduction to herpetology through lectures and associated readings, discussions of original research papers, and a class project. Topics covered will include the ecology, evolution, life history, diversity, behavior, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. There will also be many field excursions highlighting the methods and techniques for capturing and studying amphibians and reptiles. Be prepared to get wet and muddy since we will be exploring the marshes, pine woods, bayous, and other habitats as we search for and learn about the amphibians and reptiles of the northern Gulf Coast. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Matthew Chatfield. Special Topics: Coastal Herpetology; COA 412/512. Three semester hours credit. Course field fee is $100.00.

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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 Barrier Island nesting grounds, boat the pristine Pascagoula River area, and explore 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. Coastal Ornithology; COA 411/511. Three semester hours credit. Course field fee is $100.00.

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Dolphin and Whale Behavior

Students will learn about tools and techniques used in the systematic observation and documentation of delphinid behavior in the wild. Course includes both classroom lecture and field studies focused primarily on dolphins of the Mississippi Sound. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. Jeffrey Siegel. Cetecean Behavior; COA 444. Three semester hours credit. Course field fee is $400.00.

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Environmental Photography

This course is designed to develop an awareness of our environment, and convey this understanding through the medium of photography. This class includes studies of the structure and function of ecosystems (emphasizing aquatic environments), and examines selected environmental concerns through daily field trips. Further, students in this course will emphasize nature at the seldom observed macroscopic level for a fuller understanding of inter-relationships in the environment. Although no formal coursework is prerequisite, it is expected that students enrolled in this class will have a basic awareness of environmental issues. This course is designed to appeal to students across disciplines. Dr. James Wetzel. Special Topics: Environmental Photography; COA 490/590. Three semester hours credit. Course field fee is $100.00.

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Marine Toxicology

This course will introduce students to the concepts of aquatic toxicology. Lectures will cover the history and basic concepts of toxicology with a focus on aquatic issues, modern molecular techniques commonly used in modern toxicology applications, an overview of common xenobiotics, and experimental design. Laboratories will focus on performing basic toxicological skills, including exposure setup and monitoring, endpoint selection, and basic molecular techniques (nucleic acid isolation, cDNA synthesis, qPCR, and protein analysis). Prerequisites: One semester biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Robert Griffitt. Special Topics: Marine Toxicology; COA 490/590. Three semester hours credit. Please note that there is NOT a field fee associated with this course.

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First Term, May 28 – June 25, 2013

Lab work during the GCRL Summer Field Program for marine biology studies

Marine Biology

An ecological approach to understanding the biology of marine systems with emphasis on local organisms; their habitats, life cycles, and survival strategies. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Walter Conley. Marine Sciences II: Marine Biology; COA 301, 301L. Five semester hours undergraduate credit (3/2). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Marine Ecology

A study of marine organisms and their relationships to the environment, including such topics as primary production, populations and communities, biogeochemical cycles, trophic ecology, larval ecology, and human influences. Laboratory involves weekly quantitative studies implemented as class projects. Prerequisites: Four semesters of science or permission of instructor. Dr. Chet Rakocinski. COA 446/546, 446L/546L. Five semester hours credit (3/2). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Marine Embryology

Marine Embryology is a specialty area within the marine sciences that involves methods in field collecting, spawning, in vitro fertilization, and laboratory manipulation of gametes and embryos of the major invertebrate and vertebrate groups found in marine habitats. Lectures encompass the broader field of Developmental Biology, and so include such contemporary applications as cloning, tissue regeneration, cell lineage, and organogenesis. Prerequisites: One year of college level biology, or permission of instructor. Dr. James Wetzel. Special Topics: Marine Embryology; COA 490/590. Five semester hours credit. Course field fee is $400.00.

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Oceanography

This course provides a multidisciplinary foundation in oceanography, specifically the terminology, principles, processes, relationships, and phenomena pertaining to three of its traditional sub-disciplines: physical, geological, and chemical oceanography. The importance of the interaction of biotic and abiotic processes in the ocean will be addressed through exploration of timely issues in ocean science. Prerequisites: College Algebra; one semester chemistry; one semester biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Jessica Kastler. Marine Science I: Oceanography, COA 300, 300L. Five semester hours undergraduate credit (3/2). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Parasites of Marine Animals

Parasites of Marine Animals introduces students to some animal parasites (protozoans, helminths, some obscure worm-like groups, and crustaceans) present in the estuarine environment of the northern Gulf of Mexico. The course is intended to give an appreciation for the diversity of parasites and will emphasize their interrelationships, taxonomy, life histories, ecology, and importance in aquaculture. Students will learn techniques for collecting and preparing specimens as well as how to identify parasites from major groups to the generic level. The course is intended for undergraduate biology majors and graduate students and is a laboratory and field oriented course. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Stephen Curran. Parasites of Marine Animals, COA 453/553, 453L/553L. Six semester hours credit (3/3). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Shark Biology

This specialized course will provide students with an overview of elasmobranch (sharks, skates, and rays) biology, ecology, and taxonomy. Lectures will cover such topics as evolution, anatomy and physiology, sensory systems, behavior, and ecology. Students will be introduced to the diversity of elasmobranchs and will learn how to identify species. Special emphasis will be given to the species common to the Gulf of Mexico. Laboratory work will consist of several inshore and offshore collecting trips as well as dissections. Prerequisites: Three semesters of biology, including Marine Biology or permission of instructor. Jill Hendon. Elasmobranch Biology, COA 422/422L. Five semester hours
credit (3/2). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Second Term, June 26 – July 26 , 2013

Searching for dolphins in Mississippi Sound - USM Summer Field Program

Coastal Flora and Vegetation

Students will be introduced to the wide range of coastal habitats along the Mississippi coast and will identify vascular plants from wetlands common to this region and how to analyze these habitats from a floristic and vegetation standpoint. Visits to the Pascagoula River, Deer Island, and Horn Island aboard GCRL research vessels will be conducted to compare habitats. Habitats to be studied include: sea-grass beds, salt marsh, estuary and intermediate marsh, freshwater marsh, pitcher-plant savanna, seashore, dune, and relic dune. The dominant and characteristic plants of each habitat will be identified, as well as unusual and rare species encountered in the region. Land-based field trips will include visits to the DeSoto National Forest, the Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Prerequisite: A course in General Biology or General Botany or permission of instructor. Dr. Ron Jones. Special Topics: Coastal Flora and Vegetation, COA 490/590. Five semester hours credit. Course field fee is $400.00.

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Marine Aquaculture

An introduction to principles and technologies applied to the culture of commercially important marine organisms. History, economic importance, basic components of marine aquaculture systems, a survey of species and systems, principles of water quality for culturing facilities, and diseases of marine organisms as they relate to marine aquaculture are presented. Aquabusiness concepts are also examined. For graduate credit, students must undertake a research component and complete related laboratory work. Prerequisites: Two semesters biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Jeffrey Lotz, Dr. Reginald Blaylock and Dr. Eric Saillant. Marine Aquaculture; COA 424/524, 424L/524L. Six semester hours credit (3/3). Course field fee is $100.00.

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Marine Biology

An ecological approach to understanding the biology of marine systems with emphasis on local organisms; their habitats, life cycles and survival strategies. Will include specimen collection with boat trips to the barrier Islands and trawling. We will take trips to local habitats, the Estuarium and the Audubon Aquarium in New Orleans. We will study all aspects of aquaculture and marine systems. There will be a collecting trip to Panama City, FL for the collection of specimens, where we will snorkel estuaries and patch reefs. Prerequisites: Two semesters biology or permission of instructor. Gregory Thurmon. Marine Sciences II: Marine Biology; COA 301, 301L. Five semester hours undergraduate credit (3/2). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Marine Ichthyology

Marine Ichthyology is an intensive marine biology field course requiring physical activity in the ocean and engages students to seek out and identify marine fishes of estuaries, lagoons, grassbeds, nearshore waters, and pelagic waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Students experience a variety of landbased (beaches, barrier island lagoons, estuaries, nearshore coastal waters of Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida) and ship-board (off barrier islands of Horn Island and Ship Island as well as in pelagic/ oceanic localities ranging from 10-200 km offshore) collection techniques that include seining, cast netting, spearing, hook and line fishing, trawling, trolling, dip netting, and fish traps. Successful students gain an appreciation for taxonomic identities of fishes and the synergism between abiotic and biotic factors that drive marine fish distribution and faunal diversity in Northern Gulf of Mexico. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Ash Bullard. Marine Ichthyology, COA 421/521, 421L/521L. Six semester hours credit (3/3). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Marine Invertebrate Zoology

A concentrated study of the marine and estuarine invertebrates from Mississippi Sound and contiguous continental shelf of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Emphasis is on structure, classification, phylogenic relationships, larval development and functional processes. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. Dr. Richard Heard. COA 428/528, 428L/528L. Six semester hours credit (3/3). Course field fee is $400.00.

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Marine Mammals

An overview of the biology of marine mammals (cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, otters, and polar bear) including their systematics, adaptive evolution, functional morphology, zoogeography, ecology, life history and reproduction, diving physiology, population dynamics, conservation, and additional topics. Prerequisites: Three semesters of biology including Marine Biology or Marine Ichthyology or permission of instructor. Dr. Peter Adam. Marine Mammals, COA 443/543, 443L/543L. Five semester hours credit (3/2). Course field fee is $400.00.

Zooplankton Ecology

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the biology and ecology of freshwater and marine zooplankton. Students will conduct analyses of zooplankton populations in the Mississippi Sound Estuary and selected rivers in southern Mississippi. Students will summarize major aspects of the class data set, draw conclusions about patterns observed in those data, cite the appropriate literature, establish hypotheses, and develop a research plan for hypothesis testing. Laboratory and field studies will include comparing methods for collecting zooplankton. Living zooplankton will be observed in the lab and methods for using zooplankton as bioassays of water quality will be tested. Students will learn how to relax, fix, and preserve zooplankton samples. Finally students will count zooplankton and analyze zooplankton communities using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology (plus one semester of statistics for COA 590) or permission of instructor. Dr. Eric Lovely. Special Topics: Zooplankton Ecology, COA 490/590. Five semester hours credit. Course field fee is $400.00.

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Summer Field Program student using a cast net to collect salt marsh specimens