Course Offerings - 2015 Summer Field Program

Three sessions of courses are offered in 2015.

Mini-Session, May 11-22, 2015

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 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. Arthur Karels. Barrier Island Ecology; COA 448/448L. Three semester hours credit (1/2).

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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 provides students with an introduction to herpetology through lectures, discussions of original research papers, and a class project. Topics covered include the ecology, evolution, life history, diversity, behavior, and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. There will also be field excursions highlighting the methods and techniques for capturing and studying amphibians and reptiles. Prepare to get wet and muddy while 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. Field Exercises in Coastal Herpetology; COA 412/512. Three semester hours credit.

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Coastal Ornithology

This course explores the highly diverse avian habitats found along the Mississippi Gulf Coast focusing on the study of avian ecology. Class activities include a significant emphasis on the use of both sight and sound as means of field identification. Students will explore barrier island nesting grounds, boat the pristine Pascagoula River area, and explore local marshes and other unique coastal habitats. Students will 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.

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Dolphin & Whale Behavior

Students will learn 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. Cetacean Behavior; COA 444. Three semester hours credit.

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First Term, May 26 – June 23, 2015

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

Marine Biology

An ecological approach is taken to understand 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 Science II: Marine Biology; COA 301, 301L. Five semester hours undergraduate credit (3/2).

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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. Marine Ecology; COA 446/546, 446L/546L. Five semester hours credit (3/2).

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Marine Invertebrate Zoology

A concentrated study of the marine and estuarine invertebrates from the 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. Marine Invertebrate Zoology; COA 428/528, 428L/528L. Six semester hours credit (3/3).

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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 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).

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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. 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 422/522, 422L/522L. Five semester hours credit (3/2).

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Second Term, June 25 – July 24 , 2015

Searching for dolphins in Mississippi Sound - USM Summer Field Program

Marine Biology

An ecological approach is taken to understand 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. Kelsey Gillam. Marine Science II: Marine Biology; COA 301, 301L. Five semester hours undergraduate credit (3/2).
NOTE: Dr. Michael Andres will now be teaching Marine Ichthyology.

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Marine Ichthyology

Marine Ichthyology is an intensive marine biological field course requiring strenuous physical activity in the ocean, including during adverse conditions (inclement weather, rough water). This course engages students to seek out and identify marine fishes of estuaries, lagoons, grassbeds, nearshore waters, and pelagic waters of the Gulf of Mexico (including field operations in MS, AL, FL, LA, and TX). Students experience a variety of land-based (beaches, barrier island lagoons, estuaries, nearshore coastal waters) 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. Students must work effectively alone and in teams and participate in multi-day field expeditions to complete the course objectives. Class hours are long and include some weekend activities. 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 and permission of instructor. Additional information will be requested upon receiving your completed application. Dr. Michael Andres. Marine Ichthyology; COA 421/521, 421L/521L. Six semester hours credit (3/3).

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Marine Mammals

An overview of the biology of marine mammals (cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters, and the polar bear) including their classification, evolutionary history, anatomy, physiology, behavior, conservation and management. Prerequisites: Three semesters of biology. Dr. Diana Weber. Marine Mammals; COA 443/543, 443L/543L. Five semester hours credit (3/2).

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Shark & Stingray Physiology

This course is complementary to Shark Biology (COA 422/422L) and will provide an in-depth exploration of elasmobranch physiology using the Atlantic stingray as a model organism in the laboratory. Lectures will cover unique aspects of elasmobranch (sharks, skates and stingrays) physiology and specialized adaptations to the challenges of life in diverse aquatic habitats. The laboratory component will include field collections and wet lab experiments that examine the osmoregulatory capabilities of the Atlantic stingray, including an analysis of gene expression and plasma biochemistry. Prerequisites: Three semesters of biology, including marine biology, or permission of instructor. Elizabeth Jones. Elasmobranch Physiology; COA 470/570. Five semester hours credit.

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Research Study Program

Research Study Program Positions are available in both the first and second terms.

This Research Study Program allows upper level undergraduate students
an opportunity to gain valuable experience in designing a research project,
sampling, analyzing data, and presenting research findings. Research
options encompass a broad spectrum of disciplines in coastal sciences that
include: Marine Aquaculture, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Biomedicine,
Marine Ecology, Marine Education, Marine Fisheries, Marine Pathology,
and Marine Toxicology. This course could easily form the basis of a Senior
or Honors Project. Prerequisites: Four semesters of biology or permission of
instructor. Special Topics: Research; COA 492.

 

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