BIO 362: Marine Biology
This course takes an ecological approach to examining the marine ecosystem. This means we investigate the relationship of organisms to their environment and to each other. We start by examining the properties that make the marine environment different from terrestrial habitats and discuss the characteristics of flowing water, tides, waves, and other currents. Then, we move on to specific marine habitats and their resident flora and fauna, with emphasis on the adaptations of organisms for a given habitat and the ecological role played by certain groups. Along the way, we examine the cycling of nutrients and energy within each habitat. It is not enough to be able to identify which organism belongs in which habitat, rather we are striving to understand the function of organisms in their environment.
We end the course with a discussion of human effects on the marine environment. We’ll draw from the scientific literature and the popular press to build an understanding of the challenges faced by the marine environment and the consequences of these challenges.