Marine Ecology

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Marine Ecology
Science Course
Course CodeMARE
Year Opened1996
Sites OfferedBRI, LOS, SRF
Previously OfferedCHS, CLA
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2018):

Did you know 94 percent of life on earth is aquatic? Yet, we have only explored 5 percent of earth’s oceans. NASA sent astronauts to the moon in 1969, but scientists didn’t explore the Mid-Ocean Ridge until 1973 and have better maps of Mars than Earth’s oceans. Marine ecologists aim to reduce this knowledge gap as they study habitats, populations, and interactions between aquatic organisms and their environment. They utilize biology, chemistry, physics, geology, geography and meteorology to better understand marine environments.

In this field science course, students begin by looking broadly at marine ecosystems, the geography of ocean floors, and the physical and chemical properties of ocean water. They visit local habitats to collect and test water samples and examine microscopic organisms that live in the water. Students explore how salinity and temperature impact the ecosystem and how the slightest change can harm the health of its organisms. Through field observations and comparative dissections in the laboratory, students observe and analyze different plants and animals, paying special attention to the adaptations that allow them to live in marine habitats. Using this knowledge, students investigate the relationships, populations, and interactions of all the living and non-living parts of the marine ecosystem. Field experiences may include a trip to an aquarium, visits from marine life experts, or a boat excursion in local waters. The course concludes with an analysis of human impact and a critical evaluation of how we can protect marine ecosystems now and in the future.