The 2019 Summer Course offerings are listed below. All courses are subject to change. The listed schedule times are approximate and left to the discretion of the instructor. All courses must be approved by your liaison officer.

For sessions 1 & 2 you may in enroll in (1) 6hr, (1) 4hr, and (1) 2hr course; or (2) 2hr courses. (2) 4hr courses may be taken at the discretion of your liaison officer. 

If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please contact the registrar Regina Kollegger via email at rkollegger@disl.org

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May Session 2020 (May 11-May 22)

Course Credits Instructor Schedule
Biology and Conservation of Marine Turtles (2) UG/G Wibbles M-F (9A-4P)
Coral Reef Biology and Ecology (May 6-22) (4) UG/G Hoadley M-F (9A-4P)
Dolphins and Whales (2) UG Lewis M-F (9A-4P)
Ecology of the Florida Everglades (2) UG/G Stanton M-F (9A-4P)
Shark and Ray Biology (2) UG/G Drymon M-F (9A-4P)
Shellfish Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico (2) UG/G Walton M-F (9A-4P)

1st Session 2020 (May 25-June 26)

Course Credits Instructor Schedule
Coastal Birds of Alabama (2) UG/G Woodrey TH/F (9A- 11:30A); Lab TH (1P- 4P)
Coastal Wetlands Ecology (4) UG/G Stanton W (1P-4P) TH/F (9A - 12P); Lab TH/F (1P - 4P)
Environmental Applications of GIS (2) UG/G Fleming Th/F (9A-11:30A) Lab TH (1P-4P)
Hurricanes of the Gulf Coast (2) UG/G Blackwell TH/F (9A - 11:30A); Lab TH (1P - 4P)
Intro to Oceanography (4) UG/G DeBose W (1p-4p) TH/F (9A-12P); Lab TH/F (1P-4P)
Marine Behavioral Ecology (4) UG/G Gier M/T/W (9A-12P); Lab M/T (1P-4P)
Marine Biology (4) UG Sprinkle M/T/W (9A-12P); Lab: M/T (1P-4P)
Marine Botany (4) UG/G Lehman M/T/W (9A-12P); Lab M/T (1P-4P)
Marine Geology (4) UG/G Elliot W (1P-4P) TH/F (9A - 12P); Lab TH/F (1P - 4P)
Marine Mammals (4) UG/G Lewis M/T/W (9A - 12P); Lab M/T (1P - 4P)
Marine Restoration Ecology (2) UG/G Baggett M/T (9A-11:30A); Lab M (1P-4P)
Marine Technical Methods (2) UG/G Dorgan M/T (9A-11:30A) M (1P-4P)
Marine Vertebrate Zoology (4) UG/G Albins W (1P-4P), TH/F (9A-12P); Lab TH/F (1P-4P)
Plankton Biology (2) UG/G Moss M/T/W (9A-12P); Lab: M/T (1P-4P)

2nd Session 2020 (June 29-July31)

Course Credits Instructor Schedule
Biotic Response to Sea Level Change (2) UG Wofford TH/F (9A-11:30A) Lab TH (1P-4P)
Intro to Neurobiology (July 13-July 31) (3) UG/G Strang et al. M-Sat (9A-4P)
Intro To Oceanography (4) UG/G Krause M/T/W (9A-12P); Lab M/T (1P- 4P)
Marine Aquaculture (2) UG/G Stoeckel M/T (9A -11:30A); Lab M (1P - 4P)
Marine Biology (4) UG Sprinkle M/T/W (9A-12P); Lab: M/T (1P-4P)
Marine Conservation Biology (4) UG/G Baggett M/T/W (9A-12P); Lab M/T (1P-4P)
Marine Ecology (4) UG/G Dorgan W (1P-4P) TH/F (9A-12P); Lab TH/F (1P-4P)
Marine Geology (4) UG/G Minzoni W(1P-4P) TH/F(9A-12P) Lab TH/F (1P-4P)
Marine Invertebrate Zoology (4) UG/G Carmichael M/T/W (9A - 12P); Lab M/T (1P - 4P)
Marine Mammal Health (2) UG/G Deming TH/F (9A-11:30A); Lab TH (1P-4P)
Marine Vertebrate Zoology (4) UG/G Baker W (1P-4P), TH/F (9A-12P); Lab TH/F (1P-4P)
Shark and Ray Biology (2) UG/G Drymon M/T (9A - 11:30A); Lab: M (1P-4P)

Biotic Response to Sea Level Change

Prerequisites: One year of undergraduate introductory science and or consent of the instructor. For graduate credit, a degree in any science field.

This course is an overview of sea-level change over geologic time with emphasis mechanisms of change, evidence of past sea-level changes, and the impact of expected sea-level changes on the marine biosphere. Topics include global climate change and eustasy, tectonically-forced sea-level change, epeiric seas, transgression and regression sedimentology, coastal geomorphology, and marine and coastal habitat change. Field studies emphasize local evidence for sea-level change, habitat shift and reorganization, and human response to changing sea levels, such as community displacement, shoreline stabilization, and beach-fill nourishment. This course is designed for undergraduate and graduate students in the physical and biological marine sciences.

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Intro to Neurobiology (July 13-July 31)

Prerequisites: Introductory Biology.

Students will be introduced to the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of marine invertebrates and vertebrates. The following aspects of neurobiology will be covered in lectures and laboratory exercises: neurons and glia; passive properties of neurons; resting potentials; action potentials; synaptic transmission; neurotransmitters and receptors; sensory transduction; muscle innervation and contraction; sensorimotor integration; and neurophysiological bases of behavior. In addition, students will use computer simulations that allow a more in-depth exploration of cellular neurobiology than is possible in standard laboratory classes. Students will be introduced to aspects of molecular biology and its applications to neuroscience. This class will include evening and Saturday sessions. The following are recommended but not required: general chemistry and general physics; or permission of the instructor.

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Intro To Oceanography

Prerequisites: Basic science major.

This hands-on course provides students an opportunity to learn about the physics, chemistry, geology, and biology of the ocean. Students will apply this knowledge first hand by implementing sample collection strategies on board a research vessel during cruises on Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Through class discussion of recent oceanographic discoveries and core concepts, and learning user-friendly ocean data visualization software, this course will enable students to then interpret oceanographic data collected during their cruises and to create clear and concise presentations.

Typical data collected on board the research vessel will include hydrographic (temperature, pH, salinity, inorganic nutrients, light intensity) and biological (phytoplankton, zooplankton) variables that are collectively processed and visualized. Students should have a laptop equipped with word processing and spreadsheet software.

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Marine Aquaculture

Prerequisites: General Biology required; Ichthyology, Limnology, and Invertebrate Zoology suggested, but not required.

This course will introduce students to techniques in live animal culture with an emphasis on basic principles that can be applied to the culture of any organism for research, display or commercial profit. Topics discussed will include: water chemistry, filtration, production techniques, reproduction and nutrition. This course is also designed to assist students with problem solving and communication skills.

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Marine Biology

Prerequisites: General Biology.

A general survey of marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, the communities they form and the physical and chemical factors that influence them. Field trips include marsh, seagrass, and dune habitats. Sampling from research vessels and laboratory exercises will serve to introduce students to the diversity of marine habitats and organisms. Organisms will be identified using dichotomous keys. Participation in overnight field trips is a part of this course. Snorkeling gear is required.

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Marine Conservation Biology

Prerequisites: An introductory class in either marine or general ecology.

This advanced course is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students. This course will explore the major threats to marine biodiversity as well as the pros and cons of the potential solutions to these threats. Students will participate in class discussions on current topics in marine conservation biology and will critically evaluate marine conservation primary literature as well as the viewpoints of the various entities involved in marine conservation issues. In addition, students will participate in field trips that support topics covered in lectures and will demonstrate the application of current principles in marine conservation.

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Marine Ecology

Prerequisites: General Biology.

This advanced course is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students. The class will study marine organisms as they interact with each other and their environment, and examine ecological theories and the experimental basis of our current knowledge. The laboratory will consist of field trips to a wide variety of marine habitats and field problems which will be examined by student teams in small groups. Habitats selected for emphasis include coral reefs, kelp forests, seagrass meadows, the rocky intertidal and deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Participation in overnight field trips is a part of this course. Snorkeling gear is required.

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Marine Geology

Prerequisites: Introductory Geology recommended.

A study of the geology of the ocean basins, with special emphasis on the continental shelves, their sediments and the sedimentary processes at work there with emphasis on the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Field trips will be taken to study beach processes and sediments in Mobile Bay and offshore. Students will be introduced to the following: technical writing; conducting a research project; working as a team member; data management; concepts of marine geology; critical thinking; principles of science (hypothesis testing). Participation in overnight field trips is a part of this course.

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Marine Invertebrate Zoology

Prerequisites: Introductory Biology or Zoology.

This course surveys the morphology, natural history and evolutionary relationships of the marine invertebrates. The course includes lectures, laboratory exercises and extended field trips. Participation in overnight field trips is a part of this course. Snorkeling gear is required.

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Marine Mammal Health

Prerequisites: 3rd or 4th year undergraduate- completion of Dolphins and Whales or Marine Mammals course; graduate student; or consent of the instructor.

The course will provide an overview of marine mammal stranding response, health assessments and common diseases of bottlenose dolphins, manatees and sea lions. Lectures will be focused on how marine mammals act as sentinels for ocean health, including the effects of oils spills, harmful algal blooms and marine debris on marine mammals. This course requires participation in marine mammal necropsies, which includes hands-on dissection of carcasses, internal organs, blood, and can have foul smells. If you do not think you can handle the necropsy portion of this course, you are encouraged not to register for this course. Due to potential risk of zoonotic disease, you cannot participate in necropsies if you are pregnant or immune compromised. Personal protective equipment will be available and is required. A fieldtrip to an aquarium will provide the opportunity to see medical examinations of dolphins and sea lions, and participation in live and dead marine mammal stranding response will be available on a volunteer basis as opportunities present throughout the course.

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Marine Vertebrate Zoology

Prerequisites: Two semesters of General Biology (or equivalent) and accompanying labs.

Survey of marine fishes, reptiles and mammals, with an in-depth comprehensive treatment of their systematics, zoogeography and ecology. Field and laboratory work will stress the vertebrate fauna of the northern Gulf of Mexico and most of the course will be devoted to fishes. Students completing this course will: 1) have a basic understanding of the biology, ecology, physiology, and systematics of the various marine vertebrate taxa; 2) gain experience in field and lab identification of members of the various vertebrate taxa; and 3) gain experience in collecting various marine and island vertebrate taxa.

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Shark and Ray Biology

Prerequisites: One course in General/Organismal biology (or equivalent).

This course will provide an introduction to the biology of sharks and rays, with special emphasis on regional shark fauna and field techniques. Topics to be covered include chondrichthyan origin, systematics, sensory biology, locomotion, food consumption, osmoregulation, reproductive biology, life history, ecology, fisheries and conservation. Lectures will be supplemented with discussions of papers from the primary literature to familiarize students with current research. In addition, longline and gillnet sampling will provide students with firsthand knowledge of field techniques and local shark identification.

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Coastal Birds of Alabama

Prerequisites: Undergraduate Biology or Zoology.

This course highlights the diverse coastal birdlife of northern Gulf of Mexico. With a focus on the study of avian ecology in the field, this class will include a significant emphasis on the use of both sight and sound as means of field identification. A variety of habitats will be explored, including barrier island nesting grounds, the Mobile-Tensaw River basin, local marshes and other unique coastal habitats. Students will also be introduced to a variety of field ornithology techniques including bird-banding, survey techniques, and monitoring methodologies.

Email questions to msw103@msstate.edu.

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Coastal Wetlands Ecology

Prerequisites: General Biology and Botany or Zoology.

This course will focus on coastal and nearshore wetland areas, with an emphasis on the biogeochemical processes that occur within, and issues that threaten and protect these important resources. Wetlands not only provide critical habitat for many aquatic and semi-aquatic species, they are also important for primary productivity, transformation of nutrients, pollutant removal, as well as providing protection from storm surges and floodwaters. Insight into wetland ecology requires understanding of the unique interactions between biology, chemistry and hydrology.

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Environmental Applications of GIS

Prerequisites: statistics or equivalent course in mathematics

This course consists of learning applied mapping and analysis with GIS and will leverage other geospatial techniques including remote sensing, geovisualization, and spatial analysis with particular emphasis on environmental applications. Students will use the knowledge acquired from readings, guided activities, and instructor demonstrations to apply GIS data including vector and raster spatial data, imagery, maps, and surface models in examinations of contemporary coastal and marine science issues. Students will be exposed to working with spatial information regarding human and natural hazards and disasters, land use and land cover, coastal monitoring, and other relevant data types. Some lecture is required, but this course will emphasize a “hands-on” approach to learning GIS through practical assignments and projects in a computer lab and in the field. Industry-leading ArcGIS software will be used along with exposure to online and open-source technology. 

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Hurricanes of the Gulf Coast

This is an introductory survey course on hurricanes with emphasis on hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. Topics include: 1) the hurricane problem along the Gulf Coast and a review of some of the infamous Gulf Coast hurricanes of the last 150 years; 2) Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf hurricane climatology; 3) the effects of El Niño and multi-decadal changes in the Atlantic circulation on hurricane frequency; 4) favorable/unfavorable environments for hurricane development and intensification; 5) hurricane features and structure; 6) hurricane movement and steering mechanisms; 7) coastal and inland effects from landfalling Gulf Coast hurricanes; and 8) Gulf hurricane forecasting (where will the storm go and how strong will it be at landfall). A half-day boat trip along much of the length of Dauphin Island is planned (weather permitting) during the last week of class to inspect the impact of recent hurricanes on this barrier island.

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Intro to Oceanography

Prerequisites: Basic Science Major.

This hands-on course provides students an opportunity to learn about the physics, chemistry, geology, and biology of the ocean. Students will apply this knowledge first hand by implementing sample collection strategies on board a research vessel during cruises on Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Through class discussion of recent oceanographic discoveries and core concepts, and learning user-friendly ocean data visualization software, this course will enable students to then interpret oceanographic data collected during their cruises and to create clear and concise presentations. Typical data collected on board the research vessel will include hydrographic (temperature, pH, salinity, inorganic nutrients, light intensity) and biological (phytoplankton, zooplankton) variables that are collectively processed and visualized. Students should have a laptop equipped with word processing and spreadsheet software.

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Marine Behavioral Ecology

Prerequisites: Introductory course that covers zoology (either vertebrate or invertebrate).

The course examines how animal behavior is influenced by and interacts with its environment, and the ecological and evolutionary significance of these behaviors in a marine setting. Students will learn principles of behavioral ecology as they relate to marine animals, become familiar with techniques for observing animal behavior and conducting behavioral experiments, and be introduced to methods for collecting and analyzing behavioral data. Snorkeling gear required.

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Marine Biology

Prerequisites: General Biology.

A general survey of marine plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, the communities they form and the physical and chemical factors that influence them. Field trips include marsh, seagrass, and dune habitats. Sampling from research vessels and laboratory exercises will serve to introduce students to the diversity of marine habitats and organisms. Organisms will be identified using dichotomous keys. Participation in overnight field trips is a part of this course. Snorkeling gear is required.

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Marine Botany

Prerequisites: General Biology

A general survey of marine algae (microscopic and macroscopic), as well as salt marsh vegetation, mangroves, seagrasses and maritime forest communities. Lectures will emphasize identification, distribution, structure, ecology and physiology. Extensive overnight field and laboratory work is involved, including the ability to wade and snorkel. Participation in overnight field trips is a part of this course. Snorkeling gear is required.

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Marine Geology

Prerequisites: Introductory Geology recommended.

A study of the geology of the ocean basins, with special emphasis on the continental shelves, their sediments and the sedimentary processes at work there with emphasis on the northeast Gulf of Mexico. Field trips will be taken to study beach processes and sediments in Mobile Bay and offshore. Students will be introduced to the following: technical writing; conducting a research project; working as a team member; data management; concepts of marine geology; critical thinking; principles of science (hypothesis testing). Participation in overnight field trips is a part of this course.

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Marine Mammals

Prerequisites: General Biology

This course will cover the evolutionary history, taxonomy/classification, anatomy, physiology, behavior and conservation/management issues of marine mammals (cetaceans, pinnipeds, mustelids, sirenians and the polar bear). In addition, research methods used to study marine mammals will be taught (including field and lab techniques).

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Marine Restoration Ecology

Prerequisites: One year of undergraduate introductory science (preferably including an ecology course) or consent of the instructor.

This course will provide an overview of the scientific and technical principles of marine habitat restoration. We will discuss the role of key ecological concepts in restoration, and the role of restoration in science and society. Students will identify structural and functional components of marine habitats and learn how to design restoration projects and monitoring plans that capture these key components of structure and function. Students will learn to recognize when adaptive management may be needed, and how to formulate strategies to correct or maintain the desired trajectory of restored habitats. Students will also be introduced to the interdisciplinary nature of restoration science, including social, ethical, political and economic aspects. Lectures will be supplemented with primary literature reading assignments. Field trips will allow students to see local restoration sites and learn monitoring techniques used in various habitats (e.g., salt marsh, oyster reef, seagrass bed). This course is designed for undergraduate and graduate students.

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Marine Technical Methods

Prerequisites: General Biology, Chemistry, Physics or equivalent

This course will provide an introduction to different methods of sensing the ocean, including building and testing simple sensors, e.g., temperature and light, using Arduino microcontrollers and software, use of in-struments to collect high-resolution data, and some background on how technology has led to key advances in marine science. The course will be primarily project-based, with students working together to build instruments, learn basic programming skills to control sensors, and going in the field to test instruments and collect environmental data.

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Marine Vertebrate Zoology

Prerequisites: Two semesters of General Biology (or equivalent) and accompanying labs.

A survey of marine fishes, reptiles and mammals, with an in-depth comprehensive treatment of their systematics, zoogeography and ecology. Field and laboratory work will stress the vertebrate fauna of the northern Gulf of Mexico and most of the course will be devoted to fishes. Students completing this course will: 1) have a basic understanding of the biology, ecology, physiology and systematics of the various marine vertebrate taxa; 2) gain experience in field and lab identification of members of the various vertebrate taxa; and 3) gain experience in collecting various marine and island vertebrate taxa.

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Plankton Biology

Prerequisites: Principles and Organismal Biology or equivalent.

This course will examine all classes of plankton: microbial; phytoplankton; and zooplankton, with emphasis on the gelata, copeods and planktonic larvae. At least one field trip will be at night, and one or more trips will take the students offshore. Students will identify plankton, learn how to assay plankton populations using classic filtration and modern imaging and molecular methods. We will discuss invasive species, the microbial loop, ‘Jelly World’ and the mechanisms and implications of explosive jellyfish blooms. Each student will keep a detailed notebook and give a ten-minute presentation on his/her favorite planktonic organism. Texts required, and scientific papers will be used.

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Biology and Conservation of Marine Turtles

Prerequisites: Introductory course in Biology

This introductory course will provide an overview of the biology and conservation of marine turtles. Topics to be covered include the identification, distribution, nesting behavior, migratory behavior, feeding ecology, population biology and genetics, developmental habitats, temperature-dependent sex determination, paleontology and conservation of marine turtles. Students will obtain a detailed knowledge of sea turtle biology; will gain an understanding of why many sea turtle species have become endangered; and how proper management has allowed some populations to recover. The course will culminate with an overnight, multi-day field trip to sea turtle nesting beaches and foraging grounds in the southeastern U.S. The class will also visit sea turtle research and rehabilitation facilities. The overnight field trip will provide students with the opportunity to observe loggerhead, green, and leatherback turtles in their natural habitats. 

*Special fees apply and will be determined based on enrollment (approximately $625.00). A trip deposit (1/2) will be due on March 08, 2020, with the remaining portion due on April 29, 2020. The fee is nonrefundable unless the class is canceled.

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Coral Reef Biology and Ecology (May 6-22)

Prerequisites: 2 semesters of general biology or equivalent required, general ecology course recommended.

Students will learn about the biology and ecology of coral reef and associated systems located throughout the Florida Keys. This course will explore the ecology and evolution of coral reef communities, with a view to understanding what is happening on reefs today. Lectures will cover energy flow across reefs, along with biogeochemical cycling important for continual reef development. Microbial interactions that govern the flow of carbon and nitrogen through coral reefs will also be discussed. Formal lectures will be accompanied by lab activities in the field designed to fully immerse students into each topic. Students will also work together to develop a research question focused on tropical marine ecology and then design and execute an experimental approach to answer the proposed question.


*Special fees apply and will be determined by the number of participants in the course (approximately $900.00). A trip deposit (1/2) is due on March 08, 2020, with the remaining portion due on April 29, 2020. The fee is nonrefundable unless the class is canceled. Email questions to khoadley@disl.edu.

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Dolphins and Whales

Prerequisites: General Biology

This class will be an introduction to the biology of cetaceans (toothed and baleen whales). Topics covered will include evolution, taxonomy, anatomy, physiology, genetics, behavior, and conservation related to species within this Order. Lab exercises will introduce current methods used in cetacean research.

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Ecology of the Florida Everglades

Prerequisites: Undergraduate Biology, Zoology, or Botany.

This course examines the natural history and ecology of the world’s rarest and most endangered wilderness area. The course will consist of a week of lectures and discussions focusing on the history, geology, hydrology, and biota of this system, and then a week of field exploration to examine the Everglades and associated systems. The field component will consist of day-long excursions and tent camping in several Florida State Parks. As such, participants should bring appropriate gear and be prepared to actively and cheerfully participate.

*Special fees apply and will be determined by the number of participants in the course (approximately $575.00). A trip deposit (1/2) is due on March 08, 2020, with the remaining portion due on April 29, 2020. The fee is nonrefundable unless the class is canceled. Email questions to lstanton@uwa.edu.

Please view our video of the 2014 class. 
 

The Ecology of the Florida Everglades, Summer 2014 from Trois Clare on Vimeo.

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Shark and Ray Biology

Prerequisites: One course in general/organismal biology (or equivalent).

This course will provide an introduction to the biology of sharks and rays, with special emphasis on regional shark fauna and field techniques. Topics to be covered include chondrichthyan origin, systematics, sensory biology, locomotion, food consumption, osmoregulation, reproductive biology, life history, ecology, fisheries and conservation. Lectures will be supplemented with discussions of papers from the primary literature to familiarize students with current research. In addition, longline and gillnet sampling will provide students with firsthand knowledge of field techniques and local shark identification.

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Shellfish Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico

Prerequisites: One year of college-level Biology or permission of instructor.

This course will provide students with an overview of the various types of shellfish aquaculture practiced in the Gulf of Mexico, both for public stock enhancement and private production. Students will gain a broader understanding of the scale and methods of oyster aquaculture, including cultching, on-bottom and off-bottom methods, as well as clam aquaculture, with field trips to operations in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Students will get an overview of shellfish hatchery production and techniques. This course is also designed to assist students with problem solving and communication skills.

*Special fees apply and will be determined based on student enrollment in the course (approximately $385.00). A trip deposit (1/2) is due on March 08, 2020 with the remaining portion due on April 29, 2020. Fee is nonrefundable unless the class is canceled.

More videos to check out:

  1. The gospel of the Alabama oyster. 5/15/15/ 8:32 video, produced by Southern Foodways Alliance. https://vimeo.com/131098257
  2. For the love of oysters: Alabama’s oyster farmers. 12/19/14. 10:12 video, produced by Backforty Beer Co.http://youtu.be/ewIUJ6rne_Y
  3. Oyster farming grows market (Part 1). 4/4/13. 2:22 video, produced with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium & Gary Finch Outdoors, and aired on Gary Finch Outdoors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXyGad22cx8.
  4. Oyster farming grows market (Part 2). 4/5/13. 2:16 video, produced with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium & Gary Finch Outdoors, and aired on Gary Finch Outdoors. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrs1ujcl9ao.

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