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Undergraduate Courses

MAR/BIO 050 - Window to the Oceans

This is a course in marine biology designed for the non-science major. Students will be introduced to the major groups of marine organisms, diverse coastal habitats, adaptations and distribution of organisms within marine habitats, and the potential for human impact on marine organisms and the environment. Current discoveries and "hot topics" within the field of marine biology will also be discussed. Laboratory work will include hands-on experience with sampling methods and equipment from both shore-based and boat-based platforms, general identification of marine plants and animals, and first-hand observation of different coastal habitats, their residents and unique adaptations. This course will be taught at the Marine Science Consortium in Wallops Island, VA.

Intro to
          OceanographyMAR/GEL 110 - Introduction to Oceanography

An introductory course designed to introduce students from diverse backgrounds to the physical, chemical, biological and geological aspects of the oceans and to the methods and techniques of this rapidly expanding field. Emphasis is placed on lab and at-sea assignments which focus the student's attention on the interrelationship and unity of oceanography, and its relation to other environmental sciences.

BIO 210 - Ornithology

A study of birds east of the Rocky Mountains with special emphasis on the birds of the Middle Atlantic States. Field study emphasized with trips to seashore, valley and mountain areas. Laboratory and field identification physiology, morphology and ecology of birds are emphasized.

MAR/BIO 226 - Marine Biology

A study of plant and animal life in the marine environment. Emphasis will be placed upon physical and chemical environmental factors affecting the biota in the intertidal, open water, and benthic habits. Common biota characteristics of each habitat will be investigated in terms of their natural history, morphology, and ecological relationships.
PREREQUISITES: Botany and Zoology or consent of the instructor.

Intro to
          Oceanography students on beach

MAR/GEL 237 - Field Methods in Oceanography

A course to familiarize students with the dynamic marine environment and field work on board small research vessels; to instruct in the use and application of standard oceanographic instruments and sampling devices: to promote and encourage independent research through the initial stages of a scientific project.
PREREQUISITES: MAR 110-111 or consent of the instructor.

MAR 250 - Wetland Ecology

The ecology and management of wetland wildlife, particularly of freshwater marshes and saltwater marshes. Special emphasis on ecosystem approach.

MAR/BIO 260 - Marine Invertebrates

A study of the invertebrate phyla with emphasis on development, reproduction, structure and function of selected marine organisms. Laboratory and field experience will be given in collection, preservation and classification of the phyla.
PREREQUISITES: One year biology or consent from instructor.

Marine Science
          field tripMAR/BIO 280 - Field Biology

An introduction to basic principles of ecology and natural history of selected plants and animals in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. Course is suitable for non-science majors.

MAR 298 - Selected Topics in Marine Science

A selection of individual topical courses developed to present information in a specific area of study. Course titles vary depending upon needs and interests to the students and expertise of the faculty. May be repeated for a total of six credit hours.

MAR 298A - Marine Microbiology

A survey of methods and concepts of marine microbiology. Attention will be given to technical aspects of sample collection, microbial ecology of the marine environment, enrichment culturing, methods of enumeration and identification with emphasis on marine bacteria.
PREREQUISITES: One year of Biology or consent of the instructor.

MAR 298C - Marine Invertebrates

A study of the life, history, habits, origin, development, physiology, anatomy and taxonomy of the main phyla of invertebrates. A phylogenetic sequence is followed to show interrelationships among the phyla. Special emphasis is given to the Atlantic marine invertebrates. Laboratory and field work deal with collection, preservation and identification of local species.
PREREQUISITES: One year of Biology or consent of the instructor.

MAR 298D - Marine Mollusks


PREREQUISITES: One year of Biology or consent of the instructor.

MAR 298E - Behavior of Marine Organisms

Distribution, behavior, physiology, and observation of the influences of external and internal factors on the regulation and control behavior of organisms living in the marine coastal environment.
PREREQUISITES: One year of Biology or consent of the instructor.

Marine Science
          field trip

MAR/BIO 320 - Physical Ecology of Animals

This course will provide an introduction to the physiology of animals utilizing a comparative and ecological approach. The course will cover the topics of respiration, circulation, metabolism, osmoregulation, thermoregulation, locomotion, and sensory systems in the context of comparing the mechanisms and strategies utilized by animals from different habitats and phylogenetic groups. Some emphasis will be placed on organisms occupying various marine habitats, but freshwater and terrestrial animals and habitats will also be included. Laboratory investigations will examine the physiological responses of both invertebrates and vertebrates to common environmental stresses such as salt load, temperature variation, oxygen supply, and pH change. These investigations may be accomplished through measurements and observations in the field, as well as through experimental manipulations in a laboratory setting.
PREREQUISITES: One semester of organic chemistry, and zoology, or consent of the instructor.

MAR/BIO 326 - Marine Ecology

A study of the ecology of marine organisms, the relationships of plants and animals to the physical, chemical and biological factors and their zonation and community structure. Analysis of current issues in marine ecology will also be addressed. Laboratories will include classroom investigations of population and community relationships and a MANDATORY weekend field trip to Wallops Island, VA.
PREREQUISITES: One year of college biology and MAR 110 recommended or consent of the instructor.

MAR 331 - Chemical Oceanography

This is the study of sea water, oceanic particulate matter and sediments in context of chemical cycles, especially cycles of carbon dioxide, nutrients, metals and radioisotopes. Correlations are made between chemical cycles having periods from years to thousands of years and biological and physical processes. Correlations are made between chemical cycles having longer periods and geochemical processes. Measurements of the concentrations of major ions, trace elements and nutrients in sea water are made by wet chemical and physical methods.
PREREQUISITES: MAR 110, CHM 100-101 and CHM 102-103 or consent of the instructor.

MAR/BIO 338 - Ecology of Marine Plankton

A study of the phytoplankton and zooplankton in marine and brackish environments. Qualitative and quantitative comparisons will be made between the planktonic population of various types of habitats in relation to primary and secondary productivity. This course will be offered summers at the Marine Science Consortium, Wallops Island, VA.
PREREQUISITES: One year of biology

Dr. Wendy Ryan photo of humpback
            whale

MAR/BIO 340 - Marine Mammals

The distribution, population size, physiology, evolution, adaptations and ecological relationships of marine mammals will be studied with an emphasis on mammals of the Atlantic Ocean. This course will stress hands on understanding of marine mammal physiology, behavior and species diversity. Laboratory and field work will include an extended off-campus field trip to facilities holding and/or studying marine mammals of the NE Atlantic Ocean. In addition, the laboratory portion of this course will emphasize data collection in the field, and subsequent analysis and presentation of the data through a required mini-research project.
PREREQUISITES: Five courses in biology, and at least Junior class standing prior to the start of the course or consent of the instructor.


(Humpback whale observed on Dr. Wendy Ryan's Marine Mammal field course last summer - click on the image to launch a short video.)

MAR 342 - Ichthyology

A study of the fishes. Specimens collected along our Eastern Seaboard by the student will be used to illustrate the anatomy, physiology and systematics of this major vertebrate group. Field collections will also give the student the opportunity to observe the relationships of these animals to their biotic and physical environment.
PREREQUISITES: General Biology and Zoology, or consent of the instructor.

MAR/BIO 344 - Marine Botany

A study of marine and marine fringe plants of the Middle Atlantic Coast, their taxonomy, ecology, distribution, life histories, physiology, and economic status. Techniques of collecting, preserving, identifying and herbarium cataloging will be stressed. Exercises in plant ecology, deep core pollen analysis and marine microbiology will be included.
PREREQUISITES: A course in general Biology and/or one semester of Botany or consent of the instructor.

MAR/GEL 346 - Sedimentology & Stratigraphy

The basic composition, transport, diagenesis and distribution of sediments are introduced along with the principles governing he classification, correlation, interpretation, of stratified rocks are presented by means of lectures, laboratory exercises and field trips. Laboratory exercises demonstrate procedures used in analyzing and presenting stratigraphic data. Field trips are employed to introduce the student to stratigraphic principles and local stratigraphic problems.
PREREQUISITES: GEL 100-101 and either GEL 102-103, GEL/MAR 366-367 or permission of instructor.

Marine Geology
          class in boat

MAR/BIO 348 - Biological Oceanography

The interdisciplinary study of the interactions between biological communities and the ocean environment as observed in the distribution of coastal plankton, fish and benthic invertebrates. Field studies of sample populations will be compared to quantitative environmental variables using state-of-the-art sampling equipment. Topics covered include: the effect of current transport on plankton at barrier island passes, the effect of submarine banks on fish populations, ground truth data for satellite imagery, the epibenthic population studies of near-shore and inter-tidal environments. This course will be offered summers at the Marine Science Consortium, Wallops Island, VA.
PREREQUISITES: One year of college biology. RECOMMENDED: Introduction to Oceanography.

MAR/BIO 352 - Coral Reef Ecology

A study of coral reef types and the relationship of reef organisms to their environment. Emphasis is given to species diversity/identification, symbiosis, and effects of abiotic factors, predation, and competition on the abundance and distribution of coral reef organisms. A segment of this course involves on-site study of the biology of tropical reefs/organisms and the accumulation of species population data usually at Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, but other reef locations may be used.
PREREQUISITES: 4 courses in biology designated for science majors and SCUBA certification required.

MAR/GEL 358 - General Geophysics

The study of earthquake seismology and the basic geophysical methods such as gravity, magnetics, seismic refraction, seismic reflection, electrical resistivity, and electro-logging. The laboratory exercises and field work using portable geophysical equipment will familiarize the students with the various methods used to collect and interpret geophysical data.
PREREQUISITES: GEL 100-101 or MAR/GEL 110-111, PHY 040-041, PHY 042-043 or PHY 100-101 PHY 102-103.

MAR/BIO 360 - Anatomy of Marine Chordates

A course designed to familiarize the students with the qualitative aspects of the speciation process; to lay the groundwork for understanding the basic and specialized structure of marine chordates: to trace the most obvious or important trends ( and their functional significance) in the evolution of this basic structure in various vertebrate lines. The laboratories will be devoted in large to a reasonably thorough dissection of representative marine vertebrates particularly those collected live on field trips.
PREREQUISITES: Six semester hours of biology including general zoology.

MAR 364 Physical Oceanography

This course is a study of the physical properties of the oceans which include; mass and energy budgets; the cause, nature, measurement, analysis and prediction of tides, currents and waves, and basic instrumentation used in field work.
PREREQUISITES: MAR 110-111, one year Physics, Algebra, and Trigonometry and one semester Calculus or consent of the instructor.

Marine Geology
          class in boat

MAR/GEL 366 - Marine Geology

A study of the structural and sedimentary environments of the continental shelf, slope, and ocean basin. The crustal structure of the earth and its relation to the sedimentary record and geological history of the oceans is examined. sampling and laboratory procedures used by the marine geologists are introduced to the students.
PREREQUISITES: GEL100 (Physical
Geology) or MAR110 (Intro to Oceanography) or permission of the instructor or consent of the instructor.

MAR 370 - Independent Research in Marine Science

This course is designed to allow a student to study individually in a specialized area under the direction of a faculty member. The research topic must be appropriate to the student's background and approved by the faculty member directing the student.
PREREQUISITES: Senior level with an emphasis in Marine Science having completed at least 20 credit hours in Marine Science Courses.

MAR 380 - Senior Seminar in Marine Science

Readings and discussions in the area of the individual student's interest in preparation for the comprehensive examination in Marine Science. Required of all liberal arts students majoring in Marine Science.

MAR 390 - Internship in Marine Science

Supervised, practical work experience in laboratory and/or field situations. Students interested in developing an individualized vocationally oriented program which may assist in future career options may structure a work-study experience with the cooperating agency or organization. A proposal outlining the work-study experience should be submitted to the student's supervising faculty member and the department chairperson. Clock hours will be determined by the cooperating agency based upon the proposal and scheduled clock hours, but a maximum of 4 credits may be applied toward Arts and Sciences electives. Additional credit cannot be applied to the 128 credit hour graduation requirements.
PREREQUISITES: Junior and Senior standing and approval of department head.



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modified by Kurt Friehauf - January 2012