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Life-History Strategies of Marine Organisms

Overview: This lab and field oriented class will first provide a foundation in evolutionary biology and population biology and then build on those principles in order to understand variation in, and the evolution of, life history traits.  Life history traits are those traits that are directly involved with the schedule of survivorship and reproduction.  Life History Theory examines the degree to which these traits are optimized to increase fitness given environmental conditions and historical constraints.  The course will entail both group and independent projects.

Research Skills: Students will develop research skills in experimental design and analysis, critical thinking as applied to scientific literature and oral and writing communication.

Practical Skills: Turning general observations into testable hypotheses requires hands-on experience about organisms, their environment and how to generate useful data.

Boat Use:  You will be given the opportunity to drive boats if you choose to do so. Boat driving provides a wider range of options for conducting independent projects.  Students not feeling comfortable driving boats may have the opportunity to work with boat driving peers. Students who wish to drive boats at BMSC must hold a PCOC and valid first aid certificate and will participate in an introductory boat check-out on the first day of orientation.

Prerequisite:  Introductory Statistics, Introductory Ecology, Introductory Evolution

Physical Requirements:  Although this course does not include any physical exertion or challenge beyond that expected in any of BMSC’s field courses, this course may include hiking without any amenities (~4 hours hiking round trip, no bathroom facilities), snorkeling involving swimming short distances in a wetsuit, and many trips to intertidal field sites involving getting on and off boats onto slippery rocks.

Required Text:  There is no required textbook; readings will be provided by the instructor.