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Marine Terrestrial Interactions

Instructors: Dr. Paul Spence, Lindsay Davidson

Overview: Marine Terrestrial Interactions will explore the biological and physical processes that link marine and terrestrial communities of coastal B.C. Experiential based learning will be a key focus with students spending the majority of their time conducting field research.

Overall, the course will be structured in four main sections. The first will introduce broad topics in landscape, community, and food web ecology, with specific sections on salmon streams, coastal marine environments, and salmon hatchery/resource management (Davidson). In the second section, students will conduct a series of field experiments on the physical (abiotic) atmosphere, ocean and land processes that shape coastal communities such as wind, waves, and currents, and will include the first of two overnight camping trips (Spence). The third section will explore the processes that structure biodiversity of intertidal zones and will feature a field trip to the Deer islands (Davidson and Spence). The final section will involve the analysis, write-up and presentation of the final student projects, with the data collected via a multi-day overnight camping trips to the Carmanah Valley and the Deer Group Islands.

Research Skills: As part of the MTI course, students will gain a greater understanding of how to conduct a field research project from literature review, design, data collection, statistical analysis, writing, and final presentation.

Practical Skills: We aim to provide upper level undergraduate students with broad skills that will enable them to enter into Masters programs in coastal sciences. This includes how to conduct field research in a civilized manner.

Boat Use: You will be given the opportunity to drive boats if you choose to do so. Boat driving is strongly recommended but not required for Marine Terrestrial Interactions. 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.

Prerequisites: Preference will be given to third or fourth year students in Biology, Geography, Environmental Studies, and Earth and Ocean Sciences. Introductory statistics is recommended but not required.

Physical Requirements: This course exposes students to the rugged west coast environment. This includes a series of day hikes, boating trips, and overnight camping trips and thus the students must be prepared and excited to participate. This may include hiking through dense forests, snorkeling the intertidal zones, and portaging canoes. BMSC safety rules, training, and guidance from the instructors and the teaching assistant will minimize the challenges and any risks. Students can also contribute by invoking common sense and bringing appropriate footwear and outdoor clothes.

Textbook: There is no textbook – readings to be assigned by the instructors.