Research in Marine Ecology – ONLINE – FULL

Overview: This hands-on virtual field course will focus on the ecology of marine ecosystems with a strong emphasis on local intertidal and subtidal habitats. In the first phase of the course (~ 1 week), students will study the fundamental ecological theories developed and applied in the marine environment.  During virtual field trips, paper discussions, workshops, and lectures, students will learn many of the essential tools of practicing marine ecologists (quadrat and transect sampling, biodiversity assessment, intertidal elevation measurement, local species identification, and relevant natural history). In the second phase of the course (~ 2 weeks),  students will apply their new skills and knowledge as team-members in an ongoing long-term historical study of kelp forest distributions in Barkley Sound. Students will work in small groups, with each group working on a specific sub-question related to the larger project analysing data collected by the teaching staff in this and past summers. This phase of the course will be an intensive experience working collaboratively in small groups, and will provide students with the life-changing experience of becoming “real” scientists as they dive into the messy and chaotic process of producing new knowledge about the world using observation and experimentation.

Research Skills: Independent projects in local habitats will allow students to apply their newly acquired ecological knowledge and to present their findings in a virtual poster session for other BMSC users and interested scientists. Paper discussions will reinforce critical and efficient reading and analysis of the peer-reviewed scientific literature while assignments will enable students to hone their skills in research study design, scientific data management, data analysis, and clear communication of quantitative information to diverse audiences. Students will also gain some hands-on training in GIS as well as in statistical analysis and graphing using R, a powerful, open-source statistical programming language now used by most practicing biologists.

Practical Skills: R programming and data analysis, independent assessment of scientific literature, experimental design and sampling techniques (transect and quadrat sampling, species diversity assessment), local species identification, independent project planning.

Prerequisites: Introductory Statistics, Introductory Ecology

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


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University of Victoria:
MRNE 401 A06
CRN #31836

This course can be used as one of the four courses for UVic’s Concentration in Marine Biology program.

University of Calgary:
MRSC 501.78
You will be registered by your department.

This course is accepted as a major option in Ecology and Biological Sciences programs (i.e. accepted in lieu of Ecol 413 or any other field course requirement.)

UBC, UBC-Okanagan:
MRNE 402
You will be registered by your department at UBC-Vancouver

MASC 472
You will be registered by your department

U of Alberta
MA SC 402 LAB 852, Class ID 34170
You will be registered by your department