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Global Field Studies: The North Atlantic

GFS Marine Natural History 2008 12 - 2008-09-03 at 13-53-53Marine Natural History of the North Atlantic

On the rocky, glacier-scoured coast of Maine and the Maritimes, the cold waters of the Labrador current lap up against the dissected shoreline, delivering rich nutrients and supporting hosts of seabirds, marine mammals, and countless invertebrates. The swell of the open ocean rises and falls, at times flooding the shoreline, at others revealing an astonishing intertidal world of algal beds, sea stars, urchins, and crustaceans.

This field-based course is an exploration of marine environments with emphasis on North Atlantic marine fauna. We begin with an introduction to oceanographic topics such as sea floor spreading, coastal geomorphology, wave dynamics, tides, and general marine ecology. We progress to a survey of marine invertebrate phyla, and culminate with a treatment of marine vertebrates with a focus on sea birds and marine mammals. This course combines lectures and discussions with intensive field activities such as sea kayaking, tide-pooling, and offshore excursions.

This course is entirely field-based and takes place on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada, where we set up our field station at the historic Swallowtail Lighthouse.  From here we engage in lectures discussions, and a rigorous schedule of field activities in a variety of coastal and offshore environments.

PREREQUISITE: NS107: Ecology; Introduction to the North, and Natural History of the North Woods recommended (or permission of Instructor).