Marine Natural History of the North Atlantic
Faculty: David Gilligan
Lab fee: $900-$1,100
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 almost entirely field-based and takes place on the Maine Coast. We begin with four days of intensive lecture and logistics at Sterling, and then move to a field camp on Mount Desert Island. From there we continue lectures and discussions and engage in a rigorous schedule of field activities in a variety of coastal and pelagic environments.
PREREQUISITE: NS107: Ecology; Introduction to the North, and Natural History of the North Woods recommended (or permission of Instructor).