Biological Oceanography

Biological Oceanography (FES734b, EEB275, EEB575, EVST400)

This course explores a range of coastal and pelagic ecosystems and how these environments function as coupled physical/biological systems. Solar energy drives the structuring of the oceans in the vertical dimension, and the formation of both deep and surface currents. These currents are the means by which heat and material are redistributed, and are the determinants of where nutrients are available for support of primary production. The currents and other physical processes also determine the distribution and abundance of organisms from phytoplankton to fish, birds and whales. Anthropogenic impacts on oceans will also be explored, such as the effects of fishing and climate change. This natural science course will provide a foundation for those interested in the ecology of marine systems and in the management of coastal zones. (3 hours lecture, field trips)

Caribbean Coastal Development

Caribbean Coastal Development (FES 729b)

This three-credit, field-intensive seminar explores human-ecosystem interactions at the land-sea interface in the tropics, with St. Thomas, USVI, as the study site. Many tropical islands are undergoing rapid, uncontrolled development, placing severe local stress on several unique and vulnerable ecosystems types. In addition, human induced environmental changes on scales up to global also impose stresses. This course examines the normal functioning of these ecosystems, scientific methods to evaluate and characterize ecosystem condition and processes, how human activities interfere with natural cycles in biophysical systems, and what management and policy tools can be applied to reduce impacts. (Taught with G. Benoit, 3 hours lecture/seminar/spring break field trip)

Coastal Environments in a Changing World

Coastal Environments in a Changing World (EVST 244)

Coastal areas provide a variety of ecosystem services, such as food, storm protection, nutrient recycling, energy and recreation. However, coastal ecosystems are severely stressed as a result of development, increased resource use, pollution, extreme natural events, climate change and the spread of invasive species. The main goal of this course is to examine human and natural impacts on coastal marine ecosystems. Parallel objectives are to foster an understanding of the methods coastal scientists use to address environmental issues. We will also examine the challenges associated with managing and conserving coastal environments. (3 hours lectures/labs/field trips)