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Marine Studies Courses


Introduction to Marine Mammals

This course explores the biology and natural history of marine mammals in the North Atlantic, including whales, dolphins and seals. Topics include evolution, anatomy, behavior, field identification, the history of whaling and contemporary whaling issues. Demonstration laboratory work will focus on a small marine mammal. One Saturday field trip on Massachusetts Bay is required. Prerequisites: general biology. Offered Fall Semester, anuually.

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Coastal Zone Management

This course presents a survey of the coastal environment, its physical characteristics, natural systems, economic uses and development pressures. Lectures examine strategies formulated in the US for land and water resource management in the coastal zone. The roles of federal, state and local government, environmental groups and resource users are also explored. Finally, by comparing coastal zone management problems in the US to those elsewhere in the world, students gain a global perspective. No prerequisites. Offered Spring Semester, annually.

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Marine Biology

This lecture/lab course surveys the basic biology, behavior and the life history of marine biota, and reviews the physical aspects of various marine habitats from polar to tropical latitudes. The course focuses on the evolution of adaptive responses to the oceanic environment and the roles of the physical environment and species interactions in structuring marine communities. Laboratory activities include field trips to different marine habitats and examination of specimens from several marine phyla. Prerequisites: 1 year of general biology and 1 year of chemistry. Offered Fall Semester, annually.

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Water Resources
Planning & Management

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the economics and ecology of water supply and water pollution control. Topics include watershed management, groundwater and wetlands protection, wastewater treatment and coastal zone management. The inherent difficulty in applying static laws and regulations to a dynamic natural resource such as water is a recurring theme in the course. Strongly recommended for students interested in environmental management. No prerequisites. Offered Fall Semester, annually.

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Biology of Fishes

Biology of Fishes is designed for upper-level undergraduates well versed in biological and chemical principles. The 300-level course builds on the student's knowledge of vertebrate biology in order to explore and appreciate the differences and diversity among fishes. The course combines traditional ichthyology such as systematics, taxonomy, anatomy, and distribution with fish ecology including species interactions, adaptations, behavior, and conservation. It emphasizes the phylogenetic relationships among fishes and the use of systematics as an organizational tool.

The course is taught at the New Engand Aquarium, providing students with the unique opportunity to study living organisms. Prerequisites: 1 year general biology and two upper level biology courses. Offered Spring Semester, annually.

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Biology of Whales
(formerly Cetacean Biology)

This course provides a comprehensive review of the biology and conservation of cetaceans. A thorough grounding in cetacean mammalogy and population biology will prepare students to understand conservation problems presented as case histories by leading researchers in the field. Prerequisites: 1 year general biology and two upper level biology courses.

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Maritime History

This course is an introduction to New England?s maritime history, with secondary emphasis on its relationship to the coastal ecosystem. The course moves chronologically from the earliest fishing and shipbuilding settlements in the 17th century to the establishment of dominant maritime industries in the 19th century. We will follow the capital generated by maritime industries as some of it moved ashore to finance the industrial revolution and the opening of the West, and follow a diminishing maritime culture through the Second World War. As we proceed, we also discuss the evolving relationship between our maritime economy and culture and the coastal environment. No pre-requisites. Offerred annually, Spring Semesters.

Field trips explore the rich resources of regional institutions such as the Peabody museum, Salem, MA; the USS Constitution, Boston, MA; and Mystic Seaport, CT.

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Wetlands: Ecology, Hydrology, Restoration

This course examines the vital role of wetlands in the hydrology and ecology of global landscapes. The function of inland and coastal marshes, swamps and bogs and their role in water and nutrient cycles will be examined. We will also survey the biodiverity of wetlands habitats, from microbes to vertebrates. The biological links between wetlands and human activities, such as agriculture, coastal development, and fisheries will be considered, as well as the legal framework for the protection and restoration of endangered wetlands. Prerequisites: One year of an introductory science (geology or chemistry or biology or physics or engineering or economics); and two semesters of upper level (elective) science courses. Offered Fall Semesters, annually.

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