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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Emily Carrington
BIOL 423
Seattle Campus

Marine Ecological Processes

Studies the ecology of the oceans and coastal regions, emphasizing benthic communities common to the Pacific Northwest. Prerequisite: either BIOL 180, B BIO 180, or TESC 120; recommended: either BIOL 250 or BIOL 356.

Class description

This course explores how the interaction of marine organisms with their local environment influences their distribution and abundance. We will explore physiological adaptations of species to a variety of marine habitats (rocky shores, salt marsh, coral reefs) and how such adaptations develop. To place our study in the context of the large scale climate change to which the oceans are subjected, we will consider the limits of tolerance to the ability of marine organisms to cope with variations in the environment. The emphasis will be on the physiological ecology of benthic organisms that structure coastal communities (bivalves, corals, sea grasses, macroalgae, etc.); marine vertebrates will not be a focus of this course and will only be considered occasionally. Learning Goals & Skills. At the end of this course you should be able to: 1) understand the concept of physiological tolerance and stress. 2) recognize the multiple environmental factors that stress coastal marine organisms. 3) appreciate the need to monitor change in the marine environment using biologically relevant parameters 4) recognize the relative effectiveness of lethal vs sublethal physiological assays with regard to their use in laboratory and the field. 4) understand the variation in time-scales of physiological responses of marine organisms. 5) identify the strengths and weaknesses of using ecological (population-based), behavioral, and physiological (individual-based) measures of change. 6) provide a critical review of a current marine physiological ecology-based subject. This course will develop the following skills: 1) an in depth understanding of the physiological ecology of coastal marine organisms, 2) ability to critically evaluate primary literature, 3) improved communication and presentation skills, and 4) use of library information services.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

No labs. Lecture will be traditional format for the first few weeks. Emphasis will be on student presentations of research papers later in the semester.

Recommended preparation

This is an upper level biology course; it is assumed that all students have a solid background in Introductory Biology (Biol. 180 and 220) and Introductory Ecology (BIO 356).

Class assignments and grading

Midterm exam, oral presentations, final term paper.

Performance on assignments listed above


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Emily Carrington
Date: 11/29/2006