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School of Ocean Science and Engineering

Summer Field Program — Course Offerings

Summer Session I:
May 31 - June 29


Barrier Island Ecology

Barrier EcologyThis field course will familiarize students with concepts of coastal ecology with emphasis on the diversity of plant and animal communities unique to the northern Gulf of Mexico barrier islands. Students will take field excursions to barrier islands during this course. Topics covered include marsh, submerged, and barrier island vegetation, aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, mammals, birds and reptiles, intertidal and shallow subtidal communities, and geologic processes of island dynamics. Prerequisites: background in biology, botany, or geology recommended. COA 448/448L: Barrier Island Ecology. Three credit hours (2/1). This course will run from May 31 - June 14. Students may enroll in this course and either Cetacean Behavior OR Environmental Photography in the same term for a total of 6 credit hours.


Cetacean Behavior 

Cetacean BehaviorStudents will learn tools and techniques used in the systematic observation and documentation of delphinid behavior in the wild. Course includes both classroom lecture and field studies focused primarily on dolphins of the Mississippi Sound. Prerequisites: none. COA 444: Cetacean Behavior. Three credit hours. This course will run from June 15 - June 29. Students may enroll in this course and either Barrier Island Ecology OR Coastal Restoration in the same term for a total of 6 credit hours.

Coastal Restoration 

Coastal RestorationThis course will provide an overview of coastal restoration along the Gulf Coast. Through lectures and field excursions to restoration sites in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, students will gain first-hand experience with different restoration techniques at both large and small scales and across a variety of habitats (e.g., marsh, oyster, mangrove, seagrass, dunes, springs). Students will also get an overview of how to identify needs, set goals, plan, design, implement, monitor, and evaluate restoration projects. Prerequisites: Two semesters of biology or permission of instructor. COA 490/590: Special Topics - Coastal Restoration. Three credit hours. This course will run from May 31 - June 14. Students may enroll in this course and either Cetacean Behavior OR Environmental Photography in the same term for a total of 6 credit hours.

Elasmobranch Biology (Shark Biology)

shark measuringThis specialized course will provide students with an overview of elasmobranch (sharks, skates, and rays) biology, ecology, and taxonomy. Lectures will cover such topics as evolution, anatomy and physiology, sensory systems, behavior, and ecology. Students will be introduced to the diversity of elasmobranchs and will learn how to identify species. Special emphasis will be given to the species common to the Gulf of Mexico. Laboratory work will consist of several inshore and offshore collecting trips as well as dissections. Prerequisites: Marine Biology and Marine Ichthyology or permission of instructor. COA 422/522, 422L/522L: Elasmobranch Biology, 6 credit hours (3/3)

  Syllabus
Graduate Syllabus


Environmental Photography

Environmental PhotographyThis course will develop an awareness of our environment, and convey this understanding through the medium of photographic image. Students will gain a fuller understanding of inter-relationships in the environment. This class includes studies of the structure and function of ecosystems (emphasizing aquatic environments), and examines selected environmental concerns through field trips. Prerequisites: basic awareness of environmental issues. COA 490/590: Special Topics – Environmental Photography. Three credit hours. This course will run from June 15 - June 29 Students may enroll in this course and either Barrier Island Ecology OR Coastal Restoration in the same term for a total of 6 credit hours.

Marine Science I - Oceanography

girl with fishThis course provides a multidisciplinary foundation in oceanography, specifically the terminology, principles, processes, relationships, and phenomena pertaining to three of its traditional sub-disciplines: physical, geological, and chemical oceanography. The importance of the interaction of biotic and abiotic processes in the ocean will be addressed through exploration of timely issues in ocean science. Prerequisites: College algebra, 8 hours of chemistry, and 8 hours of biology or permission of instructor. COA 300, 300L: Marine Science I – Oceanography, 5 credit hours (3/2). 

Syllabus


Research Study Program

Positions are available in both Session I and II

Research Study Program

Research Study Program allows upper-level undergraduate students an opportunity to gain valuable experience in designing a research project, sampling, analyzing data and presenting research findings. Research options encompass a broad spectrum of disciplines in coastal sciences that include Marine Aquaculture, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Biomedicine, Marine Ecology, Marine Education, Marine Fisheries, Marine Pathology and Marine Toxicology. This course could easily form the basis of a senior or honors project. Prerequisites: Four semesters of biology or permission of instructor. COA 492: Special Problems - Research. One to six hours credit is available and is assigned by the instructor.


Summer Session I Online:
June 30 - July 29


Marine Animal Behavior

Whale tailThis specialized course will provide an in-depth exploration of animal behavior in marine organisms, including the physiological and ecological aspects of behavior. The course will introduce students to techniques for observing animal behavior in the field and laboratory, designing and conducting behavioral experiments, and collecting and analyzing behavioral data. The course will consist of lectures, field trips, and laboratory projects designed to provide students with hands-on experience in marine animal behavior. Prerequisites: 2 semesters of biology or permission of instructor. COA 442/542, 442L/542L – Marine Animal Behavior, 5 credit hours (3/2)

Syllabus

Marine Mammals

dolphinsAn overview of the biology of marine mammals (cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians, sea otters, and the polar bear) including their classification, evolutionary history, anatomy, physiology, behavior, conservation and management. Prerequisites: 16 hours of biology or permission of instructor. COA 443/543, 443L/543L: Marine Mammals, 5 credit hours (3/2)

Syllabus


Summer Session II:


Early Life History of Marine Fishes

Early Life History of Marine FishesThis course will introduce students to the challenges "baby fish" experience as they try to survive from egg-to-juvenile stages. Lecture topics will include larval fish development and morphology, pelagic transport, ecology and related concepts. Lab and field exercises will highlight sampling methodologies, larval fish identification, and laboratory techniques. Prerequisites: Marine Biology and Ichthyology or permission of instructor. COA 490/590: Special Topics – Early Life History of Marine Fishes. Five credit hours.


Marine Sciences II - Marine Biology

student microscopeAn ecological approach is taken to understand the biology of marine systems with emphasis on local organisms; their habitats, life cycles and survival strategies. Prerequisites: 8 hours of biology or permission of instructor. COA 301, 301L: Marine Sciences II – Marine Biology, 5 credit hours (3/2)

Syllabus



Marine Ichthyology

countingMarine Ichthyology is an intensive marine biological field course which engages students to collect and identify marine fishes in numerous habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. Students experience a variety of land-based and vessel-based collection techniques such as seining, cast netting, hook and line fishing, trawling, trolling, dip netting, and many others. Students must work effectively alone and in teams and participate in field expeditions to complete the course objectives. Successful students gain an appreciation for taxonomic identities of fishes and the synergism between abiotic and biotic factors that drive marine fish distribution and faunal diversity in northern Gulf of Mexico. Prerequisites: 16 hours of biology or permission of instructor. COA 421/521, 421L/521L: Marine Ichthyology, 6 credit hours (3/3)

Syllabus


Marine Invertebrate Zoology

microscopeA concentrated study of the marine and estuarine invertebrates from the Mississippi Sound and contiguous continental shelf of the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. Emphasis is on structure, classification, phylogenic relationships, larval development and functional processes. Prerequisites: 16 hours of biology or permission of instructor. COA 428/528, 428L/528L: Marine Invertebrate Zoology, 6 credit hours (3/3)

Syllabus

 

Research Study Program

Positions are available in both Session I and II

research study programResearch Study Program allows upper-level undergraduate students an opportunity to gain valuable experience in designing a research project, sampling, analyzing data and presenting research findings. Research options encompass a broad spectrum of disciplines in coastal sciences that include Marine Aquaculture, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Biomedicine, Marine Ecology, Marine Education, Marine Fisheries, Marine Pathology and Marine Toxicology. This course could easily form the basis of a senior or honors project. Prerequisites: Four semesters of biology or permission of instructor. COA 492: Special Problems - Research. One to six hours credit is available and is assigned by the instructor.


Session II Online:


Marine Conservation

Marine ConservationThis course will introduce students to conservation biology and ecology with a focus on marine and coastal ecosystems. Topics may include biodiversity, marine ecosystem processes and threats, conservation of habitat and species, and human impacts, solutions, and policy. The course will consist of lectures, field trips, and laboratory exercises designed to provide students with hands-on experience in marine conservation biology. Prerequisites: 2 semesters of biology or permission of instructor. COA 450/550, 450L/550L: Marine Conservation, 5 credit hours (3/2)

Syllabus

 

Marine Toxicology

ToxicologyMarine toxicology is the study of how pollutants and toxins impact the marine environment. This includes everything from algae to whales. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of toxicology, including dose, exposure, and metabolism. Students will also engage in lectures and open discussions relating to major xenobiotics, current topics in marine toxicology (oil spills, harmful algal blooms, microplastics, etc.), molecular and analytical techniques, and experiential design.  Lab activities will focus on experiential design and basic data interpretation. Prerequisites: 2 semester of biology and 2 semesters of chemistry or permission of instructor. COA 490/590: Special Topics - Marine Toxicology, 5 credit hours.

 

Online courses will be 100% online and conducted through USM’s online learning platform, Canvas. Students are expected to have access to a computer and reliable internet connection and should expect a combination of synchronous and asynchronous content. 

 

Students may take a maximum of 6 credit hours of in-person coursework per term OR a maximum of 10 credit hours of online coursework per term. If taking in-person SFP courses, students are strongly discouraged from enrolling in online classes at another institution simultaneously.