This course is intended to teach students both a basic understanding of the ecological processes that determine the structure and dynamics of populations and communities in coastal marine ecosystems, and how to conduct ecological research to reveal such processes. When students leave this course, they should know how to: (1) look for, identify and describe patterns in nature, (2) develop testable alternative hypotheses for the causes of observed patterns, and (3) design and carry out appropriate empirical tests of the predictions of hypotheses to explain observed patterns. The structure of the course reflects these goals. We will first discuss the process of doing science, then use classic papers in marine ecology as the framework for understanding the process of doing sound ecological research. Many of the papers presented in lecture are central or seminal papers for paradigms in marine ecology.
Discussions are based upon the idea that one way to learn to do good science is to evaluate the work of others. For this purpose, small groups of students are responsible for leading discussions of papers subsequent to, and that compliment, studies presented in lectures.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to commonly employed sampling designs and methods and the diversity of coastal environments of the Monterey Bay area. The course involves class projects and supervised individual research projects. Students will carry out a complete research project, including (1) the formation of hypotheses, (2) the design and implementation of experiments, (3) collection, analysis and interpretation of data, and (4) write up and oral presentation. Because participation in this course relies heavily on your personal research effort, strong personal motivation to conduct field or lab research will be mandatory for its successful completion.
Kelp Forest Ecology is an intensive 10-unit course that introduces students to kelp forest ecosystems, how science has contributed to our understanding of these ecosystems, and how to conduct ecological research underwater. The course integrates lectures and field labs to to provide students with the knowledge and skills to conduct independent ecological field research. Students apply the scientific method to explore biotic and abiotic processes that influence the distribution, abundance and interactions among kelp forest algae, invertebrates and fishes. Students conduct 2-3 class projects, including sampling, analysis and writing project reports in scientific format. The course culminates with a directed independent research project and a class presentation of that work.
BIOE159 Marine Ecology Field Quarter integrates 4 courses (from the following 6 classes: 159A, 159B, 159C,159D, 159E, 159F) into a quarter-long lecture-field course that is split between UCSC campus and a field station (past locations include the Gulf of California in Mexico, Moorea in French Polynesia, and South Africa). Current locations alternate between Corsica, France and Sitka, Alaska.
The course is offered every other year. Students are not allowed to concurrently enroll in any other courses. Students are required to take all the courses, totaling 20 credits, in what essentially would be an immersion study.
We mentor students who are interested in taking on independent research in ecology and evolution. This is an opportunity for students to try on research and explore the possibility of doing further independent work in our lab. Students coordinate with a graduate student or research associate to assist with research activities for one quarter.
Note that this course is by permission only and is not listed in the schedule of classes. Interested students should contact either Mark Carr, Pete Raimondi or one of their graduate students. Click here for more information.