Marine Biology (Section 1)

Discipline: Biology
Instructor: Abel
Credits: 3
Day: C
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 1 - Lisbon - Saturday, 21 June | Portugal
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course is an introduction to organisms living in saltwater ecosystems. Topics include in-depth studies of marine ecosystems and organisms, including physiology, behavior, and ecology. Emphases will be placed on marine environmental issues and the adaptive and evolutionary mechanisms of organisms that allow them to occupy marine habitats. Field labs include trips to local habitats, aquaria, seafood markets, and/or fishing fleets.

Field Work

Country: Portugal
Day: 1 - Lisbon - Saturday, 21 June

This field lab will encompass three activities: (1) Visit a local fish market, a window into the marine biology of any coastal area, where we will test our observation skills, interact with local fish mongers and fishers, and possibly purchase a shark to dissect (2) Visit a local gem: the historically significant Vasco da Gama Aquarium, a small but amazing aquarium with a very, very cool museum of marine specimens, which would be the highlight of the field lab except that we will next (3) Visit what I think is the world’s best aquarium, the Lisbon Oceanário, where we will marvel at the beauty and diversity of marine life, at the same time observing and reinforcing concepts learned in class (and eat lunch overlooking the Tagus River). Throughout the day our local host, Dr. Correia, will talk about the sharks and rays of Portugal, as well as shark conservation in Europe. Sitting in my favorite coffee shop in Pawleys Island, SC as I write this, I’m covered in goosebumps reliving this experience from previous voyages, and anticipating it on ours! Bonus: If time permits, we may eat supper near the ship with Dr. Correia, where you can learn about interning with his business, Flying Sharks.
Academic Objectives: At the local fish market, students will:  
  • Identify organisms in local fisheries, including major groups of fish and invertebrates
  • Describe the biodiversity and adaptations of local fish and invertebrate fauna on display, and compare  to those of fish markets in previous ports
  • Observe the gear and infer methods used by local fishers
  • Assess the importance of fisheries to local economy
  • Possibly dissect a shark/bony fish and learn basic shark anatomy
At the Vasco da Gama Aquarium and the Lisbon Oceanário, students will:
  • Identify major groups of mammals, birds, fish, invertebrates, and plants
  • Observe behavior of captive organisms
  • Describe the biodiversity and adaptations of representative faunas
  • Summarize basic methods of captive biology of marine organisms, including capture techniques and maintenance in captivity
  • Reinforce basics of community ecology, including species diversity and richness, predator prey interactions, etc.
  • Reinforce concepts of marine conservation in the region and the roles of marine reserves in preserving biodiversity
  • Reinforce concepts on the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems, as well as other human impacts
Throughout the day, students will:
  • Hear an international expert on shark conservation discuss global and national issues relevant to the topic, including overfishing, finning, and ocean acidification and other climate change impacts.
  • Discuss the ethics, art, and science of capturing and transporting marine life to large aquaria, as Dr. Correia does in his business, Flying Sharks.