This is a general course in the biology of marine ecosystems. The course will introduce students to the principles of marine life and processes with an emphasis on evolution and ecology of these systems. It will cover basic concepts of oceanography, and a discussion of marine communities including estuaries, intertidal, subtidal, pelagic, deep sea, black smokers, and coral reefs. It also will feature a discussion and classification of marine organisms and their habitats.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Depart the quayside for the quaint coastal town of Hermanus, long a popular vacation spot for Capetonians. Due to the high cliffs and deep waters, Hermanus has earned the reputation of having the world's best land-based viewing sites for whale watching. Drive via magnificent coastal scenery to the small town of Betty's Bay and visit the Stony Point penguin colonies, one of the only three land-based colonies in South Africa. The area also has the distinction of being South Africa's only biosphere and is home to 1 600 different plant species, making it one of the worlds` richest sites of plant diversity. Continuing the drive through Kleinmond towards Hermanus where we will spend some time to catch a Southern Right whale breaching. Due to the high cliffs and deep waters, Hermanus has earned the reputation of having the world's best land-based viewing sites for whale watching in winter & spring when the Southern Right whales return to the bay to mate and calve. The most common whale seen in Hermanus is the Southern Right Whale, so called because it was considered by whalers the 'right' whale to hunt due to the fact that it floated when killed. There are estimated to be about 3 000 - 4 000 southern right whales at present, with South Africa receiving the major percentage visiting its coasts annually. At least 37 species of whales and dolphins can be found in the waters off South Africa. On our return back to the quayside, we will pass Overberg and drive to Cape Town via Sir Lowry's Pass. On a clear day the view from the summit embraces the whole of False Bay, from Table Mountain to the tip of the Cape of Good Hope.