Field Studies in Marine Biology
Class/Trip Information

Dates May 12th - 22nd
3100  495 - 503   Special Topics in Biology

Instructors: Dr. Stephen Weeks and Dr Francisco (Paco) Moore

Location: The Cheasapeake Bay


OR CALL 330 972-7156

The purpose of the course is Four Fold:
1) To expose students to marine systems
2) To teach basic concepts and facts in marine biology
3) Train students how to observe natural phenomenon in a useful manner
4) Help students develop testable hypotheses from their observations

The Course will be taught on site in the Chesapeake Bay region outlined on the map. From the D.C. area to Virginia Beach. Specifically, we will be staying at the VIMS Eastern Shore Laboratory located in Wachapreague, Virginia and at False Cape State Park at the very southern tip of Virgina.

NO Scuba or Snorkeling is Required
Swimming Opportunities Will Abound

What Will We See?

Riparian fed Estuaries
Salt marsh Estuaries
Barrier Islands and Spits

Coastal Dunes
High energy (open) Surf Zones
Protected Surf Zones

Many Invertebrate Species
Many Vertebrate Species

Many Algal and Plant Species

How Much Will The Trip Cost

We anticipate that $650 from each student will cover: transportation, housing, daily meals and Boat/Excursion/Entrance fee costs.

Most students like to have a little extra spending money for an occassional trip to a resturant, snacks, fogotten sunscreen, tee shirts etc.

The course is 4 credits. Tuition is not included in the $650 course cost calculation.

Is a deposit required?
Yes about a week after our organizational meeting we will begin collecting deposits to reserve one of the 12-15 spots. The deposit will be $50. The remaining $600 will be collected at two other dates during the spring semester.

What will I need to bring?

We will meet several times before the actual trip to discuss this, but the intent is to not place a burden on you to buy much new gear.

You will need:

 Field cloths/shoes (cloths that you don't mind getting dirty)

Sun and Bug repellent (Bugs are a usually not bad but the sunburns are common for the foolhardy).


a water bottle

A bound notebook and pencils

How will we get there?
We will be driving in university-provided vans.

Where will
we be staying?
The first half of the trip we will stay in a large hunting lodge that has been converted into a field station at False Cape State Park. That park is not accessable by car and we will be ferried in by the State Park personel. The lodgings are fantastic and we will largely be free from interferance from the public. The second half of the trip we will stay at the housing facilities at VIMS in Wachapreague. This is a world-class marine field station, and we will have full access to their faclities and boats.

What about food?
The class will decide, as a group, about food for the trip!

When possible we will be making our own meals to save money.
At other times we will eat at inexpensive restaurants or will be eating sandwiches, fruit etc.

What will we get graded on?

We will grade you partly on class participation. The class is fun, but it is on the go and in the field. If you consistently are engaged in our explorations of the beautiful marine and estuarine systems, you will do well.

We will also grade you based on a notebook/journal that you will keep. You should be continuously updating the notebook with your observations (with specifics). As you learn new species, or notice that species are distributed differentially across environments y
ou should record those observations in your notebooks. We are particularly interested in you keeping track of the species you encounter during the trip, and then looking up further information in your field books about these species. In addition, you should note in your journal your reflections on possible experiments you could do and how you would perform them if you could return to VA at a later date.  We will grade these notebooks with an eye toward how you are developing your observational ability, how you've documented and further discussed the species you encounter each day, and if you are developing testable research hypotheses.

We will have two field quizzes on the organisms we encountered during our trip: one near the end of each leg of the trip. We expect you to be able to identify the species we saw in the field and then know a bit more about each from looking up information on them.

Finally, after you return from the trip you will need to submit a ~3 page research proposal for work to be done either at VIMS or False Cape. You will use the notes you developed in your notebook/journal to design a hypothetical research project that you would conduct if you were to return to your choice of one or the other field lab.