ST:3100:495 Marine Ecology of Maine

Summer 2 - August 8-17, 2014

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

Location: Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park, Maine

The purpose of the course is four fold:

1) To expose students to marine systems nearshore terrestrial communities
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

We will be studying rocky intertidal communities, near-shore marine habitats, open water ecosystems & the terrestrial communities of the Acadia National Park. We will have one day for whale watching and be making several hikes in the national park. Students will learn field sampling techniques, surveying the local flora and fauna, and learning about the various ecosystems through lectures & field excursions. We will also have a day trip for whale watching!

Where: Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory


We will be staying at the Mount Desert Island Biological Lab (MDIBL) near Bar Harbor, Maine. The lab has dorm facilities, on-site meal plans, indoor and outdoor teaching space, lab space, and partners with another nearby facility for research vessels. Thus, they have everything we will need for our educational needs!


How Much Will The Trip Cost?

We anticipate that $680 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 $680 course cost calculation.

Is a deposit required?

Yes, early in Spring semester we will begin collecting deposits to reserve one of the 16 spots. The deposit will be $50 with a series of payment dates spread throught spring semester to collect the remainder of the $630.

What will I need to bring?

We will meet three times before the actual trip to discuss this (and other issues), 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.

What will we get graded on?

We will grade you partly on class participation. The class is fun, but it is on the go in the field. If you consistently are engaged in studying the beautiful marine and terrestrial 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 you should record that. In addition your reflections on possible experiments you could do and how you would perform them should go in the journal.  We will grade these notebooks with an eye toward how you are devloping your observational ability and if you are developing testable hypothesis.

Finally, after you return from the trip you will need to submit a ~10 page research proposal for work to be done at MDIBL. 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 the marine lab.

Pictures from 2012 trip

Beach-combing in New Hampshire!

Whale watching boat trip.

Dramatic coastline of Mount Desert Island

Students working hard in the lab!

Beautiful Acadia National Park

Hiking in Acadia

Finally - the summit!

Fun with Diver Ed.

Exploring the tide pools in Acadia

A lovely Acadia beach.

Learning about lobster fishing with the "Lobsterman".

Final dinner of the trip is a LOBSTER BOIL!