Marine Biodiversity

Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 50
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

ecology, vertebrate biology
marine science, zoology, ecophysiology

This program focuses on learning the identity and evolutionary relationships of marine organisms and marine conservation biology. Marine environments support an extremely diverse group of autotrophic and heterotrophic organisms, which together comprise an important fraction of Earth’s biodiversity. In Winter quarter we will focus on invertebrate biology, marine botany, conservation biology, and marine paleontology.  In Spring quarter, we will continue to study marine conservation and paleontology and add the biology and behavior of marine vertebrates, including fishes, birds, and mammals.

Winter quarter will be completely remote. We will use online resources like video transects and virtual dives on the Great Barrier Reef and some at-home lab exercises to familiarize students with marine habitats and organisms. Students will attend Zoom lectures, workshops, and seminars and weekly, short presentations by students will offer opportunities to focus on the conservation biology or paleontology of particular species or ecological communities. In Spring, pending approval of in-person labs, students will learn fundamental laboratory and field techniques including the use of available microscopy facilities (light and scanning electron microscopes). Remote-only students will use a variety of online and other electronic resources including aquarium webcams, photo-quadrats, and the above-mentioned virtual dives on the Great Barrier Reef to look at vertebrate behavior and marine ecology. Workshops on the statistical analysis of biodiversity will provide a quantitative aspect to our work throughout both quarters.  Students will be expected to design and carry out a final project in Spring quarter that ties into program themes and makes use of the skills and concepts learned in class and that incorporates a significant quantitative element.

To successfully complete this program students need access to a computer and reliable internet. Students should expect to spend 8-10 hours per week in synchronous meetings using Zoom, Canvas, and shared document platforms such as Google Docs.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

marine science, conservation biology, environmental science, and other life sciences


Credits per quarter


Two quarters (8 credits) of college-level general biology with labs, and one quarter (4 credits) of college-level general chemistry with lab. 

Online learning:
  • Winter Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
  • Spring: Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers 50 - 74% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$50 fee in winter for a lab kit and $100 fee in spring for a field kit. Kits will be mailed to students. 

Upper division science credit:

32 upper division science credits are available to students who meet all program expectations including good attendance and participation in class activities, submitting work on time, and meeting all the objectives of the class assignments

Class Standing: Junior–Senior
Class Size: 50

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Monday, January 4, 2021 - 9:00 am

Located in: Olympia

2020-11-09This program is now closed to new students in spring quarter
2020-11-03Student fees revised for winter and spring