Forming the interface between land and sea, the coastal zone is characterized by steep gradients, abundant life, and extreme temporal and spatial heterogeneity. The coastal zone includes the most productive and diverse ocean ecosystems, and these areas also experience significant anthropogenic impacts. More than 50% of the human population lives within 200km of the coast due to its prolific fishing grounds, important mineral resources, and shipping activities.
Students in Coastal Ecology will explore the function and value of coastal ecosystems including estuaries, beaches, rocky shores, mud flats, marshes, dunes, bluffs, coastal grasslands, kelp beds, seagrass beds, and woodlands. In this interdisciplinary course, we will investigate the general ecological principles that govern the productivity and diversity of coastal ecosystems, including their hydrodynamics, sedimentology, chemistry, and plant and animal community structure.
We will also discuss anthropogenic influences on various coastal ecosystems, including pollution, human developments, and climate change as well as possible solutions to these problems. The course includes a number of field trips with demonstrations of some characteristics of temperate estuaries and coasts.
Prerequisites: BI 202/204 Ecology Lecture and Lab; CH 152/154 General Chemistry II Lecture and Lab, MA 140 Precalculus.