Marine Immersion Syllabus


Marine/Estuarine/Freshwater Biology (MEFB) 410; 2 credits

August 10-17

Shoals Marine Laboratory, Appledore Island



Dr. Jessica Bolker, Associate Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, UNH

Dr. Jason Goldstein, Assistant Professor, York County Community College, Wells, Maine

Guest faculty:

            Dr. Jill Farrell, PREP

            Laurie Flaherty, Artist in Residence, SML

            Dr. Inga Sidor, Dept. of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences and New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, UNH

Guest students (via Skype):

            Kayla Pope (MImm 2010), Alexander Croteau, Stephanie Sykes (MImm 2012)

Description:  An intensive 2-credit course for incoming freshmen, surveying a range of marine-related fields (with an emphasis on biology and ecology), research approaches, and organisms.  The course will be based at the Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, where students – and some faculty - will be in residence.  “Marine Immersion” will introduce students to the breadth, excitement, and challenges of marine sciences through lectures, demonstrations, and field experiences offered by a cohort of UNH faculty, and through short research projects carried out on the island.  It will also introduce them to resources and opportunities available at UNH, provide an opportunity to get to know some of their professors, and let them begin building a network among their peers even before they arrive in Durham.

Goals for students:

• gain direct experience with multiple aspects of marine research through a collaborative field project

• learn how to read scientific research papers;

• strengthen written and oral communication skills;

• discover the breadth and diversity of marine science, and of its representation at UNH;

• increase motivation and ability to participate in research as an undergraduate;

• begin building relationships with faculty and peers that will contribute to academic success during (and beyond) freshman year.

Assignments and grading:

Field project (oral presentation (10) and final writeup (30))           40%

Individual drafts (introduction, methods, discussion)                      10%

Field notebook, including illustrations                                            20%

Participation/collaboration                                                             10%

Quizzes (4 at 5 pts each)                                                                20%

Field projects involve planning, performing, analyzing, and presenting results from a brief study of a particular aspect of field marine ecology.  Projects will be collaborative, with small teams of students working together. The grade on the project is the same for all group members.

Individual drafts: Each group member will prepare an individual, separate draft of the introduction, methods, and discussion sections of the final report. These will be graded separately (largely for effort), and the group can then draw on and combine them for the single final document.

The field notebook (individual grade) provides a venue for recording information, procedures, questions, ideas, and reflections, as well as careful hand-drawn illustrations relevant to your project.  There will also be occasional required items, announced during the class. It contains your personal, individual work (some of which will eventually become part of the team project).

Quizzes: There will be four short quizzes covering recent reading and lecture material. They will have a mix of question types (multiple choice, short-answer, matching, labeling diagrams, etc.).

The participation/collaboration portion of the grade reflects your contribution to your team’s success during the week, as well as your overall engagement with class activities.  This means being prompt (where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there) and on-task, as well as generous with your comments and helpful input during group activities and in your peer reviews of other people’s work in progress. This will be assessed in part via confidential group surveys where you will assess each team member’s contribution to your joint projects.

You are also expected to interact actively with guest faculty; record in your notebook whom you talked with, and what some of the topics were.

More details about the requirements, format, and grading of each component will be provided during the class.  Final grades are on a 100 point scale; there is no curve (we will be thrilled if everyone earns an A).  Late assignments lose 20% per day. There are no make-up or extra credit options.

Students and instructors are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity, including full acknowledgement of sources and assistance.  Plagiarism or other violations of academic principles will be handled according to UNH policy; see for details.

Helpful information about recognizing and avoiding plagiarism is available in many places.  We particularly recommend, and strongly encourage you to work through it (including the self-quiz) before or during the class.

The UNH Library provides resources on citation styles and on avoiding plagiarism at this site:

A note about technology: There are both philosophical and practical reasons to limit your time online during Marine Immersion. Most importantly, this week represents a unique opportunity for you to work intensively with a small, dedicated group of peers and instructors. Take advantage of it! Be present with us, not on facebook, instagram, snapchat, or elsewhere online. Per lab policy, we ask that you leave your phone in your dorm room unless you need it for a course-related activity. While the lab wireless network supports internet access, bandwidth is limited, so please refrain from downloading large files (e.g. movies), playing online games, or engaging in other activities that will make it even slower – or possibly crash it altogether. Non-academic internet use must occur outside the lab/classroom.


Marine Immersion nutshell schedule:

Details, updates, and corrections will be provided daily:

check the whiteboard in Kiggins early and often!

Due dates for assignments will be posted in the lab.


 (unless otherwise noted, breakfast 7:30; lunch 12:30; dinner 6pm; Sun. brunch 10 am, dinner 5:00 pm)

[1] MONDAY 8/10    tides: L  2:31 pm


• Arrive on Appledore: welcome, “fire & water”/safety rules

• Quiz 1 (on pre-assigned reading)

• Course intro/overview

• Fieldwork – intertidal habitats & organisms; sampling techniques


• Discussion of observations and specimens collected in field

• Introduce projects & announce teams


[2] TUESDAY 8/11   tides: L 3:28 pm


• Quiz 2

• Review syllabus & assignments

• Field notebook intro.

• Data organization and statistics

• Supratidal sampling exercise


• How to read a scientific paper

• Group meetings: plan for starting project

• fieldwork


Dr. Jill Farrell seminar

• grading discussion/develop project rubric

[3] WEDNESDAY 8/12        tides: L 4:20 pm


• Quiz 3

Dr. Jason Goldstein research talk

Laurie Flaherty: biological illustration workshop


• biomechanics and abiotic factors in the intertidal

• team meetings

• fieldwork


• intro to arts & crafts assignment

• review plans for Thurs.; sign up for team and individual meetings

[4] THURSDAY 8/13   tides: L 5:07 pm


• Quiz 4

• Individual draft of METHODS due (8:30 am)

• Fishing with David Goethel aboard F/V Ellen Diane (three trips; groups and times TBD)

• Group meetings with Jason re: methods

• Individual meetings with Jessica re: DRAFT INTRO. (due at meeting)

• more on statistics

• fieldwork    


• yet more on statistics

• additional meeting times

 [5] FRIDAY 8/14      tides: L 5:50 pm


• even more on statistics

• work time


• draft RESULTS due at group meetings

Alex Brickett: engineering sustainability at SML


Dr. Inga Sidor “So you want to be a dolphin doc?”

[6] SATURDAY 8/15            tides: L 6:29 pm


•  Seal necropsy with Dr. Inga Sidor


• Work time/office hours


• Project presentations

Turn in field notebooks

• Work time

 [7] SUNDAY 8/16                tides: L 7:07 pm


Final reports (including 1 printed copy) and all other work due (on team flash drive) due

• Dorm cleanup

11:00 brunch (treasure boxes set out)


• transition to college discussion

• Lab cleanup

• UNH course evaluations

• Intro fish printing


• Student alumni Q&A (via Skype)

Fish printing, cleanup

[8] MONDAY 8/17

luggage on dorm porches by 8; students at dock by 9:00

temember to pack your treasure box and fish prints!

DEP SML 9:15

ARR Portsmouth ~10:30


See you in Durham!