THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE CATALOG
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6.13 MARINE SCIENCE PROGRAM (MS)

Coordinator: Professor Julie Olson, Office: 3323 Science and Engineering Complex

 

The graduate Marine Science Program (MSP) is a dual-campus program of the Department of Biological Sciences at The University of Alabama and University programs at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), a facility of the Alabama Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium (MESC). Both sites provide unique facilities to support education and research in the field of marine science. The main campus facilities include a marine algae and marine invertebrate collection. At DISL, there is a diversely trained resident faculty available year-round to teach graduate-level courses that are part of the MSP curriculum, to serve as thesis advisors, to provide support space, and to employ resident students in funded extramural research projects. The library at DISL specializes in publications that focus on the marine environment.

 

In addition, DISL provides support for University programs by way of a research facility containing offices, laboratories, and support facilities for the resident graduate faculty; three lecture-room/teaching-laboratory buildings; and two dormitories, an efficiency apartment building, and a dining hall. Access to the bay and Gulf waters is available via scheduled use of the 65-foot steel-hull R/V A. E. Verrill and by a variety of outboard-motor-powered craft that can be towed to different sites for launching.

 

Courses offered at DISL carry the same credit toward graduate degrees as those taught on The University of Alabama campus by the Department of Biological Sciences.

 

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the Marine Science Program must satisfy the general admission requirements of the Graduate School, found in the Admission Criteria section of this catalog. For further specific information, please contact Dr. Julie Olson, Coordinator of Graduate Studies, the University of Alabama Marine Science Program, 120B Biology Building, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487, Box 870344; telephone (205) 348-2633 OR 101 Bienville Boulevard, Dauphin Island, AL 36528 ; telephone (334) 861-7528; fax (334) 861-7540 ; e-mail jolson@biology.as.ua.edu.

 

 

Degree Requirements

 

Each candidate will be guided by a graduate committee consisting of at least three members appointed by the dean of the Graduate School. Usually, one member of the committee will be a qualified member of the faculty in residence on the Tuscaloosa campus.

 

Each student must complete a minimum of 8 hours of graduate credit on the Tuscaloosa campus. Normally, this occurs during the student's first calendar year in the Graduate School. No foreign language is required.

 

Each student will undergo a preliminary examination prepared by the student's graduate committee and designed to be answered in about four hours a day over three consecutive days. The examination will be administered by the committee chairperson no later than the third semester of enrollment. Prior to the examination, it is expected that the student will discuss preparation and subject matter with committee members. Each student will participate in an interdisciplinary effort (e.g., cruise or field exercise) at some time during residence at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

 

Each student, upon completion of the coursework and thesis, will present a faculty- and peer-review seminar on the thesis content. Additionally, the graduate committee will administer a final oral examination. The master of science in marine science degree requires at least 24 hours of graduate credit. Both Plan I and Plan II are acceptable. Additional information is in the Degree Requirements section of this catalog.

 

Financial Support

The Marine Science Program cannot commit funds to prospective students. However, there are sources of fundsóboth within the University and at DISL. On campus, qualified students may compete for available departmental graduate teaching assistantships, when funds are available. Consideration is based on a combination of composite GRE scores and most recent degree GPA. Additional consideration may be given to students possessing special skills. At DISL, resident students may be supported by DISL fellowships or assistantships, faculty research grants or contracts, or extramural funding.

 

 

Courses in Marine Science (MS)

Most marine science courses are offered year-round at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. The following courses are also available at the 400 level; students enrolling at the 500 level must complete additional work and may be required to participate in or conduct a research project, to be presented both orally and visually and accompanied by a written professional report.

 

MS 511, MS 519, MS 521, MS 533, MS 548, MS 552MS 553, MS 597

 

 

Course Descriptions
Students may not receive credit at both the graduate and undergraduate levels for courses having the same name and number.

MS 501 Phytoplankton Ecology and Physiology. Three hours.
Prerequisites: General biology and marine ecology.
Phytoplankton ecology, with emphasis on physiological adaptations promoting growth and distribution.

MS 505 Marine Biogeochemical Cycles. Three hours.
Prerequisite: Oceanography, marine biology, or marine ecology.
Marine elemental cycles, with emphasis on biological and geochemical processes that regulate them.

MS 506 Marine Biology for Teachers. Six hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in the College of Education and permission of the instructor. Not open to graduate students in biology or to any student who has taken MS 306.
A survey of marine organisms and communities and physical and chemical factors that influence their lives. Also covered are materials and methods of marine science instruction.

MS 511 Marsh Ecology. Four hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
A study of the floral and faunal elements of various marine marsh communities. Interaction of physical and biological factors is emphasized. The course is structured to provide actual field experience in addition to lecture material. Trips are scheduled to acquaint students with regional examples of marsh types.

MS 519 Marine Ecology. Four hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
Bioenergetics, community structure, population dynamics, predation, competition, and speciation in marine ecosystems.

MS 521 Coastal Ornithology. Four hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
Study of coastal and pelagic birds, with emphasis on ecology, taxonomy, and distribution.

MS 522 Field Marine Science. Two hours.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing. A field research and habitat-exploration course.
 

MS 533 Coastal Zone Management. Two hours.
Review of ecological features and a set of physical management policies for coastal communities, and a description of relevant federal and state programs.

MS 538 Marine Zoogeography. Four hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
A study of physical, chemical, and biological factors influencing the distribution of marine organisms. Emphasis is on the western North Atlantic ocean.

MS 541 Benthic Community Structure. Three hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
A comprehensive examination of benthic faunal populations with respect to major taxa, community composition, diversity, and limiting environmental factors; emphasis is on local habitats.

MS 543 Plankton. Four hours.
For graduates and advanced undergraduates. A study of physical, chemical, and biological factors influencing the distribution of marine organisms. Emphasis is placed on the western North Atlantic ocean.

MS 548 Introduction to Oceanography. Four hours.
Prerequisites: General physics, general biology, MATH 125, and permission of the instructor.
A general introduction to the oceans, with emphasis on chemical, physical, and geological processes and the relationship of these processes to biological systems.


MS 552 Marine Vertebrate Zoology. Four hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
Systematics, zoogeography, and ecology of marine fishes, reptiles, and mammals.

 

MS 553 Marine Botany. Four hours.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
Reproduction, taxonomy, systematics, distribution, and ecology of the major plant groups in the marine environment.

 
MS 584 Marine Science Seminar. One hour.

MS 594 Oceanology of the Gulf of Mexico. Two hours.
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in a science and permission of the instructor.
Detailed descriptive study of the oceanology of the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent waters. The areas of study will include the coastal zone, continental shelf, and deep gulf.

MS 597 Special Topics in Marine Science. One to four hours.

Offered according to demand. May deal with any marine science topic not covered by existing courses. The credit hours and format are arranged as appropriate to each topic. The specific course title is added at the time each course is taught.
 


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