Note: There are waiting lists for courses marked as 'Full'.
Block I: April 30 - June 8
Marine Invertebrate Zoology (6 weeks; April 30 - June 8) Full
Instructors: Dr. Marjorie Wonham (Quest U) Dr. Tara Macdonald (Institute of Ocean Sciences) 2010 course profile
Marine invertebrates represent almost every phylum on earth, and Barkley Sound contains a fantastic diversity of them. In this course, students investigate the zoology – the functional morphology, behaviour, ecology, and phylogenetic relationships – of living marine invertebrates. We take field trips to explore a variety of habitats and organisms, including exposed rocky shores, mudflats, eelgrass beds, and beaches. Field work is complemented by lab work, lectures, primary literature readings, and discussion.
This course focuses on honing rigorous research skills including: observing organisms, formulating questions and hypotheses, performing surveys and designing experiments.
Prerequisite: Third or fourth year standing in biological sciences. Invertebrate zoology recommended but not required. Required Text: Any upper-level invertebrate zoology textbook. Recommended: The most recent editions of Invertebrate Zoology: A Functional Evolutionary Approach (Ruppert, Fox & Barnes, 7th ed., 2003) or Invertebrates (Brusca & Brusca, 2nd ed, 2003).
Physical Requirements: This course does not include any physical exertion or challenge beyond that expected in any of BMSC’s field courses. This course includes an overnight hiking trip (~3 hours round trip) and lots of trips to slippery, seaweed-laden field sites.
Biological Oceanography (3 weeks; April 30 – May 18)
Instructor: Dr. Ed Buskey (U of Texas)
Introduction to the organisms of the open sea and coastal zone, their adaptations to the environment, and the factors that control their productivity, distribution and abundance. Emphasis will be placed on the interdisciplinary nature of biological oceanography by exploring the effects of physical and chemical oceanographic processes on the productivity of the sea over time and space, and the effects of human activities on pelagic marine life. The course incorporates lectures with class discussions and will emphasize laboratory and field work with organisms found in the coastal waters of British Columbia. Independent projects will provide further opportunity for students to explore aspects of the biological oceanography of Barkley Sound. Prerequisite: Introductory biology and ecology, or consent of the instructor. Required Text:Biological Oceanography by Charles Miller, 2004, Blackwell Publishing. BMSC will have 2 copies for sale in our science stores.
Research skills: Collection of marine life from research vessels using nets, dredges and trawls; use of electronic sensors to monitor and record basic hydrographic parameters (temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll); laboratory methods for measuring nutrient, oxygen, chlorophyll and fecal coliform concentrations in local waters; identification of microscopic planktonic organisms, methods for measuring productivity, grazing and reproduction in planktonic organisms, and how to carry out an independent research project. Note: Preference will be given to students wishing to take both Biological Oceanography and Limnology. Enrichment activities: We will also have discussion sections on various topics including: ethics in science, applying to graduate school, effective scientific presentations. Physical requirements: Field and lab work may include some or all of the following activities: walking and climbing on rocky shorelines to collect specimens, working in small and medium sized boats in coastal waters, ability to observe small organisms using microscopes.
Models in Ecology (3 weeks; April 30 - May 18)
Instructors: Dr. Mark Lewis and Dr. Marty Krkosek
This course develops the methods, models and tools for quantitative ecology. Students learn to formulate, analyse, parameterize, and validate quantitative models for ecological processes and data. Applications include population dynamics, species interactions, movement, and spatial processes. Approaches involve classical hypothesis testing, computer simulation, differential equations, individual-based models, least squares, likelihood, matrix equations, Markov processes, multiple working hypotheses, and stochastic processes. A computer lab covers simulation and programming methods. Course discussion entails evaluation and appraisal of current literature. This course is open to graduate and undergraduate students. Prerequisites: Introductory calculus, and statistics/biostatistics, or permission of the instructor(s).
Research skills: the course will involve a directed research project, involving scientific reasoning, quantitative modelling, computing and communication, both written and verbal. Physical requirements: must be able to use a computer, make oral presentations, and participate in class discussions
Limnology (3 weeks; May 21 - June 8)
Instructors: Dr. Kerri Finlay & Rich Vogt (U of Regina) 2010 Course Profile
This course will examine the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of lakes and how they affect in-lake processes and water quality. In particular, we will focus on energy flow, nutrient cycling and limitation, and food web dynamics in lakes, with comparisons to marine systems where appropriate. Finally, we will examine how human activities alter natural processes in aquatic systems. Research skills: Development of testable hypotheses regarding lake water quality, design of appropriate sampling regimes and experiments, and appropriate statistical analyses to support results and conclusions. Prerequisites: Introductory Biology, Chemistry, and Ecology.
Note: Priority will be given to students who take both Biological Oceanography and Limnology. Textbook: No textbook is required, however Limnology3rd Ed. by R.G. Wetzel, Elsevier Academic Press, is recommended. Physical Requirements: This course involves sampling lakes from boats and thus students must be able to portage canoes short distances and paddle around small water bodies. Travel to the field sites often involves short hikes through the forest, including rough and hilly terrain, and wet, muddy conditions.
Scientific Diving (3 weeks; May 21 - June 8) Full
Instructors: Dr. Don Levitan (FSU), Ms. Sherri Ferguson (UBC, SFU, UVic), and Siobhan Gray (BMSC)
The course will introduce and familiarize certified divers with the practices of scientific diving. Students will learn essential skills and methods used in underwater research, including surveys using transects and quadrats, underwater size assessment, tagging and species identification. Upon successful completion, students will obtain CAUS - Scientific Diver 1 Status.
Marine Ecology (6 weeks; June 11 - July 20) Full
Instructor: Dr. Mike Berger (Washington State University)
The aim of this course will be to provide a broad overview of marine ecosystems such as the rocky intertidal, estuaries, coral reefs, deep-sea, and polar habitats. Within each ecosystem we will explore the processes and mechanisms that regulate the abundance and distribution of marine organisms. A strong emphasis will be placed on observing organisms and conducting experiments in many of the diverse marine habitats near BMSC. By the end of the course, we hope you will have an in-depth understanding of marine ecosystems and how organisms within those ecosystems interact with each other and their physical environment. Prerequisites: Two semesters (or equivalent) of introductory level biology for majors or permission from the instructor.
Research skills: A focus on natural history and identification of local organisms will be encouraged. We will place a strong emphasis on field based experiments. Students will learn experimental design, how to measure elevation in the intertidal zone, quantitatively sample organismal abundance, estimate population size, calculate a relative measure of biodiversity, and measure physical properties of water. Data analysis using basic statistics will be taught as an integral part of this course. Required Textbook: (1) Levinton, J.S. 2009. Marine Biology: function, biodiversity, and ecology, 3rd edition. Oxford University Press. (2) Rite in the Rain notebook. Textbooks may be shipped directly to BMSC. Physical Requirements: Many of the field sites visited throughout this course will be in remote sites and accessible only by boat. Walking 2 - 3 kilometers on roadways or trails may be required to reach some field sites. Intertidal field sites may be slippery and have uneven surfaces that will require careful navigation. Additionally, we may camp overnight at a field site with primitive amenities (i.e., no washroom).
Crustacean Biology (3 weeks; June 11 - 29)
Instructor: Dr. Greg Jensen (U of Washington)
Cross dressing. Sex change. Chastity belts. Crustaceans were doing all this and more, long before humans ever appeared. Come learn all about this fascinating group in a setting where you can study them up close in their natural habitat and in the lab. Crustaceans are one of the most diverse groups of animals on earth in terms of species, morphology, behavior, and ecology. Discover their remarkable adaptations and strategies for feeding, reproducing, and evading predators. You'll never look at a crab or shrimp dinner in quite the same way again!
Research Skills: Students will get first-hand experience in designing and carrying out a research project involving crustaceans, with instruction on experimental and sampling design. They'll also learn how to identify Crustacea, and will get valuable experience in critically reading and discussing refereed primary literature. Prerequisites: Introductory invertebrate biology, and a desire to learn all about this amazing group. Textbook: There is no required textbook, readings will be provided by instructor. Physical Requirements: This course is not heavily field based. Students must be able to use microscopes, and negotiate stairs and hills on campus. If students choose to join field trips, they will be required to get in and out of small boats, and walk on beaches with slippery rocks.
Science Filmmaking (3 weeks; June 11 - 29) Full
Dr. Colin Bates (UBC), Jeff Morales (National Geographic) …2009 course profile
An introduction to the use of video as a means to communicate scientific and natural history information. Topics will include story selection, planning, scripting, camera technique, voiceovers, technical aspects of video and audio production, video and audio editing, project output, and distribution. Opportunities will exist for shooting in the field and studio, and certified divers may have opportunities to try underwater videography.
Prerequisites: Third year standing in biology, or permission of instructors. Research skills: Research into story ideas, characters, and scientists will be required. Physical requirements: Filming assignments may include some or all of the following activities: walking and climbing on rocky shorelines, working in small and medium sized boats in coastal waters, lifting camera and other filmmaking equipment, and ability to sit for prolonged periods during video editing sessions. Note: Preference will be given to students who take both Science Journalism and Science Filmmaking
Science Journalism (3 weeks; July 2-20)
Instructor: Dr. Bob Holmes (New Scientist)
This course will focus on the practice of science journalism. Topics will include identifying newsworthy stories, finding sources, techniques of effective interviewing, story structure, and writing in the style and at the level required by journalistic outlets (newspapers, magazines, and online). The reporting skills and understanding of story structure taught in this class will also complement the skills learned by students who take the science filmmaking course.
Note: Priority will be given to students who take both Science Journalism and Science Filmmaking.
Prerequisites: None. Textbook (not required):A Field Guide for Science Writers, 2nd Ed., edited by Deborah Blum, Mary Knudson and Robin Marantz Henig. Oxford U Press, 2006. - AVAILABLE AS AN EBOOK through member university library web sites. Research Skills: The Science Journalism course does not teach research techniques as such. However, every research scientist can benefit from learning to present the results of their research and its implications more clearly. This will benefit them in many ways: straightforward grant applications that are more likely to get funded; more understandable plenary presentations and seminars to broad scientific audiences; and descriptions of their research in lay language, so that the general public can understand what they are doing and why it matters.
Physical requirements: Students must be able to conduct interviews, both in person and by telephone, and use a computer. Ability to accompany other researchers on field work may be helpful, but is not necessary.
Comparative Biomechanics (6 weeks; July 2 – August 10)
Instructor: Dr. Tim Higham (Univ. of California, Riverside)
Description: How do fishes swim and capture prey? How do hummingbirds hover? How do frogs jump? How do crabs walk? How do snakes slither? You can address these questions in this course focusing on how organisms function mechanically in their environment. It will be a combined lecture, laboratory and field course focusing on the comparative biomechanics of vertebrates and invertebrates occupying the coast of Vancouver Island. Lectures will develop dominant themes with emphasis on movement in fluids (air and water) and on land. Field trips will involve observation of fishes, amphibians, snakes, birds, and several invertebrates. Students will conduct an independent research project in small groups during the final 3 weeks of the course. Due to the time and equipment constraints, students will select projects from a list developed by the instructor.
Research Skills: Laboratory techniques may include digital particle image velocimetry (for fluid flow visualization), one of Canada’s largest flumes, electromyography (for assessing muscle activity patterns), high-speed digital video at thousands of images per second (for assessing locomotor and feeding kinematics), and a force plate (for assessing ground reaction forces). On completion, students will have an extensive understanding of the concepts and techniques commonly utilized in biomechanics research. In addition, students will gain an appreciation of the extensive diversity of animals that can be found in the Pacific Northwest.
Prerequisites: Vertebrate biology & introductory physics (preferred, but not required). Required Textbook:Comparative Biomechanics: Life’s Physical World by Steven Vogel (Princeton University Press, 2003) Physical Requirements: This course will involve short hikes through the rainforest and walking over slippery rocks in the intertidal region of the coast.
Marine - Terrestrial Interactions (6 weeks; July 23 – Aug 31)
Instructor: Dr. Morgan Hocking (SFU)
A combined field and lab course studying the interactions between marine and terrestrial systems and how the intertidal zone can mediate and facilitate these processes. Focus will be on the role of invertebrates, beach-plants, salmon, and marine algae as they contribute to the flow of resources between coastal forest and inshore marine ecosystems in coastal British Columbia. Core topics will include the integration of landscape ecology and food web ecology in the context of energy subsidies to ecosystem functions. Field and lab exercises will assess and measure the materials flowing between ecosystems and study physiological adaptations to this transitional environment. Students will be responsible for a research project on a topic of their choice or from a suggested list. On completion, the students will be expected to demonstrate a thorough ecosystem-level understanding of the ecological links between marine and terrestrial systems.
Research Skills: As part of the Marine Terrestrial Interactions course, students will gain a much greater understanding of how to conduct a research project from initial design to final presentation. This component of the class will be integrated throughout the course, and will include:
systematic searching of the peer-reviewed literature;
critical analyses of this literature (via student-led discussion);
research design (slightly different than experimental or statistical design);
introduction to relevant statistical methods;
data collection skills;
field sampling techniques
written and verbal presentation of studies.
Prerequisites: Introductory courses in ecology and invertebrate zoology are recommended, or permission of the instructors. Textbook: There is no textbook – readings to be assigned by the instructors.
Physical Requirements: This course exposes students to the rugged west coast environment, including its thick coastal forests, rocky intertidal and near shore marine environment. Accordingly, some moderate physical challenges are to be expected. These include, but are not limited to: moderate (though infrequent) hikes on uneven trails for up to an hour, frequent navigation of slippery rocks of the intertidal, and frequent trips on boats (which require disembarking in the intertidal or on beaches at field sites). BMSC safety rules, training, and guidance from the instructors and the teaching assistant minimize the challenges and any risks. Students can also contribute by invoking common sense and bringing appropriate footwear and outdoor clothes.
Coastal Field Archaeology (6 weeks; July 23 – August 31) Full
Instructors: Mr. Iain McKechnie (UBC) Ms. Nicole Smith (Parks Canada)
In partnership with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation, this course will introduce students to coastal field archaeology. Students will participate in field trips to a variety of archaeological sites; attend lectures on indigenous history, archaeological theory, paleoenvironment, and the historical ecology of the west coast of Vancouver Island; participate in fieldwork; and, analyze archaeological samples in a lab-based setting. Students will be responsible for writing up an aspect of the archaeological work, the results of which will be shared with the Huu-ay-aht First Nation.
Research Skills: Students will learn about the fundamentals of archaeological survey, recording, excavation, sampling, data analysis, and how to prepare written reports on their findings. We will work in groups to develop and address archaeological research questions and regularly share our observations with community members. Prerequisites: : An introductory course in Anthropology and an introductory course in Archaeology, or permission of the Instructor. Required Textbook:Since the Time of the Transformers: The Ancient Heritage of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Ditidaht, and Makah by Alan McMillan, 1999, UBC Press, Vancouver, BC. Digital copies of additional readings will be provided by instructors during class. Physical Requirements: Students must be comfortable in boats and with traversing rough, slippery, and forested terrain in all weather. They must also be able to lift, carry, and/or operate equipment weighing up to 20 lbs.
Statistics for Biologists (3 weeks; August 13 - 31)
Instructor: Dr. Edd Hammill (UBC)
Course Description: This course is aimed specifically at anyone intending to pursue a career in biology in which they will design their own experiments. The key aim of the course is to start getting students to think about how they will analyse their data before they collect it. One of the course's major goals is to equip senior undergraduate and graduate students with the tools they need to effectively carry out independent research. Research skills: The course introduces multiple fundamental statistical tests, moving from basic t-tests to techniques designed to deal with very complex data. The course also introduces aspects of experimental design, scientific writing, and how to avoid producing awful figures. Prerequisites: A basic knowledge of statistics would be advantageous, but is not essential. Required Textbook: The Analysis of Biological Data, Whitlock and Schluter Physical Requirements: This course is not field based. Students must be able to negotiate stairs and hills on campus. Click here to purchase the textbook at Amazon.com
Directed Studies in Marine Science (3 or 6 weeks; dates student's choice)
and Graduate Directed Studies may be undertaken at any time during the
summer term. Study will involve a research project approved by a
supervisor in the student's field of interest. Projects will be
designed to take advantage of laboratory and/or field opportunities.
Applications should be accompanied by a project outline and a letter
from a faculty member willing to supervise. Normal room and board,
tuition, and supplemental fees will apply. Students interested in SCUBA related projects should contact , at least one month before expected start date
for more information about doing a directed study at BMSC.