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Deep-Sea Biology

Course Number: OCMB - 6560 and MEVS - 5550

The deep sea is the largest living space on the planet, with some of the most diverse, complex and extreme environments on the planet.  This course will cover major topics in deep-sea biology, including depth zonation, energetics, adaptations, extreme environments, sensory biology, bentho-pelagic coupling and anthropogenic threats.  This course will provide you with a basic understanding of what we know (and don't know) about deep-sea ecosystems, the methods used to study this environment and inhabitants, and it will create an opportunity to discuss major current questions and exciting new discoveries.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this course the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of ecological, geological, chemical and biological concepts as they relate to deep-sea ecosystems
    • Describe the co-varying effects of temperature, pressure, oxygen and light levels on the adaptations of deep-sea organisms
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the ecology of deep-sea organisms
  • Evaluate the potential impacts of anthropogenic activities on deep-sea animals
  • Read and understand a scientific paper, evaluate its findings and discuss the implications of those findings
  • Synthesize a body of literature on a topic and present a clear summation of the topic, with a comprehensive background and description of relevant controversies
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills and a full understanding of the scientific method


Recommended - Herring, P. 2002. The Biology of the Deep Ocean. Oxford University Press Press. 2002, 314 pages. IBSN 0 19 854956 3

Winter 2016 Syllabus

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