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Marine Larval Ecology

Course Number: OCMB - 0996 and MEVS - 5580

Description: Most marine animals have a complex life cycle with a sessile or sedentary adult stage and a dispersive larval stage. This course will expose the students to the diversity of marine larval forms and increase their understanding on the environmental factors affecting larval survival, development, dispersal, settlement, recruitment and connectivity. We will study the implications of having a larval stage for the persistence and management of marine ecosystems, and how climate change and other human-induced disturbances on larvae may affect species persistence. Active classroom discussion on selected scientific articles is mandatory.

Learning outcomes

The students will:

  • Identify the predominant types of marine larvae of each marine animal group
  • Discuss the ultimate and proximate cues for the synchronization of larval release and its adaptive advantage
  • Describe how the major types of marine larvae obtain nutrients and food
  • Describe how maternal and environmental patterns may affect the survival, development and dispersal of larvae
  • Describe how larval behavior and settlement cues may determine dispersal and recruitment
  • Discuss the implications of having a larval stage for population persistence and the importance of considering the larval stage when implementing management for conservation
  • Demonstrate knowledge on the effects of climate change and other human-induced disturbances on larvae and how these may affect species persistence
  • Analyze and critique scientific literature
  • Summarize scientific information
  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the treated materials and critical thinking ability by questioning or explaining complex processes with regards to marine larval ecology
  • Write a grammatically perfect, technically informed, well-structured document on a chosen graduate topic in marine larval ecology
  • Deliver a professional, formal presentation on an marine larval ecology topic to a graduate audience
Suggested text (Not required): “Ecology of Marine Invertebrate Larvae” by Larry McEdward, CRC Press (does not cover fish larvae). All themes will be addressed through discussions of relevant scientific articles which will be made available by the professor.

Winter 2016 Syllabus

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