Environments close to shore are hugely ecologically important, not least in terms of their contributions to biodiversity, primary and secondary productivity. Coastal and Estuarine Ecology introduces students to a range of nearshore habitats and biota, the processes
that operate in these environments, and potential
threats through, for example, habitat destruction and alteration, overfishing, invasive species and climate change. Students will also have the opportunity to build proficiency in field observation and inquiry through several short field trips in the local New York area.
The course covers marine and estuarine processes, features and biota, with relevant discussions on how fundamental concepts such as reproduction, dispersal, population connectivity and productivity may differ in aquatic and terrestrial contexts. Descriptive classes on these processes and features are augmented with discussions on recent and current research within each habitat type, including potential effects of decreases in biodiversity, habitat fragmentation, and changes in water chemistry, which may be brought about through anthropogenic activities. Students will thus gain a basic understanding not only of ecological and biological processes operating within these environments, but of the current state of research within these areas.