Course descriptions index


Marine Science and Limnology


MSL F111X The Oceans (n)

4 Credits

Study of the oceans from the broad perspective offered by combining insights from biology, physics, chemistry and geology. Topics include the evolution of the oceans and marine life, forces acting on water and the resulting currents and waves, and relationships between the physics and chemistry of water bodies and their biological productivity. Societal questions related to fisheries management, global climate change and pollution will be discussed. Prerequisites: Placement in ENGL F111X or higher; placement in DEVM F105 or higher; or permission of instructor. (3+3)


MSL F411 Current Topics in Oceanographic Research

3 Credits

Study of research problems from biology, chemistry, geology and physics. Topics include sea floor hydrothermal vents and their indigenous communities, manganese nodules, tsunami prediction, radioisotopes in the sea, Bering Sea productivity and the role of the ocean in global warming due to fossil fuel carbon dioxide. Prerequisites: Four semesters of natural sciences at F100-level or above or permission of instructor. (3+0)


MSL F420 Scientific Diving

2 Credits     Offered Spring

Introduction to SCUBA diving techniques used in the research community. Includes familiarization with Alaska subtidal flora and fauna. Opportunity to work underwater and assist with diving projects conducted by the advanced diving students at the Kasitsna Bay Marine Lab. Course will certifies a Research Diver Specialty (PADI), CPR and First Aid (Red Cross) and Emergency Oxygen Administration (DAN). Completion of this course will allow students to be eligible to join the UAF (AAUS) dive program and to dive on the UAF sanctioned diving projects and have reciprocity to dive with other universities and government agencies. Graded Pass/Fail. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: Basic biology/ecology courses, SCUBA (open water) certification. Special Conditions: Must have current SCUBA physical approved. (1+1+8)


MSL F421 Field Course in Subtidal Studies

2 Credits     Offered Spring

Students will propose a hypothesis and experimentally test it during a one-week field trip to the Kasitsna Bay Lab. Prior to field trip, students will develop a proposal, dive plan and materials list in relation to their project. Undergraduates will present their findings in an oral presentation to the class while graduate students will present theirs in a public seminar and produce a conference-ready poster. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: MSL F420, basic biology/ecology courses, SCUBA (open water) certification. Special Conditions: Must have a current SCUBA physical approved. (Stacked with MSL F623.) (1+1+8)


MSL F435 Acoustical Oceanography

3 Credits

Principles and applications of underwater sound in solving oceanographic problems related to chemistry, physics, geology and biology, including hydroacoustical methods, acoustical phenomena, bioacoustics and fisheries acoustics, environmental noise and signal processing. Prerequisites: College physics and calculus. (3+0)


MSL F450 Marine Biology and Ecology Field Course

4 Credits     Offered Summer Odd-numbered Years; As Demand Warrants

Advanced understanding of marine organisms in an ecological and evolutionary context through field and laboratory work at the Kasitsna Bay Marine Lab. Includes collection of marine macroalgae, invertebrates and plankton and relating their anatomical organization to habitat, lifestyle and ecology. Emphasis on familiarization with Alaska's nearshore flora and fauna, the ecological function of organisms and ecosystem dynamics. Includes employing different field sampling techniques and experimental designs in various habitats found around the Kasitsna Bay Marine Lab, e.g. rocky intertidal, open water, mudflats, seagrass beds and salt marshes. Prerequisites: One year of biology and permission of instructor. Recommended: Basic courses in ecology and invertebrate zoology. (Stacked with MSL F651.) (3+6)


MSL F456 Kelp Forest Ecology

4 Credits     Offered Summer Even-numbered Years; As Demand Warrants

Introduction to knowledge, hypotheses and disputes regarding components of nearshore tidal communities and the ecological interactions that influence their structure and dynamics. Includes primary published literature in marine subtidal ecology, and local Alaska subtidal flora and fauna. Work underwater conducting ecological research. Includes formulating questions, collecting and analyzing ecological data, report writing and feedback. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: UAF Science Diver certification. (Stacked with MSL F656.) (28+35)


MSL F460 Marine Studies for Science Teachers

1 - 3 Credits

Field studies in oceanography and marine biology emphasizing a hands-on approach to scientific observation, data collection and analysis. Small boat and beach excursions. Students may enroll for one, two, or three weeks at 1 credit per week. Two additional credits may be earned by students concurrently enrolled in MSL F498 and completing their own investigative research project. Course offered at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: B.S. or B.A. degree; college-level science background; or permission of instructor(s). (1 - 3+0)


MSL F467 Introduction to Marine Macroalgae (n)

3 Credits     Offered As Demand Warrants

Introduction to marine macroalgae. Algal structure, function and ecology, basic knowledge of the major phyla, key and press algae, and local Alaska flora. Includes a four to five day field trip to Kasitsna Bay Marine Laboratory. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing in a natural science for undergraduates or graduate standing. (Stacked with MSL F667.) (2+3)


MSL F610 Marine Biology

3 Credits     Offered Spring

Biology of the major plant and animal groups in the sea and their roles in pelagic and benthic systems. Physical, chemical and geological features affecting marine organisms and the role of bacteria in the sea. The basic biology and adaptations of selected species of zooplankton and nekton. The benthos -- shore biota, shelf and deep-sea organisms: basic biology, trophic roles and adaptations of selected species. Prerequisites: Degree in biology or permission of instructor. Recommended: Courses in invertebrate zoology, ichthyology, and vertebrate zoology. (3+0)


MSL F611 Field Problems in Marine Biology

5 Credits

Study of pelagic and benthic ecosystems emphasizing distribution, abundance and ecology of dominant species. Students will also complete a research project of their own choosing. Five-week course offered at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission of instructor; invertebrate zoology or equivalent. (5+0)


MSL F615 Physiology of Marine Organisms

3 Credits

A study of the physiological systems of and adaptation to the marine environment, intertidal, pelagic, and deep benthos environment and energy flows will be discussed. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission of instructor. (3+0)


MSL F616 Metabolic Physiology

3 Credits     Offered As Demand Warrants

Integrates organismal and cellular aspects of vertebrate metabolism thus it represents an amalgam of biochemistry, cellular physiology and comparative animal physiology. Detail and intensity devoted to the various topics of metabolism will be tailored to the research interests of the class. Recommended: Undergraduate Biochemistry course and Physiology or Cellular Biology course. (3+0)


MSL F617 Marine Mammal Management

3 Credits     Offered As Demand Warrants

Practical current issues related to marine mammals in Alaska and other parts of the world. Legal agreements affecting marine mammals such as the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act and the history and actions of such groups as the International Whaling Commission will be reviewed. Current marine mammal management policies in the U.S. and other countries will be discussed and compared. Other current management issues that may be explored in relation to marine mammals are: contaminants, habitat issues, interactions with fisheries and subsistence hunting. Recommended: Genetics, populations dynamics and general ecology courses. (3+0)


MSL F619 Biology of Marine Mammals

3 Credits     Offered As Demand Warrants

Introduction to a broad range of research and conservation topics associated with marine mammals. Topics include physiological adaptations, phylogeny and evolution, behavior, ecology, population dynamics and conservation. Prerequisites: Graduate standing; or upper-division ecology and biology courses. (3+0)


MSL F620 Physical Oceanography

4 Credits     Offered Fall

Physical description of the sea, physical properties of seawater, methods and measurements, boundary processes, currents, tides and waves, and regional oceanography. Prerequisites: Math F202X; PHYS F103X or PHYS F211X; science or engineering degree; or permission of instructor. (3+3)


MSL F621 Polar Marine Science

3 Credits     Offered Fall Even-numbered Years

Physical, biological, chemical and geological oceanography of the polar oceans with emphasis on comparing and contrasting the Arctic and Antarctic. Prerequisites: MSL F620; MSL F630; MSL F650; MSL F660; or concurrent enrollment; or permission of instructor. (3+0)


MSL F623 Field Course in Subtidal Studies

2 Credits     Offered Spring

Students will propose a hypothesis and experimentally test it during a one-week field trip to the Kasitsna Bay Lab. Prior to field trip, students will develop a proposal, dive plan and materials list in relation to their project. Undergraduates will present their findings in an oral presentation to the class while graduate students will present theirs in a public seminar and produce a conference-ready poster. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: MSL F420; basic biology/ecology courses; SCUBA (open water) certification. Special Conditions: Must have a current SCUBA physical approved. (Stacked with MSL F421.) (1+1+8)


MSL F624 Oceanic-Atmospheric Gravity Waves

3 Credits     Offered Spring As Demand Warrants

Introduction to the dynamics of surface and internal gravity waves in non-rotating and rotating fluids including, derivation/solutions of the wave equation, approximations to the governing equations, particle motions and wave energetics, dispersion relationships, phase and group velocities, normal mode and WKB theory, refraction, reflection, critical layer absorption, wave instabilities. Prerequisites: MSL F620; MATH F302; or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with ATM F624.) (3+0)


MSL F625 Shipboard Techniques

3 Credits     Offered As Demand Warrants

Introduction to modern oceanographic shipboard sampling and analysis techniques. (2+3)


MSL F626 Continental Shelf Dynamics

3 Credits     Offered As Demand Warrants

Geophysical fluid dynamic fundamentals appropriate to continental shelf circulation. Steady and time-dependent wind and buoyancy-forced flows in the presence of stratification and bathymetry. Prerequisites: MSL F620; MATH F421. (3+0)


MSL F629 Methods of Numerical Simulation in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

4 Credits     Offered Fall Odd-numbered Years

Fundamentals of computer simulation, including time and spatial differencing and stability theory applied to partial differential equations describing dynamic processes in the ocean and atmosphere. Numerical approximation schemes for geophysical fluid dynamics will be analyzed through equations of motion, continuity and transport. Special consideration given to description of frictional processes in turbulent flow and transport/diffusion phenomena. Includes laboratory practice. Prerequisites: MATH F310; MATH F421; MATH F422 or equivalent; baccalaureate degree in physics, engineering, mathematics or equivalent; experience with FORTRAN. (3+3)


MSL F630 Geological Oceanography

3 Credits     Offered Spring

Topography and structure of the ocean floor. Theory of plate tectonics. Geology of ocean basins, continental slope, shelf and coastal environments. Major sediment types and distributions. Sediment transport and deposition. Interaction between seawater, rock, and sediment. Paleoceanography. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission of instructor. Upper-division standing are invited to contact the instructor. (3+0)


MSL F640 Fisheries Oceanography

4 Credits     Offered Fall Odd-numbered Years

Oceanography of marine processes affecting commercially important fisheries (finfish and shellfish) and species that affect them. Interactions between fisheries resources and physical, biological, geological and chemical oceanography, as well as climatological and meteorological conditions. Topics include recruitment, transport, natural mortality, predator-prey relationships, competition, distribution and abundance. El Nino/La Nina, regime shifts, and climate change. Emphasis on early life history of fishes. Examples from fisheries and ecosystems worldwide are used. Prerequisites: MSL F620; MSL F650; or permission of instructor. Recommended: FISH F400. (4+0)


MSL F650 Biological Oceanography

3 Credits     Offered Fall

Survey of biological processes emphasizing organic matter synthesis and transfer including topics essential to a basic understanding of contemporary biological oceanography. Primary and secondary production, standing stocks, distribution, and structure and dynamics of phytoplankton and zooplankton populations. The transfer of organic matter to higher trophic levels and food webs. Nutrient cycling, especially but not exclusively nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon, microbiological processes relevant to nutrient cycling. Heterotrophic production, benthic communities coastal ecosystems, the influence of organisms on the composition of seawater, particularly with reference to oxygen and carbon dioxide regimes. Aspects of regional oceanography. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing in a science major. (3+0)


MSL F651 Marine Biology and Ecology Field Course

4 Credits     Offered Summer Odd-numbered Years; As Demand Warrants

Advanced understanding of marine organisms in an ecological and evolutionary context through field and laboratory work at the Kasitsna Bay Marine Lab (Kachemak Bay). Includes collection of marine macroalgae, invertebrates and plankton and relating their anatomical organization to habitat, lifestyle and ecology. Emphasis will be on familiarization with Alaska's nearshore flora and fauna, the ecological function of organisms and ecosystem dynamics. Students will employ different field sampling techniques and experimental designs in various habitats found around the Kasitsna Bay Marine Lab, e.g. rocky intertidal, open water, mudflats, seagrass beds, and salt marshes. Graduate students will perform a research project related to the course subject matter. Prerequisites: One year of biology; graduate standing; permission of instructor. Recommended: Basic courses in ecology and invertebrate zoology. (Stacked with MSL F450.) (3+6)


MSL F652 Marine Ecosystems

3 Credits     Offered Spring Even-numbered Years

Understanding ecosystems of the sea in the context of evaluating the impact of human activities. Focus on current concepts, trends and perspectives. Prerequisites: BIOL F472; MSL F620; MSL F650; or permission of instructor. (3+0)


MSL F653J Zooplankton Ecology

3 Credits     Offered Fall Odd-numbered Years

Survey of marine zooplankton including processes and variables which influence their production and dynamics. Emphasis on the northeast Pacific ocean zooplankton community. Field and lab methods for sampling include fixing, preserving, subsampling, identifying and quantifying zooplankton collections. Laboratory techniques for culture of zooplankton include physiological measurements of bioenergetic parameters. Course is taught in Juneau. Prerequisites: Invertebrate zoology course, MSL F610, or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with FISH F653J.) (3+0)


MSL F654 Benthic Ecology

3 Credits     Offered Spring Odd-numbered Years

Ecology of marine benthos, from subtidal to hadal zone. Methods of collecting, sorting, narcotizing, preserving and analyzing bethnic assemblages, including video analytical techniques from submersibles and ROV's. Hydrothermal vent and cold seep assemblages. Physiology/energetics of benthic organisms, including animal-sediment relationships, feeding, reproduction and growth. Depth, spatial and latitudinal distribution patterns. Prerequisites: Invertebrate zoology course, marine biology course, or permission of instructor. (3+0)


MSL F654J Benthic Ecology

3 Credits     Offered Spring Odd-numbered Years

Ecology of marine benthos, from subtidal to hadal zones. Methods of collecting, sorting, narcotizing, preserving and analyzing benthic assemblages, including video analytical techniques from submersibles and ROV's. Hydrothermal vent and cold seep assemblages. Physiology/energetics of benthic organisms, including animal-sediment relationships, feeding, reproduction and growth. Depth, spatial and latitudinal distribution patterns. Prerequisites: Invertebrate zoology course; marine biology course; or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with FISH F654J.) (3+0)


MSL F655 Phytoplankton Ecology, from Form to Function

2 Credits     Offered Spring Even-numbered Years

Introduction to the diversity and functioning of aquatic (marine and limnic) phytoplankton taxa in a wide sense. Topics will include various adaptations to the environment (life cycles, physiology). Four lab sessions will intensify the understanding of the covered topics and give students hands-on experience in analyzing phytoplankton samples on algal diversity and activity using modern techniques (fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, PAM fluorometry). Recommended: Biological oceanography and/or graduate courses in algal ecology and aquatic ecosystems. (1+2)


MSL F656 Kelp Forest Ecology

4 Credits     Offered Summer Even-numbered Years; As Demand Warrants

Introduction to knowledge, hypotheses and disputes regarding components of nearshore tidal communities and the ecological interactions that influence their structure and dynamics. Includes primary published literature in marine subtidal ecology, and local Alaska subtidal flora and fauna. Work underwater conducting ecological research. Includes formulating questions, collecting and analyzing ecological data, report writing and feedback. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: UAF Science Diver certification. (Stacked with MSL F456.) (28+35)


MSL F660 Chemical Oceanography

3 Credits     Offered Spring

The chemical, biological and physical processes that determine the distribution of chemical variables in the sea. The distribution of stable and radioisotopes are used to follow complex chemical cycles, with particular emphasis on the cycles of nutrient elements. The chemistry of carbon is considered in detail. Implications of the mid-ocean ridge vent system to ocean chemistry are examined. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or permission of instructor. (Cross-listed with CHEM F660.) (3+0)


MSL F661 Stable Isotope Techniques in Environmental Research

3 Credits     Offered Spring Even-numbered Years

An examination of the use of added or naturally occurring isotope tracers in ecological studies. Demonstration of equipment and modern techniques. Prerequisites: MSL F660 or permission of instructor. (3+0)


MSL F667 Introduction to Marine Macroalgae

3 Credits     Offered As Demand Warrants

Introduction to marine macroalgae. Includes algal structure, function and ecology, basic knowledge of the major phyla, key and press algae and local Alaska flora. Includes a four to five day field trip to Kasitsna Bay Marine Laboratory. Special fees apply. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing in a natural science for undergraduates or graduate standing. (Stacked with MSL F467.) (2+3)


MSL F670 Nutrient Dynamics

2 Credits     Offered Fall Odd-numbered Years

The dynamics of nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon cycles of the world oceans and the specific processes which transfer nutrients between ecosystems compartments. Analytical techniques employed in measurement of nutrient transfer rates. Prerequisites: MSL F650 or MSL F660 or permission of instructor. (2+0)


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