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Course Descriptions

Degrees and Programs Index

Marine Science and Limnology

MSL 111X (4 Credits) Juneau Alternate Fall
The Oceans (3+3) n Fairbanks Spring
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. Laboratory fee: $20.00. (Prerequisites: High school biology and algebra. High school chemistry or physics desirable.)

MSL 411 (3 Credits) Juneau As Demand Warrants
Current Topics in Oceanographic Research (3+0) Fairbanks Alternate Fall
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 100 level or above or permission of the instructor. Next offered Fairbanks: 2000-01.)

MSL 435 (3 Credits) Alternate Fall
Acoustical Oceanography (3+0)
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. Next offered: 1999 - 2000.)

MSL 450 (5 Credits) Alternate Summer, As Demand Warrants
Biology and Ecology of Marine Invertebrates (3+9)
(Stacked with MSL 651)
Advanced understanding of marine invertebrates in an evolutionary and ecological context. Animals studied according to habitat phylogenetic relationships. Field and laboratory work at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory on Kachemak Bay. Students are required to write a research proposal related to the course subject matter. (Prerequisites: One year of biology and permission of instructor. Basic courses in ecology and invertebrate zoology recommended. Next offered: Summer 2000.)

MSL 460 (1 - 3 Credits) Alternate Summer, As Demand Warrants
Marine Studies for Science Teachers
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 498 and completing their own investigative research project. Course offered at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory. (Prerequisites: B.S. or B.A. degree and college-level science background or permission of instructor(s). Next offered: Summer 1999.)

MSL 610 (3 Credits) Spring
Marine Biology (3+0)
A study of the 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. 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. Highly recommended: courses in invertebrate zoology, ichthyology, vertebrate zoology.)

MSL 611 (5 Credits) Alternate Summer, As Demand Warrants
Field Problems in Marine Biology (0+Arranged)
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.)

MSL 615 (3 Credits) Alternate Fall
Physiology of Marine Organisms (3+0)
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. (Prerequisite: Graduate standing or permission of instructor.)

MSL 619 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Biology of Marine Mammals (3+0)
This course is intended to provide a graduate-level 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: Concurrent or previous enrollment in MSL 615 and upper division ecology and statistics courses.)

MSL 620 (4 Credits) Fall
Physical Oceanography (3+3)
Physical description of the sea, physical properties of sea water, methods and measurements, boundary processes, currents, tides and waves, and regional oceanography. (Prerequisite: Math 202, PHYS 103X or PHYS 211X, science or engineering degree, or permission of instructor.)

MSL 621 (3 Credits) Alternate Fall
Polar Marine Science (3+0)
Physical, biological, chemical and geological oceanography of the polar oceans with emphasis on comparing and contrasting the Arctic and Antarctic. (Prerequisites: MSL 620, 630, 650, 660, or concurrent registration, or permission of instructor.)

MSL 622 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Satellite Oceanography (3+0)
A broad introduction to both the theory and practice of satellite oceanography. We will cover the full spectrum of sensors and platforms used in oceanographic research. Topics will range from first principles of orbital dynamics and radiative transfer needed for remote sensing to the actual analysis of satellite imagery using current techniques and algorithms. Students will have the opportunity to acquire and apply satellite imagery to a problem of their choice. (Prerequisite: MSL 620 and 650 or upper division or graduate study in science and consent of instructor.)

MSL 625 (2 Credits) Spring
Shipboard Techniques (1+3)
A comprehensive introduction to modern oceanographic shipboard sampling and analysis techniques. (Prerequisite: Graduate standing or permission of instructor.)

MSL 629 (3 Credits) Alternate Fall
Methods of Numerical Simulation in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (3+0)
Fundamentals of computer simulation, including time and spatial differencing and stability theory applied to partial differential equations describing dynamical processes in the ocean and atmosphere. Numerical approximation schemes for the geophysical fluid dynamics will be analyzed through equations of motion, continuity and transport. Special consideration given to the description of the frictional processes in the turbulent flow and transport/diffusion phenomena. Includes laboratory practice. (Prerequisites: MATH 310, 421, 422 or equivalent; baccalaureate degree in physics, engineering, mathematics or equivalent; experience with FORTRAN.)

MSL 630 (3 Credits) Spring
Geological Oceanography (3+0)
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. Paleoceanography. (Prerequisite: Introductory college geology or permission of instructor.)

MSL 640 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Fisheries Oceanography (3+0)
Oceanography of marine processes affecting commercially important fisheries (finfish and shellfish). 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. Emphasis is on early life history of fishes. Applications to world's commercial fisheries are cited. (Prerequisite: MSL 620 and 650 or permission of instructor; recommended FISH 400W,O/2.)

MSL 650 (3 Credits) Fall
Biological Oceanography (3+0)
A 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, food webs, nutrient cycling, especially but not exclusively nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon, microbiological process relevant to nutrient cycling, and 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: Introductory college biology and chemistry.)

MSL 651 (5 Credits) Alternate Summer, As Demand Warrants
Biology and Ecology of Marine Invertebrates (3+9)
(Stacked with MSL 450)
Advanced understanding of marine invertebrates in an evolutionary and ecological context. Animals studied according to habitat phylogenetic relationships. Field and laboratory work at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory on Kachemak Bay. Students will be required to write a research proposal related to the course subject matter. (Prerequisites: Graduate standing, one year of biology and permission of instructor. Basic courses in ecology and invertebrate zoology recommended. Next offered: Summer 2000.)

MSL 652 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Marine Ecosystems (3+0)
Understanding ecosystems of the sea in the context of evaluating the impact of human activities. The course focuses on current concepts, trends and perspectives rather than being a survey. (Prerequisites: BIOL 472, MSL 650, and MSL 620 or permission of instructor.)

MSL 653-J (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Zooplankton Ecology (3+0)
(Cross-listed with FISH 653-J)
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. (Prerequisites: invertebrate zoology course, MSL 610, or permission of instructor. Next offered: Spring 2000.)

MSL 654-J (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Benthic Ecology (3+0)
(Cross-listed with FISH 654-J)
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. Next offered: 2000-01.)

MSL 660 (3 Credits) Spring
Chemical Oceanography (3+0)
(Cross-listed with CHEM 660)
An integrated study of 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. The implications of the recently explored mid-ocean ridge vent system to ocean chemistry are examined. (Prerequisite: Graduate standing or permission of instructor.)

MSL 661 (2 Credits) Alternate Spring
Isotope Techniques for Aquatic Science (2+0)
An examination of the use of added or naturally occurring isotope tracers in ecological studies. Demonstration of equipment and modern techniques. (Prerequisite: MSL 660 or permission of instructor.)

MSL 663 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Photosynthesis (3+0)
(Cross-listed with BIOL 663 and CHEM 663)
Integrated analysis of photosynthesis. Processes to be addressed include gene expression, protein transport, membrane biogenesis, pigment synthesis, electron transport, regulation of enzyme activity, photon absorption and excitation energy transfer. Current data on environmental control of photosynthetic processes, from gene expression through photosynthetic competence, will be analyzed. (Prerequisites: CHEM 451 and MSL 650 or permission of instructor.)

MSL 664 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Algal Biology: Physiological Ecology (3+0)
(Cross-listed with BIOL 664)
Ecology of algae examined from a physiological perspective. Emphasis will be placed on phytoplankton, the most thoroughly characterized algae. Algal physiological ecology will be examined both from a classical viewpoint as well as from a more mechanistic approach utilizing modern techniques. (Prerequisites: MSL 650, an undergraduate plant physiology course, or permission of instructor.)

MSL 665 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Microbial Biochemistry (2+3)
Quantitative and mechanistic aspects of the biochemical processes that microorganisms effect in the aquatic environment. Processes will be formulated in terms of biochemical structures and specified in terms of equations derived. Although intended for students of aquatic processes, the level is appropriate to follow the first semester course in biochemistry. Modern techniques for analysis of enzyme kinetics will provide the foundation for consideration of the processes of membrane transport. (Prerequisites: Biochemistry or equivalent; permission of instructor.)

MSL 670 (2 Credits) Alternate Fall
Nutrient Dynamics (2+0)
The dynamics of nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon cycles of the world oceans and the specific processes which transfer nutrients between ecosystems compartments will be studied. Analytical techniques employed in measurement of nutrient transfer rates will also be studied. (Prerequisites: MSL 660 or 650 or permission of instructor.)

MSL 673 (3 Credits) Alternate Spring
Microbial Biochemistry and Bioenergetics (3+0)
(Cross-listed with CHEM 673)
Course seeks to develop a working knowledge of energy transduction in biological systems. Particular emphasis will be on the molecular mechanisms involved in the generation of transmembrane potentials and solute flux and how microorganisms use these processes to control their environment.

MSL 680 (3 Credits) Alternate Fall
Physical-Chemical Limnology (3+0)
(Cross-listed with BIOL 682)
A comprehensive course in physical and chemical limnology covering the basic processes and cycles in freshwater systems, including a consideration of arctic and subarctic lakes. (Prerequisites: Graduate standing, calculus, quantitative analysis or permission of instructor.)

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