FHL 446 | Summer A 2021

Marine Botany: Diversity and Ecology 2021

Credits: 9

Instructor(s): Dr. Thomas Mumford , Dr. D. Wilson Freshwater


Students will learn classical and contemporary methods for the identification, classification, and phylogenetic analysis of algae; the theories underlying the methods; the application of biodiversity information in (for example) benthic ecology, species diversity, and biogeography. Students will gain practical experience in tools such as: specimen collection, preservation, DNA barcoding, and databasing; microscopy; DNA isolation and sequencing; computational approaches to phylogeny reconstruction. Fieldwork will be extensive, as the diverse and species- rich aquatic habitats on and around San Juan Island provide ideal sites for the examination of macroalgal diversity.

We will emphasize the use of combined approaches to identify marine algae. Individual student research projects will use morphological, ecological and molecular data to prepare detailed studies of local species that will be included in a Barcode of Life Database systems (BOLDs) project documenting the marine algal diversity of the Salish Sea area. Students will also participate in group research projects addressing biodiversity, ecological, and taxonomic questions within the local marine flora. At the end of the course, students should be able to use several of the tools now available to identify and classify algae and to critically assess the value of these tools in studies of marine biodiversity and ecology anywhere in the world.

This is a course appropriate for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, as well as, professional marine biologists, botanists, geneticists, and oceanographers with interests in marine biodiversity, conservation biology, and coastal ecology. Course participants will leave with a toolbox of methods to assess these topics in any nearshore ecosystem in the world.

Funding to attend the course may be available from the Phycological Society of America’s Croasdale Fellowship and the British Phycological Society.