Monday, September 13, 2010

Coastal Zone Management, Water Resources and Even the Study of Whales: Expanding Marine Science Education Opportunities for Students

Gordon College has long had a marine concentration in the biology major. Dr. Chuck Blend (who just left for Texas as a blissful newlywed) was particularly known for his research with students on marine parasites and is one of the few researchers on deep sea fish parasites in the world. But the program just got a little grander . . .
Recently, Gordon College joined a group called the Marine Studies Consortium, and its courses bring a new variety of opportunities to students. One such course, Biology of Fishes, takes place at the New England Aquarium and may be the only ichthyology course in the world where students use the resources of a major aquarium at every class meeting. Since some of the new program courses are not offered at the undergraduate level anywhere in the New England region, Gordon students will again be leading the way in the field of science education opportunities as they connect to the larger marine science community.

Gordon's current program has offered a variety of marine courses over the years. "Though our students seem to really enjoy Intro to Marine Science and the May Term's Marine Biology Institute course, this new membership will bring new opportunities for scholarship," says Dorothy Boorse, professor of biology. "We have never been able to offer such specialized undergraduate level courses in fields like water resources management, coastal zone management, marine mammals, or cetacean (whale) biology. The offering of such courses, coupled with our many regional resources is very exciting." Other colleges and universities in the consortium in addition to Gordon's Marine Biology program include Bentley, Lesley, Northeastern, Suffolk, Tufts, Wellesley, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, among others.

Photo: Dr. Boorse in one of the many outdoor marine life labs on Gordon's campus.

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