Research Methods in Marine Science

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
July 12, 2021 - July 28, 20217/12 - 7/282 WeeksOnlineOpenOnlineTBD
Chris Dodge

Course Description

During this two-week course, students will be introduced to many diverse habitats that together create the dynamic estuarine ecosystem of Narragansett Bay, the multiple branches of marine science, current research and methods employed in the field, and scientific peer-reviewed journal articles. Students will be introduced to real world research methods utilized by marine scientists to study biotic and abiotic aspects of Narragansett Bay and marine habitats globally.

Coursework will include viewing online presentations from science faculty, researchers, and Save the Bay staff, focusing on the methods and techniques used in their day-to-day work, data collection and analysis, and reading and interpreting peer-reviewed journal articles. Data collected and discussed during the course will be analyzed by students in a culminating report, where they will articulate the findings of their work to an audience of their peers. Students will first walk away from this course with a general understanding of the four branches of Oceanography: Physical, Chemical, Biological, and Geological. A concrete understanding of the living and non-living factors affecting marine systems will build the foundation for further studies of the bay through the two weeks. In addition, an increased familiarity with the diversity of coastal marine habitats will give students an understanding of the complexity of Narragansett Bay as an estuarine ecosystem, as well as the important roles estuaries play in the health of all marine systems around the globe. Completion of the course will result in students being introduced to many scientific tools and instruments, and shed light into how they are used in collecting accurate and reliable data. Through introductions to both local researchers and to current peer-reviewed journal articles, students will gain an understanding of the many applications of the data collection methods they are being introduced to, as well as the many pressing issues on the front lines of marine science research where these data are being applied. Students will be tasked with taking ownership of a specific aspect of Narragansett Bay research, and turning those associated data into a research project. Once collected, the data will be input, organized, analyzed, and interpreted and finally used to articulate their results to their peers. In this process students become true researchers, gaining an abbreviated glimpse into the process of seeing research through from beginning to end.

Students will gain a deeper comprehension of the four branches of oceanography and the many diverse habitats that make up the Narragansett Bay estuary and watershed. Students will gain familiarity with scientific sampling methods and equipment including refractometers, T/S/O sondes, and trawl & seine nets. Access to journal articles will expose students to expectations of collegiate-level scientific writing. Through data entry and the creation of graphs students will walk away confident in their ability to collect, organize, and analyze data, synthesize and interpret the results, then clearly and concisely articulate findings to their peers in a written and oral report.

Prerequisites: No prerequisite coursework required. It is expected that students have an interest in the fields of marine science and ecology.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEES0921

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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