Marine Life in the Balance: Protecting a Changing Estuary Environment

« Return to Course Catalog

One Section Available to Choose From:

Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 28, 2021 - July 14, 20216/28 - 7/142 WeeksOnlineOpenOnlineGrainne Conley
Jennifer Kelly

Course Description

Estuaries, like Narragansett Bay, are considered to be one of the most productive and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Today, they are threatened by the challenges of climate change, which, scientists are discovering, are causing changes in salt marsh habitat and water quality. Do you want to know what a career as a field scientist includes? In this course, students will gain an understanding of how estuaries are the foundations of life in marine systems. Using Narragansett Bay as a case study, students will identify the effects of climate change on this ecosystem we rely on. Students will identify the challenges threatening salt marshes, learn data collection techniques, and study relevant research.

"This course will focus on key factors attributing to Narragansett Bay's success along with exploring its challenges and threats. Students will be introduced to the importance of estuaries and the balance that is required to have equilibrium. They will examine the effects of climate change on an estuary by using Narragansett Bay as a case study. Due to climate change, Narragansett Bay has increased water temperatures and sea level and changes in pH. These changes have led to biological changes in the bay. In the past, salt marshes have been able to increase their elevation to adapt to sea level rise. Today, scientists have found that Rhode Island marsh habitats are not able to increase their elevation fast enough to keep up with the increased rate of sea level rise occurring in Narragansett Bay. Marshes face the threat of drowning over the next century. However, effective adaptation actions and restoration will help marshes adapt to the changes and withstand the challenges of climate change in order to preserve their ecological value for the future. "

Students will understand how to read and interpret scientific information, understand how water quality monitoring equipment is used to collect data, understand steps being taken to help mitigate climate change in Narragansett Bay and be able to teach others about threats to estuaries, specifically climate change.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEES0938

Program Information


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

Visit Program Page View Course Pricing Information Sessions Learn How to Apply