Students Are “Knee-deep” in Bio at Woods Hole Labs

Marine Biology (Bio330) students used the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., as their classroom from May 19 to May 30.  

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The students, who began the semester with lectures on the principles of marine biology, got experiential lessons at the oldest and most recognized marine science institutes in the world.  Woods Hole is also the location of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Sea Education Association, and laboratories of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the US Geological Survey.

Drs. James Sidie and Kathryn Goddard, with lab coordinator Ann Breen, instructed 14 Ursinus students who are biology, environmental studies, and other majors.  Dr. Sidie has been conducting this unique course for Ursinus College students, public school teachers and other students for over twenty years.  This year, like every year,  students learned about the unique combination of marine habitats found on Cape Cod including the rocky intertidal zone and nearby salt marshes.  This variety of habitats cannot be found in the Mid-Atlantic states.

“We visited a salt pond filled surrounded by cedars, wild rose, and beach plum,” said Dr. Goddard. “The tide rushed out of the pond in a crystal clear stream over rocks into the adjacent bay; there were lots of animals on the rocks.  It was  like standing in a knee-deep aquarium.  The students collected and  have learned to identify marine creatures including seaweeds, fishes, crabs, and organisms related to corals called sea anenomes.”

The students also headed to the north side of the Cape to a site at Sandwich, Cape Cod to find scores of sea stars on the rocks along with other beautiful and interesting creatures.  After learning the names and habitats of a large variety of organisms the students worked on individual research projects.

“Every year the projects are unique and address new questions,” Dr. Goddard said.

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