Marine Conservation Biology MSCI/BIOL 599

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1 Instructor: Blaine Griffen Office: EWS 615 Office hours: by appointment Phone number: Marine Conservation Biology MSCI/BIOL 599 I. Course description Marine conservation biology explores how human activities affect natural populations, species, communities and ecosystems within the marine environment. This inherently interdisciplinary science integrates approaches from ecology, evolutionary biology, physiology, genetics, and environmental sciences, with the fundamental goal of preserving biodiversity and ecological diversity and integrity. We will consider several types of threats to biodiversity, including habitat degradation, pollution, anthropogenic climate change, overexploitation, and invasive species. We will explore the responses of natural populations to anthropogenic disturbance from ecological and evolutionary perspectives. We will discuss approaches to marine conservation, including the establishment of marine protected areas, restoration, and regulation of fishing, pollution, coastal development, and other human activities. This course will focus on biology, but conservation is a global problem, requiring solutions from many fields. As such, we will discuss economics and environmental law, focusing on issues such as externalities and the tragedy of the commons. The course will consist of a combination of lectures and classroom discussions. Students will write several short essays or position papers over the course of the semester, and will prepare one term paper on a topic of their choosing. 3 credits Pre-requisite: MSCI 311 (or Biol 101 and 102) Materials Textbooks: Norse, E.A. and Crowder L.B. (2005) Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea s Biodiversity. Island Press, Washington DC. (Note: This text does NOT follow the lectures, but is intended as supplemental reading to provide additional perspectives.) Supplementary readings from the primary literature and news articles related to ongoing marine conservation issues will be distributed on Blackboard. II. Goals and learning outcomes The overarching objectives of this course are to teach students to (1) think like scientists and (2) apply their understanding of basic ecological and evolutionary processes to conservationrelated problems in the marine environment. To achieve these goals, in this writing-intensive

2 course, we will delve into the primary scientific literature, analyze and synthesize real data from studies conducted around the globe, and discuss emerging and ongoing conservation issues. Learning outcomes Upon completion of the course, students will be able to: summarize major extinction threats to marine species; explain the importance of biodiversity across levels of biological organization, from genetic diversity to species richness and ecosystem function; compare biological responses to different threats, including climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, and over exploitation; critically evaluate the results and conclusions of papers from the primary literature; synthesize multiple studies to form a coherent literature review of a conservationrelated topic of their choosing; provide constructive criticism to their peers on the literature review; prepare a scientific presentation; evaluate conservation-related claims made in the media. III. Student responsibilities Readings, attendance and participation To succeed in this course, you will need to attend lecture and participate in class discussions. Active participation in discussions is required and will be the basis of a portion of your course grade (100 points). You can do this best if you complete reading assignments before coming to class. Attendance will be determined simply by signing an attendance sheet each day. Position papers Throughout the first portion of the course, you will write 5 short (1 page each) position papers that address a single aspect of the 5 broad environmental threats to marine biodiversity (fisheries, pollution, climate change, invasive species, habitat destruction). These are position papers, and there is not right or wrong position. You will be graded on the completeness and coherence and clarity of your argument. Each paper should give a brief synopsis of the issue, the reason why we should care, and should clearly state your position. Each of these position papers will be worth 20 points. Position paper due dates: 1) Fisheries 5PM, Jan. 30, ) Pollution 5PM, Feb. 15, ) Climate Change 5PM, Feb. 28, ) Invasive Species 5PM, Mar. 16, ) Habitat Destruction 5PM, March 30, 2015 Solution paper This paper will focus on coming up with novel ideas to solve marine conservation issues. You will choose one issue that we have discussed this semester, or you may choose an issue that is important, but that we did not discuss. Briefly describe the problem (location, source,

3 impacts). Next, describe current or previous solutions that have been tried and the shortcomings of these solutions. Finally, propose a novel solution to the problem. Identify the potential pitfalls of your novel solution. This paper will be a total of 3 pages, double spaced, and will be worth 100 points of your grade. Solution paper due date: 5PM, April 24, 2015 (Friday after our last class) Graduate student extra assignment You will write a one page paper describing how the research that you are conducting towards your degree (thesis or dissertation research) is related to one of the marine conservation topics that we have discussed in this class. Graduate student extra paper due date: 5PM, April 20, 2015 Conservation video Videos are an effective way to reach a broad audience or a targeted audience with a conservation message. You will work in groups of 1, 2, 3, or 4 students to identify a marine conservation topic that is of interest to you. You may either use a topic that we have addressed in class, or you may choose one that we have not previously discussed. You will then make a 3-5 minute video that explains this marine conservation issue and that describes a solution or action item that viewers can actually do to make a difference or get involved. Your video can take on a variety of formats, and I will provide several example videos with different formats to give you an idea of possibilities and what is expected. You will present your video to the class during the last couple class periods of the semester. This video will be worth 100 points of your grade. 50 points will come from the successful completion of your video and showing it to the class. The other 50 points will be based on your contribution to the project as assessed by your teammates on the project. All videos will be posted to YouTube. In addition, we will vote as a class for the best videos, and the top 3 will be shown to local grade schools on Earth Day (April 22, 2015). Video due date: 5PM, April 15, 2015 *A note on plagiarism: I encourage you to discuss ideas, concepts, and assignments with your peers. However, I expect that all work that you submit to be your own. I take plagiarism very seriously. If I find that you have plagiarized (text, ideas, etc.), you will fail the course. I suggest that you consult this website for more information on what constitutes plagiarism:

4 Grading (undergrads: 400 points total; grads: 450 points total) Attendance and participation in daily discussions (100 points 4 per day) 5 position papers (1 double-spaced page each, 20 points each, due dates listed above) 1 solution paper, 3 double-spaced pages (100 points) Marine conservation video (100 points) o 50 points for successful completion o 50 points for personal contribution to group effort Grads - extra 1 page paper on how your research applies to one of the topics we discuss in this class (50 points) Written assignments will be double-spaced, and submitted via Blackboard. Late Policy Late assignments will not be accepted. We don t have a lot of assignments in this class, and their due dates are all listed above, so just get them done on time. Final Grades will be assigned according to the following scale: 90% = A 85-89% = B % = B 75-79% = C % = C 65-69% = D % = D <60% = F Grading of written work: Following are some of the criteria that I will consider when determining grades for the essays. A In general, an A paper clearly presents its purpose or argument, guides the reader through relevant background and supporting information, and arrives at the promised end-point without jarring discontinuities or leaps in logic. The text flows easily, with careful word choice, proper grammar, and formal language. Statements are well-supported, with appropriate references and/or a well-considered argument. The paper demonstrates a level of synthesis that goes beyond simple reiteration of arguments made by other sources. Discussion of relevant concepts is accurate, reflecting good comprehension of the source material. Formatting and style follow the guidelines. B A B paper may have a fairly good underlying framework, but it fails at one or more of the criteria outlined above. For example, the path that the reader must follow is not always clear, connections or transitions between ideas are not smooth, or language is careless. Inadequate support for statements, errors when discussing biology or evolution, or failure to demonstrate original thought may lower a paper s score. C A C paper is lacking in several of the criteria mentioned above. It may also be structurally flawed or have severe logical inconsistencies.

5 D There is a kernel of a good idea in the paper, but the implementation is extremely poor. The paper was probably written in one sitting and not reread before being turned in. F Chaos. Please see me in advance of the due date if you are concerned that you are headed for this end of the scale.

6 LECTURE TOPIC OUTLINE BY WEEK Date Topic Reading 1/13/15 Introduction Ch. 1, 2 Section 1: Conservation threats 1/15/15 Fisheries: the economics Ch. 11 1/20/15 Fisheries: the evidence for overfishing Ch. 14 1/22/15 Fisheries: bycatch Ch. 12 1/27/15 Fisheries: management Ch. 13, 16, 17 1/29/15 Fisheries: other factors Ch. 15 2/3/15 Pollution: plastics Ch. 9 2/5/15 Pollution: chemicals 2/10/15 Pollution: nutrients Ch. 7 2/12/15 Pollution: sound Ch. 10 2/17/15 CO2: climate change the great multiplier 2/19/15 CO2: climate change and sea level rise Cazenave et al (blackboard) 2/24/15 CO2: climate change and storm intensification 2/26/15 Invasive species: the problem Ch. 8 3/3/15 Invasive species: case studies Molnar et al (blackboard) 3/5/15 Slush day for catch up/work on videos 3/10/15 Spring Break no class 3/12/15 Spring Break no class 3/17/15 Habitat destruction: patterns 3/19/15 Habitat destruction: reasons Lotz et al (blackboard) 3/24/15 Status of marine species Section 2: Ocean management 3/26/15 Marine conservation law and policy Ch. 21 3/31/15 Marine conservation law and policy Ch. 21 Section 3: Case studies 4/2/15 Chesapeake Bay: estuarine restoration Ch. 23 with an environmental debt 4/7/15 Bering Sea seals and walruses: responses Ch. 20 to environmental change 4/9/15 The Bahamas: conservation for a tropical island nation 4/14/15 Work on student videos 4/16/15 Student videos 4/21/15 Student videos 4/23/15 Is sustainability possible? A future vision Ch. 24

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