Marine Biology and Oceanography

Conservation and the Changing Environment

Are you passionate about marine life and the conservation of our marine environments? Are you interested in combining science, math and research to make a difference? If so, Marine Biology and Oceanography may be a great career path for you to explore. Our Marine Biology and Oceanography pre-college course provides a hands-on experience that integrates biology, chemistry, physics and math to study the changing marine environment. The core of the program will take place on the shores of the Long Island Sound, at UConn’s marine sciences department. Students will combine field work and laboratory analyses with the college classroom experience. Lectures will be interspersed to provide the necessary background information.

Students will learn the tools used to assess the health of the marine environment. This includes:

  • Using instrumentation that collects water samples as well as measures oxygen and temperature
  • The collection and examination of marine specimens
  • The design and process of mesocosm experiments, evaluation of eelgrass beds and the study of bivalve filtration rates
  • Physical properties of the ocean such as currents will be studied using student-constructed  mini-drifters as well as state of the art field equipment. Measurements will be made and recorded. This data will be graphed and interpreted
  • Learn about invasive invertebrate species using settling plates
  • Seining for Long Island Sound fish diversity
  • Dissections to learn about marine animal adaptations to life in the estuary versus the ocean

The week will start out at the main campus in Storrs. Students will be introduced to basic marine science concepts in an informal lecture. Laboratory exercises to demonstrate ocean properties, the introduction to instrumentation and the construction of a sensor will take place in Storrs. The week will then continue with daily trips to the coast (~1hr bus ride). Students will conduct measurements of Long Island Sound   at the Marine Sciences Department facilities. A visit to the Mystic Marine life Aquarium with focus on marine conservation will take place. Students will have the opportunity to visit the research laboratories of UConn oceanographers. Short boat trips will be used to evaluate eel grass beds as well as make measurements at the rocky intertidal at Pine Island. At the end of the week students will meet in Storrs to compile their information and design an Eastern Long Island Sound healthy environment report card. During the week, light reading homework will be assigned.

Students will need to be prepared with the proper attire to work in the rain and with closed toed shoes for the laboratories.

Transportation: This course involves frequent off-site visits to the UConn Avery Point Campus, as well as the Mystic Marinelife Aquarium. Supervised transportation is provided by the program and is included in the course cost.

Note: To be eligible to enroll in Marine Biology and Oceanography, students need two years of high school science and math through Algebra I.


  • Claudia Koerting, Ph.D., DMS Research Associate

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At a Glance:

Sessions Offered:

  • Session 4: July 19th - July 25th

Location: UConn Storrs & Avery Point Campuses

Supplemental Lab Fee: $150.00

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