Marine Invertebrates: Exploring Rhode Island's Rocky Coast

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

What do octopus, sea stars, and horseshoe crabs all have in common? They all lack a spine; they are all marine invertebrates.

Invertebrates are amazingly diverse and are by far the largest animal group on the planet. They compose approximately 97% of all animal life. They are unified by their lack of a spine, but they tell an interesting evolutionary story when we start at the most ancient species and follow the development of new traits over millions of years. This course will examine some of these developments while exploring local invertebrate fauna in and around Rhode Island.

Students will engage as marine scientists as they explore invertebrate diversity via an experimental approach including field work, data collection and experimentation. This course will focus on specimen collection and identification. Students will use the tools of marine scientists such as dissecting scopes and other equipment. Through the use of an identification guide, students will identify and catalog their species (identification, description, and drawings of the animal) into a personal field notebook. In addition, students will be introduced to the techniques of in-situ biological research and learn skills essential to college success through library and internet research and validation of current research.

By the end of the course, students will have an in-depth knowledge of how to use an identification guide and have a solid understanding of the rules of safe and respectful field work. Students will gain experience with experimental design and become informed consumers of scientific information, able to identify whether an article is a valid peer-reviewed representation of the content area.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites but an interest in animals, biological research or field work and marine science is a plus. Students should expect to conduct field work, which can at times be messy, and come prepared for that experience.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0998
  • Length: 1 week

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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