Sample Syllabus


Course Dates: Aug. 14 - Aug. 21, 2017
Location: Shoals Marine Laboratory, Appledore Island
Course Title: Marine/Estuarine/Freshwater Biology (MEFB) 410
Credits: 2

Dr. Jessica Bolker, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of New Hampshire (UNH)
Dr. Jason Goldstein, Research Director, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, Wells, ME

Guest Faculty:
Dr. James Sulikowski, University of New England (Rock Talk speaker)
Jeremy Miller, Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve (guest lecturer)
Dr. Inga Sidor, Dept. of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences and New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, UNH
Krisanne Baker, Artist in Residence, Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML)

Guest Students (Marine Immersion 2015 Alumni):
Nate Kinsman, Taylor Lindsay, Mackenzie Meier, Anna Dorrance

Course Description

An intensive 2-credit course for incoming freshmen, surveying a range of marine-related fields (with an emphasis on biology and ecology), research approaches, and organisms.  The course will be based at the Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, where students – and some faculty - will be in residence.  “Marine Immersion” will introduce students to the breadth, excitement, and challenges of marine sciences through lectures, demonstrations, and field experiences offered by a cohort of UNH faculty, and through short research projects carried out on the island.  It will also introduce them to resources and opportunities available at UNH, provide an opportunity to get to know some UNH faculty, and let them begin building a network among their peers even before they arrive in Durham.

Goals for Students

  • Gain direct experience with multiple aspects of marine research through a collaborative field project
  • Learn how to read and interpret scientific research papers;
  • Strengthen written and oral communication skills;
  • Discover the breadth and diversity of marine science, and of its representation at UNH;
  • Increase motivation and ability to participate in research as an undergraduate;
  • Begin building relationships with faculty and peers that will contribute to academic success during (and beyond) freshman year.

Assignments & Grading

Grading: 40% - Field project (oral presentation (10%) and final writeup (30%)

Assignments: Field projects involve planning, performing, analyzing, and presenting results from a brief study of a particular aspect of field marine ecology. Projects will be collaborative, with small teams of students working together. The grade on the project is the same for all group members.

Grading: 10% Individual drafts (introduction, discussion)

Assignments: Individual drafts: Each group member will prepare an individual, separate draft of the introduction and discussion sections of the final report. These will be graded separately, and the group can then draw on and combine them for the single final document.

Grading: 15% - Field notebook, including illustrations 

Assignments: The field notebook (individual grade) provides a place to record information, procedures, questions, ideas, and reflections, as well as careful hand-drawn illustrations relevant to your project. There will also be some required items, announced during the class. It contains your personal, individual work (some of which will eventually become part of the team project). A detailed grading checklist or rubric will be provided.

Grading: 25% - Quizzes

Assignments: There will be four short quizzes covering recent reading and lecture material. They will have a mix of question types (multiple choice, short-answer, matching, labeling diagrams, etc.).

Grading: 10% - Participation/collaboration

Assignments: The participation/collaboration portion of the grade reflects your contribution to your team’s success during the week, as well as your overall engagement with class activities.  This means being prompt (where you’re supposed to be, when you’re supposed to be there) and on-task, as well as generous with your comments and helpful input during group activities and in your peer reviews of other people’s work in progress. This will be assessed in part via confidential group surveys where you will assess each team member’s contribution to your joint projects.

You are also expected to interact actively with guest faculty; record in your notebook whom you talked with, and what you discussed.

More details about the requirements, format, and grading of each component will be provided during the class.  Final grades are on a 100 point scale; there is no curve (we will be thrilled if everyone earns an A).  Late assignments lose 20% per day. There are no make-up or extra credit options.

Students and instructors are expected to adhere to the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity, including full acknowledgement of sources and assistance.  Plagiarism or other violations of academic principles will be handled according to UNH policy. 

Helpful information about recognizing and avoiding plagiarism is available in many places. We particularly recommend Abacus Bates Plagiarism Resource Site and strongly encourage you to work through it (including the self-quiz) before or during the class.

The UNH Library provides resources on citation styles and on avoiding plagiarism.


There are both philosophical and practical reasons to limit your time online during Marine Immersion. Most importantly, this week represents a unique opportunity for you to work intensively with a small, dedicated group of peers and instructors. Take advantage of it! Be present with us, not on facebook, instagram, snapchat, or elsewhere online. Per lab policy, we ask that you leave your phone in your dorm room unless you need it for a specific course-related activity. Bandwidth on the lab wireless network is limited, so please refrain from downloading large files (e.g. movies), playing online games, or engaging in other activities that will make it even slower – or possibly crash it altogether. Any non-academic internet use must occur outside the lab/classroom.

Marine Immersion nutshell schedule:

  • Details, updates, and corrections will be provided daily:
  • Check the whiteboard in Kiggins early and often!
  • Due dates for assignments will be posted in the lab.
  • Unless otherwise noted, breakfast 7:30; lunch 12:30; dinner 6pm; Sun. brunch 10 am, dinner 5:00 pm)

Sample Daily Schedule


  • Arrive on Appledore: welcome, “fire & water”/safety rules
  • Quiz 1 (on pre-assigned reading and project description)
  • Course intro/overview


  • Lab-based exercise on field sampling techniques
  • Introduction to local flora and fauna (in sea table)
  • Talk with guest student: Nate Kinsman


  • Quiz 2
  • Review syllabus & assignments
  • Field prep: safety, notebooks, team meetings
  • Fieldwork


  • Jeremy Miller, Invasive Species lecture
  • Debrief fieldwork
  • Field notebook activity
  • Experimental design 


  • Introduction to data organization and statistics
  • Dr. James Sulikowski, Shark Biology seminar
  • Review plans for Wed. fieldwork 


  • Quiz 3
  • How to read a scientific paper
  • Fieldwork


  • Krisanne Baker, Biological Illustration workshop
  • Work time/office hours
  • Statistics, continued


  • Grading exercise using rubric
  • Review plans for Thurs.: sign up for team and individual meetings
  • Talk with guest student, Taylor Lindsay
  • Intro to arts & crafts assignment

Morning/Afternoon - individual schedules will vary depending on fishing time

  • Quiz 4
  • Group DRAFT METHODS due (8:30 am)
  • Fishing with David Goethel aboard F/V Ellen Diane (three trips; groups and times TBD)
  • Talk with guest students, Anna Dorrance and Mackenzie Meier
  • Group meetings with Jason re: methods
  • Individual meetings with Jessica re: DRAFT INTRO. (due at meeting)
  • More on statistics
  • Fieldwork


  • Additional meeting times
  • Work time


  • Statistics troubleshooting, if needed
  • Work time/office hours
  • Fieldwork (as needed)


  • Draft RESULTS due at group meetings (1 document per group)
  • Work time/office hours


  • Dr. Inga Sidor, "So you want to be a dolphin doc..." lecture
  • Parallel research talks (Jessica/Jason); Academic Buddy System assignment
  • Work time


  • Group meetings (Jessica): INDIVIDUAL “ZERO DRAFT” OF DISCUSSION due at meeting
  • Marine mammal necropsy with Dr. Inga Sidor/Fish dissections


  • Work time/office hours/practice presentations


  • Project presentations
  • Turn in field notebooks
  • Work time


  • Final reports (including 1 printed copy) and all other work due (on team flash drive) due
  • Dorm cleanup
  • 10:00am Brunch (treasure boxes set out)


  • Lab cleanup
  • Free time
  • Transition to college discussion


  • Fish printing, cleanup

  • Luggage on dorm porches by 8
  • Students at dock by 9:00 (remember to pack your treasure box and fish prints
  • Depart SML 9:45am
  • Arrive Portsmouth ~ 11:30