Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology Major (B.S.)

Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology Major (B.S.)

MEFB Students out on Saywer Pond

What is marine, estuarine and freshwater biology?

Marine, estuarine and freshwater biology is a wide-ranging discipline that covers everything from the smallest aquatic microbes to whales, as well as emerging opportunities in shellfish, fish and seaweed farming. The program builds on a core curriculum in math, chemistry, physics and biology, and branches out into the aquatic sciences. Students specialize in their own areas of interest, preparing for exciting careers in fields including research, teaching, conservation, restoration, fisheries and aquaculture.

Why study marine, estuarine and freshwater biology at UNH?

State-of-the-art facilities, hands-on learning with an emphasis on undergraduate student research, and an incredible location make UNH the perfect place to study marine, estuarine and freshwater biology. The university is close to the New Hampshire Seacoast, the Lakes Region and the White Mountain National Forest, providing endless opportunities to study aquatic organisms and ecosystems. UNH has aquaculture facilities and coastal and estuarine research laboratories such as Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, Coastal Marine Laboratory and Shoals Marine Laboratory. Together with Cornell University, it administers the summer undergraduate programs at the Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine.

Potential careers

  • Aquariums and ecotourism
  • Biotechnology
  • Conservation/environmental protection
  • Education
  • Environmental consulting
  • Fisheries/aquaculture/ecological restoration
  • Fisheries management
  • Research

Contact

University of New Hampshire
Spaulding Hall
38 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824

  • An Internship Caring for Marine Animals Includes Lessons in Adaptability
    Marisa Gazzola ’20 is a marine, estuarine and freshwater biology major from Harrison, New York. She spent summer 2019 interning at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island, Florida.
    An Internship Caring for Marine Animals Includes Lessons in Adaptability
    Marisa Gazzola ’20 is a marine, estuarine and freshwater biology major from Harrison, New York. She spent summer 2019 interning at the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center on Hutchinson Island, Florida.
  • A Goodbye, a Surprise Hello and an Unexpected Honor
    In May, botanical sciences professor Alan (Al) Baker retired after 47 years at UNH, and the department of biological sciences threw Baker a retirement party that included a surprise guest.
    A Goodbye, a Surprise Hello and an Unexpected Honor
    In May, botanical sciences professor Alan (Al) Baker retired after 47 years at UNH, and the department of biological sciences threw Baker a retirement party that included a surprise guest.
  • A Lifelong Lover of Marine Animals Finds Her Calling
    Mary Kate Munley '21 is driven to keep seizing opportunities and gaining the skills and knowledge she needs for a successful and rewarding career as a marine biologist.
    A Lifelong Lover of Marine Animals Finds Her Calling
    Mary Kate Munley '21 is driven to keep seizing opportunities and gaining the skills and knowledge she needs for a successful and rewarding career as a marine biologist.
  • Determined to make a difference
    Emily Ray ’20 came to UNH with a strong interest in studying shark behavior, but shifted her focus to cyanobacteria in freshwater lakes after working in...
    Determined to make a difference
    Emily Ray ’20 came to UNH with a strong interest in studying shark behavior, but shifted her focus to cyanobacteria in freshwater lakes after working in...

Curriculum & Requirements

The Major in Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology is intended to give students interested in the fields of marine and freshwater biology the background to pursue careers, including potential advanced study, in this area of biology.  The major builds on a broad set of basic scientific courses represented by a core curriculum in math, chemistry, physics and biology.  The background in basic science is combined with a series of required and elective courses in the aquatic sciences from watershed to ocean.  The goal is to provide a solid foundation of knowledge in freshwater, estuarine and marine biology while having the flexibility to focus on particular areas of scientific interest from molecular biology to ecosystem studies. Students will have the opportunity to specialize in areas of their own interest, such as aquaculture and fisheries, animal behavior or ecological restoration.

The University's location and facilities provide unique opportunities for the study of aquatic organisms and systems due to its access to the seacoast and the lakes region of New Hampshire, White Mountain National Forest, and the presence of three coastal marine and estuarine laboratories, as well as estuarine and freshwater facilities. There is a strong teaching and research emphasis on ecological and physiological processes in aquatic plants, animals and ecosystems. A major strength of the program is the hands-on approach to teaching combined with an emphasis on involving undergraduate students in research.

Biological Sciences Core
BIOL 412Introductory Biology: Evolution, Biodiversity and Ecology4
BIOL 411Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular4
BIOL 541Ecology4
BMS 503
BMS 504
General Microbiology
and General Microbiology Laboratory
5
GEN 604Principles of Genetics4
CHEM 403General Chemistry I4
CHEM 404General Chemistry II4
CHEM 545
CHEM 546
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory
5
BMCB 658
BMCB 659
General Biochemistry
and General Biochemistry Lab
5
MATH 424BCalculus for Life Sciences4
or BIOL 633 Data Analysis for Life Science
or BIOL 711 Experimental Design & Analysis
BIOL 528Applied Biostatistics I4
PHYS 401Introduction to Physics I4
PHYS 402Introduction to Physics II4
MEFB Required Courses
MEFB 401Marine Estuarine and Freshwater Biology: Freshmen Seminar1
MEFB 503Introduction to Marine Biology4
Choose one Freshwater course:4
MEFB 719Field Studies in Lake Ecology (C)4
or MEFB 717 Lake Ecology
Choose one Physiology/Function course:4-5
ZOOL 625
ZOOL 626
Principles of Animal Physiology
and Animal Physiology Laboratory
or ZOOL 773
Physiology of Fish
Choose one Marine or Estuarine course:4
MEFB 725
Marine Ecology
or ZOOL 750
Biological Oceanography
Choose one Animal Survey course:
ZOOL 542Ornithology4
ZOOL 628Marine Invertebrate Evolution and Ecology5
ZOOL 710Elasmobranchs and Bony Fishes4
MEFB Electives: Choose 3
Evolution, Systematics and Biodiversity
BIOL 566Systematic Botany4
GEN 713Microbial Ecology and Evolution4
NR 504Freshwater Resources4
MEFB 625Introduction to Marine Botany4
ZOOL 518Vertebrate Morphology5
ZOOL 542Ornithology4
ZOOL 628Marine Invertebrate Evolution and Ecology5
ZOOL 690Evolution (C) 14
ZOOL 710Elasmobranchs and Bony Fishes4
MEFB 510Field Ornithology (SML)4
MEFB 630Biodiversity and Biology of Marine Invertebrates (SML)4
MEFB 754Anatomy and Function of Marine Vertebrates (SML)4
Fisheries and Aquaculture
ZOOL 610Principles of Aquaculture4
ZOOL 750Biological Oceanography 14
ZOOL 772Fisheries Biology: Conservation and Management3
ZOOL 773Physiology of Fish 14
MEFB 702Sustainable Marine Fisheries (SML)4
Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Ecology
NR 744Biogeochemistry4
ESCI 501Introduction to Oceanography4
GEN 713Microbial Ecology and Evolution4
NR 703Watershed Water Quality Management4
NR 711Wetland Ecology and Management4
MEFB 625Introduction to Marine Botany4
MEFB 717Lake Ecology 14
MEFB 719Field Studies in Lake Ecology (C) 14
MEFB 725Marine Ecology (C) 14
MEFB 732Lake Management (C)4
MEFB 747Aquatic Plants in Restoration/Management4
ZOOL 628Marine Invertebrate Evolution and Ecology5
ZOOL 733Behavioral Ecology (C)4
ZOOL 750Biological Oceanography 14
MEFB 515Marine Environmental Science and Conservation (SML)4
MEFB 674Ecology and Marine Environment (SML)4
MEFB 714Field Animal Behavior (SML)4
MEFB 751Research in Marine Biology (SML, C)4
Physiology, Behavior and Cell Biology
ANSC 701Physiology of Reproduction4
BIOL 701Plant Physiology4
BMCB 605Principles of Cell Biology4
BMS 716Public Health: Food- and Water-borne Diseases4
MEFB 714Field Animal Behavior (SML)4
ZOOL 625
ZOOL 626
Principles of Animal Physiology
and Animal Physiology Laboratory 1
5
ZOOL 733Behavioral Ecology4
ZOOL 773Physiology of Fish 14
ZOOL 777Neuroethology: The Neural Basis of Animal Behavior3
Research and Special Projects 2
BIOL 600Field Experience (C)1-4
BIOL 795Independent Investigations (C)1-4
BMS 795Investigations in Biomedical Science (C)1-8
MEFB 732Lake Management (C)4
MEFB 730Underwater Research (SML, C)4
MEFB 751Research in Marine Biology (SML, C)4
TECH 797Undergraduate Ocean Research Project (C) 32
ZOOL 795Special Investigations (C)1-4
Capstone 4

Courses marked with (SML) are courses taught in the summer at the Shoals Marine Laboratory.

Courses marked with (C) can be used to fulfill the Capstone requirement.

Courses listed in more than one category will satisfy requirements in only one category.

A minimum grade of C- is required in all biological science courses that are counted toward the requirements for a degree in MEFB. Students who expect to compete successfully for post-baccalaureate programs should attain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher by the end of the sophomore year and maintain it at that level.

Note: It is strongly recommended that students participate in an exchange semester at another university or in a field-oriented program or internship. There are many exchange opportunities available in which a full semester of credits toward the major may be earned. In addition, students should explore the courses at the Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML), which provides an excellent setting for several "field-oriented" courses during the summer. Often there is financial support available for the SML programs (see the SML website for details http://marine.unh.edu/sml/ or the Cornell web site at www.sml.cornell.edu). It is further recommended that students explore possibilities of one or more semesters of independent investigation (research projects). For details, students should contact their adviser. Financial support is available for most of these programs.

Pre-health Professional Program

MEFB majors who wish to pursue postgraduate degrees in the health care professions should visit www.unh.edu/premed-advising. The following elective courses will be helpful in preparing for admission to post-baccalaureate programs in the health professions and for their required aptitude examinations: BMS 702, ZOOL 518, ZOOL 625 and ZOOL 626, BMCB 605, BMCB 751 and BMCB 752, ANSC 511 and ANSC 512.

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