Marine Biology at the UA

UA courses in Marine Science:

Marine Biology (ECOL 183, 3 units, Spring Semester) Description:  Survey of the marine environment and its biotic communities, with emphasis on the natural history of marine organisms. Lecture and weekly lab, and one weekend field trip to Rocky Point. Professor Katrina Mangin

Marine Discovery (ECOL 450, 4 units, Fall Semester) Description:  A marine biology outreach program for grades 3-8. Undergraduates do all of the instruction in on-campus, inquiry-based workshops featuring marine diversity and conservation with a focus on the nearby Sea of Cortez. They also do a field ecology research project and present a research poster to the class. Required weekend field trip to Rocky Point. Professor Katrina Mangin

Marine Ecology and Conservation (ECOL 360, 3 units, Spring Semester) Description:  Major issues in marine ecology and conservation. Course is structured as a lecture/seminar. Professor Katrina Mangin

Aquatic Plants and the Environment (ECOL 474, 4 units). Description: The role of riparian areas, estuaries, and constructed wetlands in the environment. Emphasis on plants as wildlife habitat for nutrient cycling and bioremediation.

Freshwater and Marine Algae (ECOL 475/575, 4 units) Description:  Systematics, ecology, and evolution of planktonic and benthic species; field techniques and lab culture.  This is a Writing Emphasis Course. Professor Kevin Fitzsimmons

Introduction to Oceanography (GEOS 212, 3 units) Description:  Introduces the oceans and their geological, physical, chemical and biological processes with emphasis on their history and formation and the interactions of humans with the marine environment. Professors George Gehrels and Joellen Russell.

Ocean Sciences  (GEOS 412A, 4 units) Description:  Course covers ocean science from broad geological, biological, chemical and physical perspectives. Topics include seafloor geology, wave phenomena, ocean circulation and climate, marine ecosystems, and environmental issues. Weekend field trip to San Carlos, Mexico. Professors Andy Cohen and Julia Cole.

Galapagos Marine Ecology (ECOL 496O/596O, 6 units)
Description: Students spend one month in the summer in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, studying marine biology and evolution of the unique animals of this region. Each student does an independent research project on a topic in marine biology, and spends one week working with children in a local school. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Professor Katrina Mangin

Ichthyology (ECOL 482/582, 4 units) Description:  Ecology, evolution and systematics of fishes, with field and lab emphasis on Gulf of California and Arizona fishes.  Field trip to the Gulf of California. Professor Peter Reinthal

Teaching Training in Ecology (ECOL 497a) Description: Be an undergraduate teaching assistant in Marine Discovery or Marine Biology. Prerequisite: ECOL 183, or ECOL 450 with an “A”. Professor Katrina Mangin

Biology of the Oceans (ECOL 410A, 4 units). Biology of the Oceans (ECOL 410A, 4 units). Description: This course will provide a brief overview of oceanography only to set the stage for exploring the diversity and ecology of biological organisms in ocean systems, as well as how biological processes (including human activity) shape ocean physics, chemistry and geology. Professor Matt Sullivan

Other UA courses that include the study of marine animals:

Ecological Anthropology  (ANTH 307, 3 units) Description:  Cultural adaptation with emphasis on the systematic interaction of environment, technology, and social organization among hunter-gatherers, nomadic herders, and peasant farmers. Satisfies Gen Ed. and includes discussion of marine fisheries issues.

Microbial Diversity  (ECOL 329A, 3 units) Description:  Microbial diversity is a course offered to students in Microbiology, and to other majors with an interest in the remarkable genetic, species-level, phylogenetic, functional, and ecological diversity of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms.

Paleontology  (GEOS/ECOL 308, 3 units) Description:  Basic principles and concepts; morphology and classification of fossils; their occurrence, distribution, geologic and evolutionary significance.

Ornithology  (ECOL 484, 4 units) Description:  Natural history of birds and its bearing upon the problems of animal behavior, distribution, and evolution.

Herpetology (ECOL 483, 4 units) Description: We will begin by learning about the origins of amphibians and reptiles.  We will survey the extant taxa and learn about aspects of ecology, physiology, morphology, intra- and inter-specific interactions, and conservation. Field trips.

Mammalogy  (ECOL 485, 4 units) Description:  Systematics, ecology, and evolution of mammals. Field trip to Chiricahua Mountains, Southwest Research Station.

General background courses at the UA good for marine science careers:

Limnology  (WFSC/ECOL 441, 4 units)
Biogeography  (ECOL/GEOS 438, 3 units)
Evolutionary Biology (ECOL 335)
Animal Behavior (ECOL 487/587)
Ecology (ECOL 302)
Environmental Biology (ECOL 206)
Vertebrate Diversity (ECOL 303)
Evolution of Animal Form and Function (ECOL 330)
Conservation Biology (ECOL 406)
Global Change (ECOL 478)

Faculty at the UA who do research related to marine biology and marine science:

Dr. Julia Cole. Geosciences Department, corals and past climates
Dr. Joellen Russell, Geosciences Department, Oceanography
Dr. Karl Flessa, Geosciences Department, marine fossils of the Gulf of California\
Dr. Jeremiah Hackett, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, dinoflagellates and other plankton
Dr. Matt Sullivan, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, marine viruses
Dr. Rafe Sagarin, Institute of the Environment, marine ecology and human impact

Clubs on UA Campus related to marine biology:

Marine Awareness and Conservation Society (MACS)

Spend summers or a semester studying at a marine biology institution:

Minorities in Marine Sciences Program, Shannon Point, Washington
Semester at Sea, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole, Mass.
Research Experiences for Undergraduates, National Science Foundation

Other ways to get prepared to study marine biology:

Get involved in any form of science, even if not marine biology – volunteer at the Desert Museum or the Tucson Zoo.
Google  “career marine biology” to see a list of university and government sites devoted to this topic.

For more information contact Dr. Katrina Mangin, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 520-626-5076,

Document updated: November 6, 2012