Benthic Ecology Coursework

Project overview:
Crystal Lake (~0.1 ha) and North Pond (~0.05 ha) are two small waterbodies located on Appledore Island in the Gulf of Maine, 6 miles off the New Hampshire/Maine coast. These waterbodies provide a unique opportunity to investigate freshwater ecology within a remote, marine context. The Aquatic Ecology Intern will work closely with a Shoals Marine Laboratory mentor to conduct field research on the physical, chemical, and biological limnology of Crystal and North ponds. The intern will gain experience in field sampling methods for water quality monitoring, planktonic and benthic invertebrate sampling and taxonomy, and sediment sampling. Interns will prepare samples for laboratory analyses, including nutrients, heavy metals, and cyanotoxins. Database management skills and the ability to record detailed field notes and observations is essential. The intern will be a part of the larger SML Research Internship cohort and will participate in weekly discussions and lectures.

Appropriate coursework in aquatic ecology and/or limnology is required. Applicants with experience in biological and/or chemical monitoring in freshwater ecosystems are preferred. Previous experience at SML is preferred, but not required. Relevant SML courses include: Ecology & the Marine Environment, Coastal Habitat Field Research Methods, and the Shoals Research Apprenticeship.

Internship Mentor:
Dr. David Buck (Associate Director, SML)

Dates: June 4 – August 13, 2018 (10 weeks)

SML Research Symspoium: August 11, 2018

Stipend: $150/week
Includes room & board for 10 weeks, and roundtrip vessel transportation from Portsmouth, NH to Appledore Island. Interns are responsible for their own transportation to/from Portsmouth, NH at the beginning and end of the internship.

One intern will be selected.

The resources listed below provide introductions and overviews of various aspects of marine communities and the physical and biological processes that influence their ecology. Barnes and Hughes 2006 and Connell and Gillanders 2007 provide relatively recent general and very readable introductions to the field of marine ecology, but they are not strictly focused on community processes. At a more advanced and focused level, Bertness, et al. 2001, an edited volume, provides a detailed assessment of the field of marine community ecology and the various processes that are thought to regulate communities in a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems. The chapter by Denny and Wethey details the pervasive effects of physical forces on marine communities, which are often ignored in basic texts on marine ecology or biology. Bertness, et al. 2014 provides an update to Bertness, et al. 2001 that covers recent developments in the field. Gage and Tyler 1992 (deep sea), Gray and Elliott 2009 (soft sediments), and van Dover 2000 (hydrothermal vents) provide comprehensive overviews of specific ecosystems or habitat types that are widespread, and they include discussions of the processes that influence the structure, function, and dynamics of communities.

  • Barnes, R. S. K., and R. N. Hughes. 2006. An introduction to marine ecology. 3d ed. Chichester, UK: John Wiley.

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    A very readable introductory text that covers the basic ecology of many of the major marine biomes.

  • Bertness, M. D., J. F. Bruno, B. R. Silliman, and J. J. Stachowicz, eds. 2014. Marine community ecology and conservation. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.

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    An update to Bertness, et al. 2001 that provides an overview of recent developments in the field and includes new chapters that cover more contemporary issues in marine ecology and conservation.

  • Bertness, M. D., S. D. Gaines, and M. E. Hay, eds. 2001. Marine community ecology. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer.

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    An influential edited volume by some of the leading authorities in marine ecology exploring the physical and ecological forces that influence the assembly, structure, and dynamics of marine communities. The book covers a variety of different habitats and ecosystems as well as important conservation issues. The Denny and Wethey chapter in particular provides an excellent and lucid overview of the physical processes (flow and thermal) that influence benthic communities.

  • Connell, S. D., and B. Gillanders. 2007. Marine ecology. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    An overview of the biology, ecology, biogeography, and conservation of Australian marine communities and ecosystems.

  • Cowen, Robert K. ed. 2007. Special issue: Marine Population Connectivity. Oceanography 20.3.

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    An important series of papers that provide an excellent overview of the role of larval dispersal and connectivity in marine communities. The various papers consider how to measure larval dispersal and connectivity, estimate connectivity using bio-physical modeling as well as treating the implications and applications of connectivity to conservation.

  • Gage, J. D., and P. A. Tyler. 1992. Deep-sea biology: A natural history of organisms at the deep-sea floor. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Provides a detailed and comprehensive overview of the deep sea and the biology, ecology, and evolution of the fauna.

  • Gray, J. S., and M. Elliott. 2009. Ecology of marine sediments: From science to management. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    A detailed and informative synthesis of the biology, physiology, ecology, and management of the organisms that inhabit soft-sediment ecosystems, which cover most of the seafloor.

  • Hay, M. E. 2009. Marine chemical ecology: chemical signals and cues structure marine populations, communities, and ecosystems. Annual Review of Marine Science 1:193–212.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev.marine.010908.163708E-mail Citation »

    An important overview of the role of chemicals in marine ecology. Chemicals mediate a wide variety of ecological interactions, influence recruitment and alter physiological processes strongly affecting population structure, community organization, and ecosystem function.

  • Norse, E., and L. B. Crowder, eds. 2005. Marine conservation biology: The science of maintaining the sea’s biodiversity. Washington, DC: Island Press.

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    An edited volume providing a broad synthesis of marine conservation issues by the leading authorities in marine conservation. Foreward by Michael E. Soulé.

  • van Dover, C. L. 2000. The ecology of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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    An excellent overview of hydrothermal vents and the fauna that inhabit these unusual ecosystems. The book covers the physical environment, the chemosynthetic trophic foundations, and the physiology, ecology, and evolution of the fauna.

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