See attached spread sheet. This course is anticipated to be offered once every 2-3 years, or when student demand warrants. No fees were charged when it was first offered (2019) and expenses were split between the department of Biological Sciences and a private foundation. The proposed CMF will keep the course affordable for students and enable our department to cover its share of the costs.
Molecular Aquatic Ecology is an intensive 3-week field and lab course. Students get hands-on field and lab experiences in organism collection, microsocopy and taxonomy, PCR, DNA sequencing, quantitative and bioinformatic analysis of molecular data, and microscopic and physiological measurements. Students propose independent projects using molecular analysis, DNA sequence analysis, microscopy, or physiological measurements to answer questions they have proposed about biodiversity, ecological relationships, and physiological adaptations. Study subjects rare organisms found in local aquatic environments, including the Rouge River, the Detroit River, Belle Isle wetlands, or Lake St. Clair.
Molecular techniques are increasingly used to detect environmental problems and to guide their solutions. By learning the theory and practice of molecular aquatic ecology, as outlined in the description of the course, students become prepared to apply these techniques to real-world problems. Examples are discovering impacts of pollution on biodiversity, identifying sources of pathogens and contaminants, studying interactions of organisms that enhance or diminish environmental esthetics and safety, anticipating problems of climate change, etc.