Course Title:  BIO 368 - Marine Biology (4 CR)

Instructor:  Dr. Anthony L. Swinehart

Location:  Layton, Long Key, Florida (see map at left)

Summer Term 1:  Depart @ 7:00am, Thursday, May 17,
2018; Return on Monday, June 4, 2018.
Course Description:

This course focuses on the ecology of shallow
marine ecosystems of the Florida Keys.  The
course includes lectures on geologic history,
anthropogenic disturbance, biological classification,
and the interrelationships between the biotic and
abiotic components of the ecosystem.  A
substantial portion of the course involves a
research project on a marine ecosystem of Long
Key.  The primary objectives of the research are to
1) examine spatial changes in biota along abiotic
gradients, and 2) examine temporal community
change by comparing data from previous classes.  
Evaluation of student comprehension of the
material is based on two written exams, a
laboratory practical, and a term paper.
Course Details

This is not a "blow-off class".  If your perception of  
a course in marine biology is swimming with
dolphins and sunning yourself on a white sandy
beach while looking for shells, this is not the
course for you.  This is a field-oriented course.  It is
physical in nature and requires perseverance,
teamwork, diplomacy, and a good attitude.  
Activities in the course can be spontaneous based
on water and weather conditions.  Be prepared for
the unexpected.  There are no sandy beaches in
the vicinity of the laboratory.  It's all coral rock.

You must receive permission from Dr. Swinehart to
take the course.  To be placed on the reserve list,
you must send Dr. Swinehart an application via
mail.  Space is limited, and qualified students are
admitted on the basis of several criteria, including
major, year in college, and demonstrated interest in
Marine Biology.  There will be a waiting list for
those that do not make the reserve list.

Cost of the Course:  The cost of this 4-credit
course is approximately $2200.00, which includes
tuition and room.  Food is the responsibility of the
student.  There are kitchens at the station and
students organize food groups and share costs and
cooking duties.  Average cost for food per student
for the course is about $200.00.

Required Meeting:  There will be a required
informational / organizational meeting in March.  
Details will come via e-mail.

Travel:  Students will travel in College vans from
Hillsdale College to Layton, Florida, and from
Layton, Florida, to Hillsdale College.  No
exceptions on the travel itinerary.  Students may
elect to travel on their own, but they must take care
of all arrangements, including local travel to the
marine lab from the airport, etc.

Daily Schedule:  Lecture is from 8am to 10:30 am
Monday through Saturday.  Fieldwork is from 10:30
to noon and from 1:30pm - 4pm Monday through
Saturday.  Laboratory work is from 7pm to 10pm
Monday through Saturday.  There are no formal
class activities on Sundays.

Fieldwork:  The field and laboratory work is
divided into three sections:  Qualitative Week,
Quantitative Week, and Analytical Week.  
Qualitative week involves collection and
identification of organisms from the research site.  
Students become familiar with tools used to identify
marine organisms and learn the common taxa for
later application to quantitative work.  Quantitative
Week involves the establishment of transects and
quadrats at the research site and collection of
frequency, density, cover, and importance values
for sessile, non-sessile, and interstitial benthic
biota.  Finally, Analytical Week is when students
begin to develop graphs and perform statistical
analyses that address the objectives of their

Boat Trips:  On many occasions, afternoons will
be occupied by boat trips that will focus on
illustrating the variety of marine habitats in the
Long Key area, including turtle grass flats, soft-
coral flats, porites flats, and hard coral patch reefs.  
Additionally, there may be auxiliary laboratories in
the afternoon on the plankton community, the
sargassum community, and deep-water benthic
sampling.  The course utilizes  Hillsdale College's
pontoon, the RV E. J. Veldheer.

Other Activities:  In addition to lectures,
fieldwork, labs, and boat trips, the class also takes
a trip to Key West to see the museums and visit the
shops.  This is primarily a leisure activity and is a
privilege, not a right.  Hillsdale College guidelines
for conduct and alcohol policy are in effect, and
failure to abide by College and course rules at any
time during the semester will result in expulsion
from the course, immediate travel back to the
college at the student's expense, and a grade of
"F" in the course.

Facilities:  The marine laboratory is a two-story
building located on the Zane Grey Creek on Long
Key, Florida.  The upper level includes men's and
women's dormitories, kitchens, shower facilities,
dining area and living room.  The lower level
consists of a wet lab.

What to Bring:

You should plan on bringing as much spending
money as you can.  The opportunity to live and
learn in the Florida Keys for three weeks does not
present itself often.  You will want to partake in
local cuisine and souvenirs, etc.

PACK LIGHTLY!  Space is limited in the vans.  If
you bring too much, Dr. Swinehart will require that
you leave items locked in his lab at the College,
and they will not be permitted on the vans.  You
may bring the following:   One medium-sized duffel
bag, 1 bag for bedding, 1 computer case (optional
but recommended), fishing pole (optional).

A partial list...

  • Bedding for a twin-size bunk.
  • Towels, washcloth, shampoo, soap, etc.
  • Razor, shaving cream, etc.
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent
  • Field clothes (T-shirts, shorts)
  • One set of Sunday Clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Laptop computer with Microsoft Office
  • Composition notebook and writing utensils.
  • Fishing pole (optional)
  • Flashlight

What can you expect?

You can expect a balance of hardwork and leisure /
fun.  You can expect to learn about how to do
science, the intricate web of marine life, how to be
a contributing member of a group, how to resolve
group conflicts and deal with different personalities,
how to survive without a vehicle, how to entertain
yourself without a TV and other "technology", a
course unlike any other you have taken or will ever
take, and memories that last a lifetime.
Marine Biology
Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College's "RV E. J. Veldheer"
Celebrating 18 years!