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Faculty of Science
UNB Fredericton

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Biology Marine Block

and Research Experience Semester

Semester description

This special semester is intended for undergraduate students in their 3rd or 4th year of a Biology program. The semester will introduce students to many facets of Marine Biology through a rich blend of lecture, laboratory and field instruction.

The course will operate from the UNBF campus with trips to many ecologically diverse sites throughout the Bay of Fundy including visits to the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in scenic St. Andrews.


Courses will emphasize biological diversity in the marine environment, ecological methods in intertidal habitats, methods in physiological and molecular research pertinent to studying marine organisms, and aquaculture.

This broad range of disciplines encompasses many of the key skills and knowledge areas necessary for the contemporary marine biologist and will assist students in identifying appropriate specialties for further studies at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

BIOL 4211 Marine Research Experience 2ch (4L)

Students enrolled in the Marine Block semester will be introduced to the research themes and practices in the laboratories of their professors. Groups of students will cycle through all of the marine research labs for hands-on research experience throughout the semester. Students will be expected to compile short scientific-style reports outlining the results of their respective projects in each research laboratory experience.

BIOL 4221 Diversity of Marine Algae 5Ch (C/L/S)

  • Dr. Gary W. Saunders

This course will survey the diversity of marine plants (seaweeds & phytoplankton) relative to one another and the other key lineages of life; exploring their diverse anatomical, cytological, life history and ecological attributes. In the laboratory, students will use microscopy to explore vegetative and reproductive features of the various marine plants in our area. Emphasis will be placed on the use of molecular tools for the identification of morphologically cryptic species to assist in accurate biodiversity surveys and to explore and discuss aspects of algal biogeography and speciation.

BIOL 4641 Coastal Marine Ecology 5Ch (C/L/S)

  • Dr. Myriam Barbeau

This course examines the ecology of shorelines, with a focus on the Atlantic coast. Topics include the setting (continental drift, sea level, species origins, water movement), primary and secondary production, reproduction and recruitment, patterns (zonation) and processes (competition, mutualism, predation, disturbance), and main habitats (rocky shores, mudflats, salt marshes).

BIOL 4691 Biology of Marine Parasites 5ch (C/L/S)

  • Dr. Mike Duffy

Nearly every life form on earth is host to a parasite. This course emphasizes the hands-on study of parasites of invertebrate animals and marine fishes and incorporates field investigations and laboratory work. This course serves to integrate parasite diversity and life history, aspects of the ecology of parasitism, mechanisms of infection, epidemiology, host responses to infection, and pathology. Students will receive training in postmortem examination, microscopy, parasite identification and diagnosis (morphological and molecular).

BIOL 4981 Biology of Freshwater and Marine Fishes 5ch (C/L/S)

  • Dr. Tommi Linnansaari

An intensive course that combines lecture material on select taxonomic, organismal and process-oriented aspects of fish biology with laboratory and field investigations of applied fisheries science. Field trips to freshwater and marine sites will focus on sampling methods, assessing population size, species diversity, ecology and environmental impacts. Laboratory exercises will include ageing, fish taxonomy, development and comparative functional morphology.

BIOL 4991 Aquaculture in Canada 5Ch (C/L/S)

  • Dr Tillmann Benfey

This course examines the biological principles and constraints of commercial and pilot-scale aquaculture in Canada, with emphasis on the Atlantic region. The course begins with an introduction to the characteristics of water as they relate to culturing aquatic organisms. Major emphasis is placed on salmon aquaculture, including captive reproduction, applied genetics, stress and disease management, nutrition and feeding, biotechnology and systems design. Unique attributes of non-salmonid fish species are then examined in comparison to the salmon model. The same approach is used to provide an overview of bivalve aquaculture, with emphasis on mussel culture. Finally, there is an overview of current approaches to the culture of other relevant aquatic organisms, including seaweeds.

Application Procedure

If you are interested in the Marine Block program, simply go to your eServices portal and register for the courses listed here. You will be temporarily placed on a waiting list for each course while we check your prerequisites for the Block courses.

Upon admission to the program you must provide a deposit of $100 to secure a position in the semester. Enrollment is limited to 18 students, so apply early. All payments are to be made at Financial Services. Cost to student: Regular tuition + $750 ($100 deposit plus $650 at the start of the semester) - covers all field trip costs excluding food (except trips to the HMSC for which food is included).

If you have any questions please contact Dr. Mike Duffy.