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University Course Schedules


Examples of Course Options for First-Year marine science graduate students at UT-Austin

BIO 320   CELL BIOLOGY           FALL
BIO 326R   GENERAL MICROBIOLOGY:MICROBIAL CELL STRUCTURE & GENETICS FALL
BIO 344   MOLECULAR BIOLOGY         SPRING
BIO 370   EVOLUTION           SPRING
BIO 380R   ADVANCED READINGS IN BIOLOGICAL   SCIENCE     FALL
BIO 383K   7-SMNR IN PHYSIOL AND BEHAVIOR       SPRING
BIO 383K   7-SMNR IN PHYSIOL AND BEHAVIOR       FALL
BIO 383K   STUDIES IN ANIMAL SEXUALITY       SPRING
BIO 384C   INTRO TO ECOL/EVOL/BEHAVIOR I       FALL
BIO 384D   INTRO TO ECOL/EVOL/BEHAVIOR II         SPRING
BIO 384K   ADVANCED TOPICS IN MICROBIAL ECOLOGY         FALL
BIO 384K   CONSERVATION BIOLOGY         SPRING
BIO 384K   LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY     FALL
BIO 384K   PHYLOGEN PERSP ECOL/EVOL/BEHAV     FALL
BIO 384L   ISSUES IN POPULATION BIOLOGY       FALL
BIO 386   TOPICS IN CONSERVATION BIOLOGY       FALL
BIO 388M   PLANT MOLECULAR BIOLOGY         FALL
BIO 390C   FUNDAMENTALS OF EVOLUTION             FALL
BIO 390D   FNDMNTLS INTG ANIMAL BEHAV             FALL
BIO 393   BIOFUELS             SPRING
BIO 395M   ADVANCED MICROBIOLOGY         SPRING
C E 394K   3-GEOG INFO SYS IN WATER RES       FALL
CH 369   FUNDAMENTALS OF BIOCHEMISTRY       SPRING
CH 391L   BIOINFORMATICS           SPRING
CRP 383   ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND LAW       SPRING
EER 396   ENERGY LAW           FALL
GEO 381G   GEOMICROBIOLOGY         FALL
GEO 382S   PHYSICAL HYDROLOGY         FALL
GEO 391   PALEOCLIMATOLOGY         FALL
GEO 391   FUNDAMENTALS/APPLIC OF ICP-MS       FALL
GEO 388H   ENVIRONMENTAL ISOTOPE GEOCHEM       SPRING
GEO 388L   ISOTOPE GEOLOGY           FALL
GRG 396T   SPECIES DISTRIBUTION MODELING       SPRING
MOL 395J   GENES/GENOMES/GENE EXPRESSN           FALL
M E 397   LASERS AND OPTICS           SPRING
PHR 384K   FUNDAMENTALS OF TOXICOLOGY       FALL
PHR 390N   BIOCHEM AND MOLEC TOXICOLOGY       SPRING
PSY 384K   ADV STATS: EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN       SPRING
PSY 394T   REGRESSION ANALYSIS         FALL
SDS 380C   STATISTICAL METHODS  I                               FALL
SDS 383C   STATISTICAL MODELING I             FALL
SDS 384   4-REGRESSION ANALYSIS             FALL

CORE COURSES

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MNS 481C. Marine Ecosystem Dynamics (Chris Biggs / Ken Dunton)
Taught Every Fall

Interactions between organisms and the physical processes that regulate productivity and distribution of marine life in oceanic and coastal ecosystems. Four lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: Graduate standing; and either consent of instructor or the following: six semester hours of coursework in biological sciences chosen from Biology 311C, 311D, and the equivalent; and Chemistry 301 and 302, or the equivalent.

MNS 482C. Marine Biogeochemistry (Zhanfei Liu / TBD)
Taught Every Fall

Study of chemical, biological, geological, and physical processes that influence cycling of bioactive elements in marine waters and sediments. Four lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: Graduate standing; and either consent of instructor or the following: Physical Science 303 and 304, or the equivalent; Chemistry 301, 302, 310M (or 610A), and 310N (or 610B), or the equivalent; and six semester hours of coursework in biological sciences chosen from Biology 311C, 311D, and the equivalent.

MNS 483C. Adaptations to the Marine Environment (Lee Fuiman / Peter Thomas)
Taught Every Spring

The physiological basis for organismal and population-level responses to marine environments. Four lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: Graduate standing; and either consent of instructor or the following: six semester hours of coursework in biological sciences chosen from Biology 311C, 311D, and the equivalent; and Chemistry 301 and 302, or the equivalent.

MNS 191. Seminar in Marine Science: Scientific Communication - Chris Biggs
Taught Every Spring

Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas – Taught virtually.
Recent advances in the marine sciences, discussed by students, faculty and staff members, and guest lecturers. Topics to be announced. Must be taken twice to fulfil degree requirements.

ADVANCED COURSES

(All advanced courses are taught on an alternating year schedule)

*The Graduate Studies Committee of the Department of Marine Science will periodically add or delete advanced courses from this list depending upon program needs and faculty workloads. Students are required to enroll in a minimum of six hours of MNS advanced courses and encouraged to communicate with their thesis advisor in the selection of advanced courses. Course Title and Description are updated the semester prior to their listing for fall or spring semester.

 

Fall Semester (Odd Years)

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Genomics in Ocean Sciences - Brett Baker

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Populations and Fisheries - Lee Fuiman

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Wetland Landscape Ecology/Remote Sensing - Jessica O'Connell

 

Spring Semester (Even Years)

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Science and Policy or Biological Oceanography – TBD

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Trophic Ecology - Jordan Casey

MNS 293. Topics in Marine Science: Marine and Organic Geochemistry - Zhanfei Liu

MNS 382. Principles of Marine Science: Estuarine Ecology - Ken Dunton

MNS 393. Topic 11. Topics in Marine Science: Coastal Watersheds - TBD

 

Fall Semester (Even Years)

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Scientific Writing Workshop - Deana Erdner

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Reproductive Physiology of Fish - Peter Thomas

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Aquatic Toxicology and Risk Assessment - Kristin Nielsen

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Coral Reef Ecosystems/Coral Reef Biology - Simon Brandl

 

Spring Semester (Odd Years)

MNS 193. Topic 10. Topics in Marine Science: Zooplankton Ecology - Ed Buskey

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Environmental Physiology of Fishes - Andrew Esbaugh

MNS 193. Topic 7. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Botany - Ken Dunton

MNS 382 Principles of Marine Science: Phytoplankton Diversity – Deana Erdner

MNS 382 Principles of Marine Science: Marine Botany – Ken Dunton

 

FALL 2022: 

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Environmental Justice and the Ocean - Deana Erdner
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas -  not video linked. This class will explore the history and concepts of environmental justice and environmental equity. This will include group and individual investigation of issues of environmental justice in marine systems.

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Coral Reef Ecosystems/Coral Reef Biology - Simon Brandl
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas - not video-linked. Coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystems, but are threatened by a wide range of anthropogenic stressors. In this course, students will learn about the most important ecological concepts that underpin your understanding of coral reef ecosystems. Furthermore, by reading and discussing a variety of literature related to coral reefs, students will identify crucial questions we have yet to address, and develop a broad comprehension of emerging research frontiers in coral reef biology. The course is based on reading primary literature and various discussion-based formats. 

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Aquatic Toxicology and Risk Assessment - Kristin Nielsen
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas. This class will explore theory and risk assessment methodologies used by scientists, regulatory agencies, and industry to evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic activities on aquatic and aquatic-dependent receptors, as well as human health.

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Reproductive Physiology of Fish - Peter Thomas
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas – not video-linked. Environmental and endocrine control of reproduction in teleost fishes including the role of hypothalamus/pituitary/gonadal axis, neuroendocrine pathways, genomic and nongenomic steroid actions, ovarian cycle, and gamete physiology.

 

SPRING 2022

MNS 393. Topic 11. Topics in Marine Science: Coastal Watersheds - Jim McClelland/Melinda Taylor
Classes are offered over a video link so that students at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas as well as Austin can participate.
This course fosters an integrated understanding of the science, law, and policy related to issues such as land use, water use, and climate change in coupled watershed-coastal ocean systems. The course is interdisciplinary and listed in both the Law School and the Department of Marine Science. There are three major course components: (1) topical lectures, (2) literature discussions, and (3) case studies. The literature discussions allow us to delve into specific topics in detail, whereas the case studies foster a system-level understanding of select sites around the country. Students work on the case studies in small, interdisciplinary groups. The case studies will be selected from distinct regions of the U.S. subject to different climate regimes, land/water use patterns, and oceanographic conditions. Factors influencing the quantity and quality of water exported from land and oceanographic characteristics that mediate the response of coastal ecosystems to changes in watershed export are emphasized. Law, management, planning, and policy initiatives related to issues of water quality, water quantity, and sustainability of coupled watershed-coastal ocean systems are also emphasized. Groups give a formal presentation on their case study findings near the end of the semester. Students also write independent papers or proposals focusing on specific research, mitigation, education efforts, or legal or regulatory changes needed to improve understanding and management of their case study systems. The last week of class focuses on cross-site comparisons and discussion of idealized management scenarios that draw from the most effective aspects of individual case studies. Two lecture hours and one laboratory hour a week for one semester. Taught every other spring.

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Trophic Ecology - Jordan Casey
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas - Taught face-to-face.
This course focuses on trophic interactions in marine communities. It will provide an overview of seminal publications in trophic ecology and explore analytical techniques used to track ingestion and nutrient exchange among marine organisms, including behavioral observations, cutting-edge molecular techniques, and statistical modeling. Students will present and lead discussions on notable, recent publications. As a final project, they will write a proposal involving trophic ecology in their study system of interest.

MNS 193. Topic 7. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Organic Chemistry - Zhanfei Liu
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas – taught face-to-face.
Marine Organic Geochemistry is the study of the transformations of organic matter from its origins in biological organisms through its preservation in marine environments. This course will introduce you to the field of marine organic geochemistry and its applications to understanding the sources and fates of organic matter in the water column of marine systems as well as that deposited to modern and ancient sediments. The course will be a combination of lectures and discussion.

 

FALL 2021:

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Genomics in Ocean Sciences - Brett Baker
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas - not video-linked
This course will focus on how recent innovations in omic sequencing (DNA and RNA) have revolutionized our understanding of the biogeochemistry and ecology of marine life. It will involve reading and discussing a breadth of publications on topic; including methods, reviews, and environmentally focused studies.

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Populations and Fisheries - Lee Fuiman
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas - not video-linked
Many marine scientists are charged with the task of applying the principles of population biology toward management of exploited populations of marine organisms in an effort to balance the needs for harvest (commercial or recreational) against sustainability. In this course, students will read and discuss important publications dealing with the principles of marine population biology, including topics such as age and growth, mortality, recruitment stock identification, connectivity, and the contributions of early life stages to population biology.

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Remote Sensing Field Methods - Jessica O'Connell
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas - not video-linked
The course will educate students on the subject of field remote sensing of coastal habitats. Considerable emphasis will be placed on research methods and procedures, including systematic approaches to data collection, field spectroscopy by means of sensors with high spectral resolution, and subsequent analyses of acquired data.

Students will design and implement their own independent field remote sensing projects and analyze their data in R. Final grades will be derived from a presentation of project results to the class.

Students should have prior experience coding in R before taking this course. If you want more practice, try the R programming lessons available online from Software Carpentry (https://software-carpentry.org/lessons/).

 

SPRING 2021

MNS 193. Topic 10. Topics in Marine Science: Zooplankton Ecology - Ed Buskey
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas – Taught face-to-face.
Why study marine zooplankton? True, they are small, weak swimmers, and difficult to see without a microscope, but they are an essential component in marine food webs and include larval forms for most marine invertebrates. Class topics may include: collecting and sampling zooplankton, physiology, feeding ecology, population biology, reproduction, behavior and sensory perception.

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Environmental Physiology of Fishes - Andrew Esbaugh
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas - Taught face-to-face.
Fishes are the most diverse vertebrate group on the planet and live in a variety of different environments. Furthermore, many fish species can transition between very different environments. This class will explore the mechanistic physiology associated with survival in different aquatic habitats and the role of physiology in understanding the impacts of environmental degradation on fish survival and performance. Specific subjects may include the thermodynamics of water and ion balance, pH balance and respiratory physiology as well as phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental change.

MNS 193. Topic 7. Topics in Marine Science: Marine Botany - Ken Dunton
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas – taught face-to-face.
Marine Botany will introduce students to the marine vegetation of the major coastal biomes of the world, including but not limited to seagrasses, marshes, mangroves, and seaweeds. The purpose of this class is to provide graduate level inquiry-based exploration on topics including ecology, diversity, natural history, reproduction, photosynthetic strategies, and biotic responses to a warming climate.  Field trips will broaden students understanding of the ecology of these systems with respect to habitat, biotic interactions, community structure, and biotic linkages to consumers. The course format consists of seven meetings that include a background lecture followed by field trips to specific vegetation assemblages. Each student is expected to lead one discussion based on assigned readings from the primary literature and write a final paper on a selected topic. The course uses a thematic approach and is divided into two major parts: a section that concentrates on plant photophysiology and ecology and a section on vegetation assemblages. Students will gain a wonderful appreciation and understanding of the diversity of marine plants and their unique strategies of growth, photosynthesis and reproduction from readings, class discussions, guest lectures, and field trips.

Principles of Marine Science: Phytoplankton Diversity - MNS 382 - Deana Erdner
T 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. lecture in Port Aransas ERC seminar room
T 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. lab in Port Aransas
Face-to-Face

This course will cover the taxonomy of the major phytoplankton groups, their physiology, and their role in marine ecosystems. Through a combination of field sampling, lectures, and practical laboratory exercises, you will investigate the composition and distribution of planktonic algae and how they respond to environmental change. You will be introduced to sampling regimes, identification techniques, counting methods, and a variety of modern analytical tools (flow cytometry, fluorescence microscopy, PAM fluorometry, microsens O2 sensor) used to study phytoplankton physiology. Major course topics include (broadly based):

  • Evolution of major phytoplankton lineages, including endosymbiotic theory and endosymbiotic event(s)
  • Identification of phytoplankton, including differences in cellular structure and physiology among phytoplankton groups
  • Growth of phytoplankton, including photosynthesis, light responses, nutrient requirements
  • Composition of phytoplankton communities: how they change and how they affect ecosystem function
  • Global patterns of phytoplankton distribution, diversity, and function
  • Role of phytoplankton in food webs
  • Topical issues in phytoplankton ecology, such as harmful algal blooms, hypoxia, ocean acidification, climate change, polar systems
  • Graduate students are expected to participate in one hour discussions section each week and perform additional/graduate level work as prescribed in the syllabus

 

FALL 2020: 

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Scientific Writing Workshop - Deana Erdner
This course will focus on writing tasks related to the conduct of science, from the basics of writing through more advanced aspects as the semester progresses. Students will be expected to write each week, and provide feedback on others' writing. 

MNS 193. Topics in Marine Science: Reproductive Physiology of Fish - Peter Thomas
Held at the Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas – not video-linked Environmental and endocrine control of reproduction in teleost fishes including the role of hypothalamus/pituitary/gonadal axis, neuroendocrine pathways, genomic and nongenomic steroid actions, ovarian cycle, and gamete physiology.