Fourteen students spending the semester in the Florida Keys will be
attending classes under the sea, in the Everglades and on the beach.
This expedition, dubbed "The Marine Biology Sea-Mester," led by David J.
Fox, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, is the first
of its kind at the University of Tennessee for students with an interest in
University faculty members J. Mark Alston, Tom Broadhead and John Nolt will
teach natural history of the vertebrates of South Florida and the Keys,
marine geology and environmental ethics, respectively. Each instructor will
spend approximately 50 hours in the classroom and in the field with the
students. Fox will teach comparative invertebrate biology and advanced
marine invertebrates as well as oversee the students' individual research
Students in Alston's course will learn to identify common vertebrates of
the area using readily available resources such as field guides. They will
also explore the habitats and behaviors of these animals. Broadhead, a
professor of geology, has structured his course to help students examine
not only the bedrock of the Florida Keys but also the living plants and
animals of the surrounding waters.
Participants will study the distributions of living marine plants and
animals and will relate those to the sandy sediments, composed of limey
shells and skeletons, which are the next stage to the formations of solid
limestone. Nolt, associate professor of philosophy, is expected to place a
decidedly marine twist to his environmental ethics course taught here at
Sea-Mester students will participate in both land and sea-based studies.
Some participants will receive advanced level scuba certification and
instruction in underwater photography. Diving officer/instructor Bill
Boswell, Jr. is coordinating these boating, swimming, snorkeling and diving
Students will have the use of two vessels to explore both the Florida Bay
and Atlantic Ocean marine environments. Prior to leaving Knoxville,
students completed the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Boating Skills and
Seamanship Course. Also, through the Student Aquatic Center, participants
received certifications in CPR and first aid.
Boswell has applied for and received grants from the PADI Project
A.W.A.R.E. (Aquatic World Awareness Responsibility Education) Foundation,
Divers Alert Network, J.L. Darling Corp., Pelican Products, Inc. and
Underwater Kinetics, Inc.; in the form of funds and products in support of
Students can keep up with Sea-Mester students on the web by going to the UT
Division of Biology home page (http://www.bio.utk.edu), then "Educational
and Evolutionary Biology," "Courses" and "Sea-Mester Course." Activities,
topics, projects and underwater photographs will be posted weekly. Those
interested in Sea-Mester '99 can send e-mail to Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Program takes classroom to sea
Published: Mon Sep 14, 1998 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:35 p.m.