Integrated Ecosystem Research and Management

Course Dates

June 15, 2021 to June 29, 2021


One semester of college biology. One semester of ecology or conservation-related field preferred, but not required.

Equivalent Note

ALL STUDENTS: See the Financial Support & Scholarships page for details about a course-specific award which can be applied towards the cost of enrolling in Integrated Ecosystem Research and Management and other select SML courses for summer 2020.

Course Description

Photo of SML Parasite Ecology Intern working in the lab to extract parasites from a green crab

Ecosystem-based management is considered the most holistic and effective natural resources management approach that examines the whole ecosystem, including human dimensions, simultaneously. Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEAs) offer a way to better manage resources to achieve economic and societal objectives and provide a sound scientific basis for Ecosystem-based Management. IEAs are “a synthesis and quantitative analysis of information on relevant physical, chemical, ecological, and human processes in relation to specified management objectives” (Levin, et al. 2008, 2009). The resulting analyses, done at scales relevant to management questions, provide resource managers with information to make more informed and effective management decisions. The faculty offering this course at SML have all conducted integrated ecosystem research applicable to fisheries, seabird, and marine mammal management.

The intent of this course is to challenge students with real-world problems in the Gulf of Maine that are realistic and meaningful examples of ecosystem research and management in today’s world. We will provide students with the tools to conduct field and laboratory research and apply these tools to the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the Isles of Shoals. Students will be organized into pairs when conducting research and then collaborate to integrate their research, which is a common challenge for scientific researchers. Students then will make recommendations to an outside panel of experts on their answers for management, which will prompt them to integrate and apply their research. Completing this project-based class may serve as a capstone experience for their university coursework (please speak to your individual advisors about this).

In this course, students will:                                                                   

  • Understand the fundamentals of integrated ecosystem research through combined classroom and field-based learning opportunities;
  • Learn the importance of collaboration and integrated ecosystem research to add value to research products and to strengthen management recommendations;
  • Engage with an outside panel of management experts to learn how to formulate and present research results


Dr. Mike Sigler:

Dr. Mike Sigler led the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Habitat and Ecological Process Research (HEPR) Program, which included integrated ecosystem research programs in the Bering and Chukchi seas and ocean acidification research. Since retiring in August 2017, he remains an Affiliate Professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, where he has taught fisheries population dynamics. Mike also has led Steller sea lion prey and predation studies, the Alaska sablefish stock assessment, and the Alaska sablefish longline survey. He has over 30 years of research experience in Alaska in the areas of marine ecology and fisheries stock assessment.

Dr. Chris Siddon:

Dr. Chris Siddon is Chief Scientist for Marine Fisheries for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  Chris leads research and stock assessment for groundfish, shellfish, and herring fisheries across the State of Alaska.  His current research focuses on large-scale collaborative research that engages the commercial fishing industry.   Currently his research is focused on survey design for Golden King Crab in the Aleutian Islands along with movement and growth of various crab species.

Dr. Elizabeth Siddon:

Dr. Elizabeth Siddon is a Research Fishery Biologist for the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Ecosystem Monitoring and Assessment Program. Elizabeth leads the Southeastern Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Assessment and is the Lead Editor for the Eastern Bering Sea Ecosystem Status Report. Her background is focused on understanding fish recruitment dynamics under varying climatic conditions with an emphasis on walleye pollock in the Bering Sea.

Dr. Jennifer Seavey:

Executive Director, Shoals Marine Laboratory and Adjunct Faculty in Natural Resources at UNH and Cornell. Dr. Seavey studies the influence of anthropogenic environmental change on wildlife populations and ecosystem function. Specifically, she focuses on  how anthropogenic stressors influence seabird sustainabilty and the use of seabird viability metrics as an indicator of marine health.



Course Numbers

Cornell: BIOSM 3750 (3 Credits)
UNH: MEFB 508 (4 Credits)