Marine Ecosystem Research and Management

Course Dates

July 1, 2024 to July 15, 2024


One semester of college biology.

Equivalent Note

NOTE: Course formerly known as Integrated Ecosystem Research and Management            

CORNELL STUDENTS: This course fulfills the following requirements:

  • Environment and Sustainability majors: Capstone requirement
  • Biology majors, Marine Biology concentration: Meets both Group B - Advanced topics requirement and Fieldwork requirement.

UNH STUDENTS: This course fulfills the following requirements:

  • Marine Estuarine and Freshwater Biology majors: Electives requirement

Course Description

students exploring the marine environment

 Learn alongside applied scientists who use ecosystem research to tackle real-world ocean management challenges. Students will conduct field sampling, data analysis, project collaboration, and effective presentation skills. Field sampling ranges broadly, from ocean conditions, phytoplankton, and zooplankton to fish, terns, and seals. We will incorporate diverse stakeholder perspectives and learn how to effectively communicate results in a professional setting. Students integrate their research findings and recommend management actions to an expert panel and public audience. Students acquire skills to address conservation questions with an ecosystem-based approach.

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 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 your university coursework (please speak to your individual advisors about this).

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand core ecological concepts and apply them to marine ecosystem research.
  • Address a real-world conservation management problem and apply concepts of sustainability.
  • Learn field sampling techniques and analyze data from the ocean environment, plankton, fish, seabirds, and marine mammals.
  • Collaborate across disciplines to design, conduct, and integrate student research projects. 
  • Effectively communicate research results and ecosystem-based conservation advice to an expert panel and public audience.



Course Numbers

Cornell: BIOSM 3750 (3 Credits)

UNH: MEFB 508 (4 Credits)

Sample Syllabus

Tuition & Fees

Financial Support



Dr. Mike Sigler

Mike with a specimen in hand

Dr. Mike Sigler has over 30 years of research experience in Alaska in the areas of marine ecology and fisheries stock assessment. He 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. Mike also has led Steller sea lion prey and predation studies, the Alaska sablefish stock assessment, and the Alaska sablefish longline survey. Mike strongly believes in the practical value of ecosystem research and its application to management of fisheries and conservation of seabirds and marine mammals. Since retiring in August 2017, his current focus is conveying that experience to students through teaching and mentoring.


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

image of 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.