Oceans cover 60 percent of the Earth’s surface and play an important role in the function of terrestrial as well as marine systems. Healthy marine environments are needed to provide homes for endangered animals such as whales, sea turtles and manatees, but these ecosystems face threats from numerous human activities, such as the flow of pollutants from cities or farms into coastal waters.

In the Odum School of Ecology, faculty interests range from the conservation of sea turtles to the physiology of coral reef organisms to the impacts of non-native species on marine communities. Students in the Odum School have worked on projects studying human impacts on marine systems, such as the effects of climate change on diversity of coral reefs and how introduced species alter coastal habitats. Several tropical ecology projects explore marine and terrestrial connections, studying how tropical shrimp migrating between freshwater streams and saltwater estuaries affect ecosystem functions in both locations.

Students who pursue the Marine Ecology area of emphasis can tailor elective courses to their particular interests. For students interested in marine mammal conservation, their program of study would include.ECOL 3220Biology and Conservation of Marine Mammals, ECOL 3530 Conservation Biology and WILD(BIOL) 4050 Mammalogy. For students concerned about the decline of coral reefs, ECOL(BIOL)(MARS) 4330/4330L Tropical Marine Invertebrates, ECOL 4280/4280L Coral Reef Ecology and MARS 3450 Marine Biology would be major classes.

Many students sign up for research credits to work with faculty and graduate students. For students interested in public policy related to marine and coastal systems, a summer internship with a non-profit group or government agency would provide an excellent opportunity to explore career options.

Major Core
  • ECOL 3400 Professional Development for Careers in Ecology
  • ECOL 3500/3500L Ecology
  • ECOL 4000 Population and Community Ecology (preferred) or ECOL 4150/4150L Population Biology of Infectious Disease
  • ECOL 4010 Ecosystem Ecology or ECOL 4310/4310L Freshwater Ecosystems
  • ECOL 4240/4240L Physiological Ecology or ECOL 4540 Behavioral Ecology
  • ECOL 4500 Evolutionary Ecology
  • ECOL 4950 Senior Seminar
  • STAT 2000 Introduction to Statistics or BIOS 2010 Elementary Biostatistics
Natural History Requirement (choose 1)*
  • ECOL 4050/4050L Ichthyology
  • ECOL 4280/4280L Coral Reef Ecology
  • WILD(BIOL) 4050/4050L Mammalogy
Methods and Skills Requirement (choose 1)*
  • ECOL(BIOL)(MARS) 4330/4330L Tropical Marine Invertebrates
  • ECOL 4960 Research
  • STAT 4210 Statistical Methods
  • MARS 4510 Field Study in Oceanography and Marine Methods-Research
Major Electives (choose 4 courses)*
  • ECOL 3220 Biology and Conservation of Marine Mammals
  • ECOL 3530 Conservation Biology
  • ECOL 4280/4280L Coral Reef Ecology
  • MARS 3450/3450L Marine Biology
  • MARS 4100 Physical Properties of the Ocean
  • MARS 4200 Chemical and Biological Oceanography
  • MARS(FISH) 4380/4380L Marine Fisheries Biology
  • MARS 4500 Field Study in Oceanography and Marine Methods

*This is not an exhaustive list; please see the UGA Bulletin for more options.