Food From the Sea
Capture fisheries and aquaculture provide vital sources of food. Understanding and sustainably managing fisheries and aquaculture is a complex task that requires a broad set of multidisciplinary competencies. This course helps students begin to think about key concepts in fisheries and aquaculture within the context of food production, using the coastal zone of New England as the focal study area. The course is taught from a systems dynamics perspective and students learn how fisheries and aquaculture components are interconnected. In doing so, topics demonstrate how some of the principles learned about in other courses (e.g., chemistry, ecology, biology, sociology) are applied in fisheries and aquaculture.
The challenge for fisheries scientists is determining the largest yield (or catch) that can be taken from a species' stock over an indefinite period while minimizing negative ecosystem effects and satisfying a range of stakeholders. The objective of this course is to provide students with the background needed to solve problems in fisheries biology and management as it pertains to professional career opportunities. Students learn about methods routinely used by fisheries professionals in the areas of individual fish growth, population growth, estimation of population numbers and biomass, and a few modeling techniques to determine the portion of the biomass that can be sustainably harvested.
Ecosystem Science & Sustainability
Ecosystem science is an evolving discipline that focuses on interactions and transactions within and between biological and ecological systems, as well as social and economic systems, and is especially concerned with the way the functioning of ecosystems can and are influenced by humans. The purpose of this course is to engage in the scientific basis, conceptual framework, principles, and approaches of ecosystem science by applying general systems theory to ecology and real-world problem solving. We will use case studies from coupled human-natural systems around the world to focus on issues of sustainability, drawing primarily from examples in the coastal zone.
Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Science
While several countries, including the U.S., have adopted the principle of ecosystem-based management, fishery organizations now face the challenge of implementing an ecosystem approach. The objective of this course is to consider fisheries in an ecosystem context, thinking about the entire system including biogeophysical forcings, species interactions, socioeconomic drivers, and place-based histories. The course objective is met through a combination of lectures, readings, discussions, homework, and individual or group problem-solving using computer modeling software. The curriculum will revolve around current ecosystem topics in fisheries management.