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Biology Extended Field Experience

Wittenberg provides students with more than just the classroom experience. The biology department allows students to not only learn in the classroom but also apply what they have learned in the field. For the biology department, hands-on learning is the best way to experience biology.

These field experiences are four- to five-day excursions to a habitat away from Wittenberg. Students sign up for a one-credit extended field experience that is separate from the course.

Biology 239: Biology of Marine Invertebrates: This is a five-day field study at the Duke Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C. Participants typically visit two different habits each day to observe and collect organisms from their natural habitat that they have learned about in the classroom.

Biology 243: Cave Ecology: Students participate in a four-day field experience to Carter Caves State Park in Kentucky to explore caves, springs and sinkholes. Students design their own research projects in wild caves that might include counting organisms in a specific area of the cave, surveying microhabitats, or comparing fauna and abiotic conditions between two or more caves.

Biology 247: Marine Ecology: This is a five-day field study at the Duke Marine Laboratory in Beaufort, N.C. During the trip, students typically visit two different habitats each day, and become familiar with sampling techniques such as trawling, dredging and core sampling. Students conduct experiments and collect samples that form the basis of the laboratory exercises at Wittenberg for the remainder of the semester.

Biology 250: Herpetology: Students go on a four-day field experience to a 500-acre retired farm in Mississippi that is a perfect habitat for reptiles and amphibians. The farm sits between two large lakes that offer other field opportunities to collect, catalog, GIS locate and photograph specimens. Students will observe diverse turtle, lizard, snake, frog and salamander populations of the southeastern United States and analyze data based on these surveys.

Biology 341: Limnology: This is a five-day field study in south-central Ohio taking place in the Hocking Hills area. Both lotic (stream, spring) and lentic (lake, pond) ecosystems will be sampled and a population of the freshwater jellyfish will be studied. Students participate in numerous field opportunities throughout the semester to assess the freshwater ecosystems (stream, spring, lake, pond, fen, cave) primarily of the Miami River watershed in west-central Ohio and to assess anthropogenic impacts on aquatic ecosystems.

Biology 342: Stream Ecology: Students travel for five days to the Mt. Lake Biological Station in southwestern Virginia to perform an analysis of soil, physicochemical characteristics, fauna and flora. The headwaters of one watershed that drains to the Atlantic Ocean (James River) is studied as well as one (New River) that flows to the Gulf of Mexico. Impacts of altitude, slope, underlying bedrock geology, soil, vegetation, and pool versus riffle will be analyzed as streams flow in opposing directions off the flanks of the Appalachian Mountains.

Biology 346: EcologyTwo extended field study opportunities accompany this course. One is at Wittenberg's field station in the Huron National Forest outside of Grayling, Mich. This trip occurs during winter months to enable students to track forest wildlife and better understand northern forest habitats. The second is a four-day trip to a 500-acre retired farm with a mix of bottomland hardwood, fallow fields and pine plantations in Mississippi. Students compare species composition across taxa and among habitat types as well as examine ecological similarities and differences among species assemblages.

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