Studies in marine biology will serve as a basis for work or further study in many areas of marine science. The marine biology major provides students with the biological and ecological tools to develop a basic understanding of marine ecosystems. Classroom, laboratory, and field experiences work together to allow students to apply learned techniques and concepts in real-world situations both locally and in marine environments. These studies are taught from a Christian and Lutheran perspective in order to understand that our Lord is responsible for initiating and sustaining these systems.
The marine biology major provides students with experiential learning opportunities, including diving and snorkeling in different marine contexts, hiking and study in shore environments, collection and identification of marine organisms, and lab work. As students study abroad and conduct research in various environments, they are encouraged to consider the social, cultural, and historical factors affecting – and being affected by – the area marine ecosystem.
WLC marine biology students currently participate in research in several marine environments. Marine biology research on Grenada’s coral reef engages students in a long-term biological monitoring project in a Marine Protected Area off its southwest shore. Students regularly travel to Discovery Bay, Jamaica, for exploration of the coral reef, turtle grass beds, rocky shore, and mangrove swamp. Recently, a student interned at the Manatee Hospital at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida.
Several nearby ecologically significant lakes, rivers, and streams provide unique opportunities for field research in aquatic ecology. In the past, students have helped evaluate the effectiveness of a porous rock barrier in Lake Michigan designed to keep fish away from a nearby electrical generating station. Students also perform SCUBA inspections and record underwater video.