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Courses on Semester at Sea

Biology: People, Pathology and World Medicine
(Professor Nancy Muleady-Mecham)
Worldwide, people exist in a multitude of environments and cultures. At some time in their lives, all persons may become ill or injured. Entire communities may suffer from local health issues related to sanitation and nutrition. People can be exposed to epidemics, both preventable through vaccinations, and unforeseen, such as a new influenza strain. Mass casualty issues, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, or war-related trauma can effect and overwhelm a country. This course will prepare students to learn about the medical issues that effect people around the world and the differing cultural and community responses. A basic introduction to human anatomy and physiology will be combined with information on disease and trauma processes (pathology) to human systems, including discussion of historical pandemics and disasters. Students will discover that different cultures throughout the world will be facing different medical issues, i.e. heart disease and obesity-related Type II diabetes in the USA, versus stomach cancer in Japan. The core of the course will involve student field research and exposure to the great variety of people from country to country and their healthcare issues. How do individuals, communities, and countries respond to these needs? What are the available healthcare interventions in pre-hospital, clinics, and hospital settings? What alternatives are there to Western medicine? How are nutrition and sanitation issues addressed in rural and urban environments? The class work will concentrate on the anatomy and physiology of humans and the pathology of diseases that threaten populations around the world; while the fieldwork will bring students face-to-face with real-life health issues. Suggested Pre-requisites: This course is suggested for juniors and seniors. A previous course in general biology or health care is helpful but not mandatory.

Biology/Environmental Science: Natural History of the Earth
(Professor Nancy Muleady-Mecham)
Natural history is a term used infrequently in biological circles, but it is common among people who interact with nature. Natural history encompasses the night sky, climate and weather, paleontology and geology, plants, animals, and all other kingdoms of life. Natural history reflects the curiosity of humanity in the world around us and how it functions, can be utilized, and be enjoyed. This course will explore the best of the planet as we learn how to become naturalists. We will learn constellations and the lore of the night sky, seine fish in the ocean and explore the tiny phytoplankton. We will explore the ring of fire and its relationship with volcanoes and earthquakes. Asian fossils will introduce us to early man. Our binoculars will help us to learn the art of bird and animal watching. Plant identification and its uses from construction to medicine will give way to the desertís hidden wonders and so much more. This is a class that will start or reinforce your joy and wonder of planet earth. But it will also alert you to the innumerable threats to life on earth. Much of the reading will identify threats to planet earth and its natural history, and will hopefully invoke appreciation and provoke protection of this precious globe. Suggested Pre-requisites: Students with an insatiable curiosity and spirit of adventure, coupled with a love of nature, will thoroughly enjoy this course. A pair of lightweight binoculars is highly recommended. A hand lens and 2 magnifier boxes are also useful.

Biology/Environmental Science: General Biology: Ecosystems, Biodiversity, and Conservation
(Professor Nancy Muleady-Mecham)
From the oceans to the sky, planet earth is full of life. All life is dependent on other life and components. These dependencies and interactions have developed over time and space and form unique biological entities known as ecosystems. Natural ecosystems can be found to include hot vents thousands of feet below the ocean, tide pools, shorelines, deserts, forests, subalpine, alpine areas, and more. Students will receive a basic review of biology to build a common foundation to explore the ecosystems of the world. Words like biome, niche, and habitat will expand our vocabulary and understanding of the ecology of interactions between occupants of ecosystems. Students will learn about specific occupants of these ecosystems, from unicellular life to vertebrates, fungi, plants and more. The diversity of life in each ecosystem will be studied and compared from country to country. Areas on earth where high biodiversity occurs with species that are endangered are called hotspots. Hotspots, threats to habitats that make up these ecosystems, as well as threats to plant and animal occupants will be determined. A global perspective of air, water and ground pollution will be addressed in detail, especially through reading assignments. Solutions to these threats through education and conservation interventions will be discussed. Suggested Pre-requisites: This course is suggested for anyone who would like to learn about the incredible diversity of habitats on planet earth, the occupants of those habitats, and conservation efforts to maintain healthy ecosystems globally. There are no prerequisites, but a keen interest in learning and exploring are requirements.