Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Program takes students to Sea Lab

Dauphin Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, is host to Dauphin Island Sea Lab, which offers summer courses to students at 22 colleges and universities across the state in courses ranging from “Dolphins and Whales” to “Marine Aquaculture.”

Julie Olson, professor of biological sciences, said students who have a passion for marine sciences need to have a hands-on experience with it, as attending a university four hours from the beach couldn’t do it justice.

“We have a degree program in marine science, and it’s only a dual degree program,” Olson said. “The second majors are biology, chemistry and geology. For the marine sciences program, I really don’t feel like we can do it justice trying to teach classes on the main campus when we’re four hours away from the coast.”

Olson said students are required to take 16 hours of marine science coursework during the summer at DISL. She said it is possible to take all 16 hours in one summer.

“What’s nice about this program is that it’s not just for marine sciences students, but any of our biology students can also take classes down at the sea lab,” Olson said. “The classes there count as upper-level biology electives.”

The marine sciences program is an interdisciplinary degree. Olson said this is beneficial to students because they usually end up with an advanced degree or in a professional program that builds on foundational knowledge.

“If we just offered marine biology I feel like it’s specializing too early and then there’s less to specialize when you move on to a higher program.” Olson said.

Anna Hawkins, a senior majoring in marine sciences and biology, said she chose to do the dual major because she was interested in the ocean.

“I’ve always been interested in the ocean,” Hawkins said. “We got to go out on the boats a lot of times. In my ‘Dolphins and Whales’ class we went out and observed dolphin pods in the Gulf. In ‘Sharks and Ray Biology’ we went line-longing to do a species survey of the sharks found in the gulf.”

Hawkins said her experience at the sea lab prepared her for the future. The authentic experience was what she said she was expecting when she attended DISL.

“You get a lot more hands-on experience in these classes than any other class I’ve had in college,” Hawkins said. “The class sizes are small enough that the professors really get to know you well, and there’s a lot of one-on-one time.”

DISL summer courses are split up into three sessions. The first session is from May 26 to June 20, the second is from June 23 to July 18 and the third session from July 21 to Aug. 15. To apply for summer courses at DISL, email Julie Olson for an application at [email protected]. The deadline to apply for priority consideration is Feb. 14. Juniors and seniors have first priority.


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