Sara teaching a girl about clam

Lindsay Teaching Page

Home Research Teaching Outreach Lab People Links Gallery

Courses that I teach or have taught at UMaine:
click here for brief descriptions

NFA 117 Issues & Opportunities in Marine Science
SMS 203 Integrative Marine Science Seminar (writing intensive)
SMS 402 Advanced Oceanography & Marine Biology
SMS 404 Capstone Seminar in Marine Sciences
SMS 514 Ecology of Marine Sediments
SMS 598 Marine Chemical Ecology
SMS 598 Marine Macrophysiology
SMS 598 Reproductive Ecology (last offered Fall 2001)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students enrolled in SMS 203 should look for course information on the Synapse system.

Teaching tools I've found useful:
Like many other faculty members, I'm always looking out for new (or old) ways to engage students in active learning, reinforce basic skills, and encourage critical thinking. Here are a few activities I've used with good success.

Quotes from a hat -- To encourage discussion in a large group, I gather quotes from relevant articles, background facts, or reviews of a certain topic, type them on slips of paper, and then have students draw a quote from the hat. It's OK to have more than one copy of each quote. To start discussion or keep it going after a lull, I ask a student to read their quote and share their response to it.

The Graphing Detective -- this activity comes in two versions, long and short. I use the long version (takes about an hour depending on the students) to introduce basic skills of reading, interpreting, and summarizing the information from an appropriate graph or figure. In this version, I follow the format published by Pechenik and Tashiro (1992). Students look at a figure without a legend first, and try to determine what experiment was conducted and how it was conducted, based on just the information displayed. Then we look at the figure legend to find out what we missed. I also ask students what information the legend does not tell them. Next we talk about what the figure means. As a homework assignment, I ask students to write a paragraph describing the experiment that produced the results and summarizing what can be concluded from the results presented in the figure. In the short version, I ask students to work with a neighbor to first determine what data are being shown in a given figure, and then what can be concluded from the data. After 5 minutes we re-group and discuss our interpretation of the figure.

Pechenik, J.A. & J.S. Tashiro. 1992. The graphing detective: An exercise in critical reading, experimental design, and data analysis. American Biology Teacher 54(7): 432-435

Eco-Beaker simulations: EcoBeaker, by SimBiotic, is a really nice teaching software that lets students manipulate simulations of several classic experiments in marine, terrestrial and aquatic ecology. Simulations that worked well in my classes include: Keystone Predator, Aquatic Trophic Cascades, and Limiting Nutrients.

NFA 117 Issues & Opportunities in Marine Science
An orientation class for incoming students majoring in marine sciences and aquaculture (Last taught Fall 2003)

SMS 203 Integrative Marine Science Seminar
Using examples from current marine science research, students explore the nature of inquiry, elements of experimental design, data presentation, elementary statistics, and interpretation of scientific papers. Emphasis is placed on developing science writing skills. Hands on activities introduce basic concepts in the biology of marine organisms. Satisfies the General Education Writing Intensive Requirement. (Offered every Spring)

SMS 402 Advanced Oceanography & Marine Biology
Stresses the interdisciplinary nature of marine science by focusing on comprehensive oceanographic and marine biological processes that reinforce geological, chemical, physical and biological principles and their linkages. Explores in greater depth topics introduced in earlier required courses. (With Fei Chai, last taught Spring 2005)

SMS 404 Capstone Seminar in Marine Science
Seminar required of all SMS students, preferably in the semester before SMS 400 is first elected. Students research and discuss selected special topics in marine sciences and prepare their capstone project proposal. Topics also include scientific ethics, peer review, and strategies for effective scientific communication.

SMS 514 Ecology of Marine Sediments
A multi-disciplinary examination of factors influencing ecological patterns and processes in marine sediments. Emphasis on recent research integrating biological, geological, physical and chemical aspects of marine sedimentary environments. (May term class at the Darling Marine Center)

SMS 598 Marine Chemical Ecology
Marine organisms literally live in a sea of chemicals, and chemical signals play a central role in many important community processes including predator-prey interactions, recruitment, mating, and feeding. In this lecture and discussion class, we will examine the chemical mechanisms that control intra- and interspecific interactions among marine and aquatic organisms from cellular, physiological, organismal, evolutionary, and applied perspectives.

SMS 598 Marine Macrophysiology
Macrophysiology is an emergent field of study that integrates ecological physiology with macroecology to investigate variation in physiological traits over large geographic and temporal scales, and the ecological implications of that variation. Recent work has emphasized understanding & predicting how marine species will respond to climate change based on their physiology, and the role physiological performance plays in the spread of marine invasive species. This lecture and discussion class reviews key physiological processes that influence marine organismal ecology, examines large-scale variation in physiological traits among different taxa,and explores the relationship between taxonomic variation and ecosystem functioning.

SMS 598 Reproductive Ecology
Examines the ecology and evolution of life histories from theoretical and empirical perspectives. Topics included measurement of reproductive effort/success, discussion of major life history strategies (semelparity, iteroparity, planktotrophy, lecithotrophy), mating system evolution, sexual selection, and evolution of parental care. Primary focus in on marine organisms. (with Paul Rawson and Susan Brawley, last taught Fall 2001)


SMS students on boat at Darling Marine Center
Students on NFA 117 field trip to the Darling Marine Center (Fall 2002).

picture of crab from  Lowes Cove Maine
Introducing some intertidal inhabitants. (NFA 117, SMS 203)

table of different polychaete feeding behaviors
How do you describe spionid polychaete deposit feeding behaviors? (SMS 514)

SMS 203 data for Nereis response to salinity reduction
SMS 203 students investigated how the marine worm Nereis virens responds to reduced salinity; these are some of the data they collected in class.(Spring 2005)
photo of Nereis virens by Dan Dauer
SMS 203: Nereis virens, a very cool worm (photo by Dan Dauer)

Some Teaching Links:
(will launch new windows)

Teaching Issues & Experiments in Ecology
from the Ecological Society of America

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
some marine-related cases in the Ecology & Environment collection

GoMOOS: Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System
create and download oceanographic data from the Gulf of Maine

Sara Lindsay

Home Research Outreach People Links Gallery
School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine