Marine science is a rich discipline that combines studies from a variety of subjects in order to understand the marine environment, marine life, and their interactions. Basic knowledge in biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, and physics is essential for students to analyze the workings of marine systems and to appreciate the processes affecting marine life. Studies in marine biology are broad, spanning organisms from bacteria to whales, and spanning perspectives from entire marine communities to the biochemistry of molecules. Marine science plays a pivotal role in the continuing quest to understand our world and to manage its resources. The interdisciplinary nature of the Marine Science curriculum will prepare students to analyze critically such contemporary issues as environmental change, human impacts on the ocean, and biodiversity.
Students seeking the BS degree in Marine Science follow a biological or a physical marine science track. The biological track emphasizes ecology, behavior, physiology, genetics, and population and community structure of marine animals, plants, and microbes. The physical track is oriented toward physical, chemical, and geological ocean science. Students in both tracks learn to appreciate the oceanographic perspective, that is, the oceans as systems of interacting components. Both tracks share common courses designed to provide an interdisciplinary science background. Where appropriate, courses take advantage of the many ecological and oceanographic regimes found along the Maine coast. Students in both tracks are encouraged to spend a fall Semester-by-the-Sea taking hands-on courses in residence at the University’s Darling Marine Center. Students are counseled to seek opportunities for independent research, internships, and part-time employment with marine faculty. Students in the Marine Science program are provided with a strong general foundation in the sciences suitable for advanced study in one of the marine sciences or in other scientific fields. The BS in Marine Science also provides a solid preparation for immediate employment in marine-related industries, governmental agencies, education, and the nonprofit sector. Students may consult with their academic advisors to achieve specific goals, such as professional certification as an Associate Fisheries Scientist by the American Fisheries Society. More information about Marine Science can be found on our web site www.umaine.edu/marine
The School of Marine Sciences has administrative offices in Aubert Hall on the Orono campus. Faculty offices and research laboratories are located on the Orono campus and at the Darling Marine Center. The approximately 40 faculty that comprise the School have expertise in numerous marine fields, and they teach and conduct research and outreach in both basic and applied sciences, such as aquaculture. Most have teaching and research interests of relevance to the State of Maine, e.g. population biology and culture of important marine species, and also of relevance to other geographic areas and scientific questions, e.g. the biology and oceanography of the Antarctic Ocean.
Facilities for teaching and research in marine science on the Orono campus are numerous and diverse. They are found in several buildings that house School faculty. Special instrumentation and facilities include: a scanning and electron microscopy laboratory; instrumentation for molecular biology and microbiology, including a central DNA sequencing facility; aquatic holding and recirculation systems; an oceanographic satellite receiving laboratory; and comprehensive computing support. The Orono campus also houses the Aquaculture Research Center, which contains several salt-water recirculation systems for rearing marine organisms and a wave-generation tank.
The Darling Marine Center is the marine laboratory of the University of Maine and functions as a research and teaching facility for University of Maine students and faculty and for visiting investigators from throughout the world. The Center is located near the mouth of the Damariscotta Estuary about 100 miles south of Orono. A shuttle provides transportation between the Orono and Darling campuses during the academic year. Facilities include modern laboratories, classrooms, conference rooms, a marine library, flowing seawater laboratories a dormitory and dining hall, and cottage housing. A fleet of boats up to 42 feet long provides access to nearby estuarine and coastal waters. Several undergraduate and graduate courses are offered at the Darling Center each year, in addition to the Semester-by-the-Sea program.
Bachelor of Science in Marine Science
Requirements of the Marine Science major
Students must earn a minimum grade of C- in all required courses.
- Satisfy university-wide general education requirements
- Earn at least 120 credits
- College: NFA 117 (marine emphasis)
- Biology: BIO 100, BMB 280
- Chemistry: CHY 121/122, 123/124
- Mathematics: MAT 126 or MAT 151, and MAT 232
- Physics: PHY 111, 112, or PHY 121,122
- Earth Science: SMS 108 or ERS 101 or ERS 102 or ERS 109
- Environment Policy: INT 105
- Core SMS marine science courses: SMS 100, SMS 201, SMS 203, SMS 204, SMS 302, SMS 303, SMS 304, SMS 402, plus 15 credits of Marine Science electives at the 300+ level.
- Senior Capstone Experience: SMS 400 and SMS 404 (Senior Capstone seminar) for a total of 4 credits taken either or both semesters of the senior year
Concentration in Marine Biology:
Students who wish to declare a concentration in marine biology must meet the requirements of the Marine Science major (above) in addition to the following:
- The 15 credits of SMS electives should be chosen from the list of SMS Marine Biology electives* (see below). It is strongly recommended that students take at least 3 credits of marine ecology and include courses that cover primary producers, vertebrate and invertebrate organisms.
- Organic chemistry or biochemistry: BMB 221/222 or CHY 251/253
- Complete an additional 6 credits at the 300+ level either from the SMS Marine Biology elective list below or selected from the following list of courses: BIO 336, BIO 353, BIO 445, BIO 450, BIO 452, BIO 453, BIO 462, BIO 465, BIO 480, BMB 300/305, BMB 322, BMB 430/431, BMB 490
* SMS Marine Biology electives include:
INT 308, INT 441, INT 484, SMS 300, SMS 306, SMS 321, SMS 322, SMS 350, SMS 352, SMS 373, SMS 422, SMS 425, SMS 480, SMS 481, SMS 482, SMS 485/486
Concentration in Physical Marine Science:
Students who wish to declare a concentration in Physical Marine Sciences must meet the requirements for the Marine Science major (above) in addition to the following:
- Mathematics: MAT 127
- Physics: PHY 121, 122
- An additional 15 credits that should be chosen from the list of SMS Physical Oceanography electives which include: INT 484, SMS 300 or SMS 352, SMS 325, SMS 330, SMS 333, SMS 350, SMS 410, SMS 460, SMS 481, SMS 482, SMS 490, SMS 491, SMS 520, SMS 560
- Complete an additional 6 credits either from the SMS Physical Oceanography electives list or selected from the following list of courses: CHY 242, CHY 251, CHY 252, CHY 371, CHY 372/374, CHY 461, ERS 314, ERS 315, ERS 534, MAT 228, MAT 258, MAT 332, MAT 351, MAT 434, MAT 437, PHY 238, PHY 452, SIE 433