June 25 - July 21, 2017

The Marine Science Course is an intense 4-week summer program which introduces high school students to the marine environment. The course aims to give students a better understanding and appreciation of the various fields in marine science.

Students will live on campus and participate in more than 150 hours of supervised academic activities. Students will take part in lectures, individual and group assignments, laboratory investigations, field projects, oral presentations, and written and practical examinations.

Topics include:

  • Barrier Island Formation and Ecology
  • Beach and Dune Ecology
  • Plankton Communities
  • Principles of Oceanography
  • Human Interactions with the Marine Environment
  • Salt Marsh Ecology
  • Estuarine Ecology
  • Marine Botany
  • Marine Invertebrates
  • Marine Vertebrates



A great deal of time will be spent in the field, exploring and examining different marine communities. Field activities include the exploration of a salt marsh community, beach profiling, reef fishing and trawling aboard the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's 65 foot research vessel, the R/V Alabama Discovery.  

Students will observe and work with such gear as a shrimp trawl, bottom dredges, plankton nets, seine nets, water sampling bottles, refractometers and water quality test kits.  Students will also set-up and maintenance of a marine aquarium, collection and identification of marine species from various habitats, lab and field dissections, an individual research project and a panel discussion with marine science professionals.

Special field trips include an overnight snorkeling trip to St. Andrews State Park in Panama City, Florida.  

The Alabama State Department of Education has reviewed the course standards of the Discovery Hall Programs' Marine Science Course, and Alabama students can take the course for the third or fourth science elective required for graduation. Out-of-state schools are encouraged to provide course credit toward a standard or advanced high school diploma.