The Roscoff Biological Station (France) organizes each summer a hands-on introduction to marine algae and plants with an emphasis on seaweeds. Seaweeds are collected during field trips so that an understanding of the organisms in their natural environment is acquired. Laboratory methods emphasize the use of essential literature, on-line tools and microscopic examination in order to understand the morphological and reproductive details relevant to this purpose. Students will become familiar with species identification, their morphology, biology and ecology. Evolution and systematics are also studied.
The course consists of:
- Fieldwork: Five field trips to very contrasting coastal and nearshore habitats are organised. Located within 40 km from Roscoff, the field sites are accessible during low tide. Samples from pelagic and subtidal environments are taken during an outing on one of the SBR’s vessels (when possible).
- Practical coursework: in vivo observation of sampled species under a dissecting microscope or optical microscope to study the biological and taxonomic criteria presented during lectures. Each student has access to a microscope and a dissecting microscope during the whole course.
- Exercises in using identification keys: Students have access to a number of specialised works and teaching documents designed for the course to identify the species collected during field trips. Students also have access to tools available on-line.
- Lectures on the characteristics of the main phyla of seaweed: morphology, anatomy, reproduction, ecology, classification (including molecular phylogeny).
- Projects : students participate to a collaborative work to produce a list of native or introduced species that grow in artificial habitats (leisure harbor) of Roscoff. They can also prepare a herbarium.
The course is part of the University Pierre et Marie Curie Science of Universe, Environment , Ecology Masters program and the student can validate 6 ECTS units.
The course can be accredited by a Doctoral School. This course is open 1rst year master students and superior level from French or foreign universities and thrird year undergraduate student if they can prove to have validated their exam before the beginning of the course
These summer schools are also open to continuing professional development trainees whose professional activities require knowledge in systematics, biology and marine ecology.