Sample courses

The courses you take in Dal’s Marine Biology Department will give you opportunities for learning—inside the classroom and out. The department’s knowledgeable, experienced professors present dynamic classroom lectures that will expose you to key concepts in evolution, ecology, physiology, biology, and other pertinent subjects.

You’ll also venture out to the ocean, both on shore and on the water. You’ll observe examples of Atlantic Canada’s spectacular marine life, and get first-hand experience in various research methods, like gathering live samples and collecting and assessing data.

If you’d like to pursue Marine Biology as part of a major, double major, honours, or combined honours degree, you’ll begin by taking prerequisite courses through the Biology Department. Marine Biology courses begin at the 3000 level:

MARI 3063
Resource Ecology

In this class, you’ll explore the ecology, use, and management of natural resources in fisheries, wildlife and forest management, as well as agriculture and aquaculture. Among other topics, you’ll look at population dynamics, community interactions, and ecosystem support of resources, as well as the history of resource use; the practices of controlling production, pests, and predators; and sustainable management strategies.

Prerequisites: BIOL 2060, MATH 1010 (STAT 1060 or DISP). Cross-listing: BIOL 3063

MARI 3080
Ecology and Evolution of Fishes

The course examines selected topics on the ecology and evolution of marine and freshwater fishes. Topics include: phylogeny and systematics; functional morphology and physiology; population biology; life-history evolution; behavior; fisheries science; and conservation biology.


Prerequisites: A cumulative GPA of 2.7 (B-) or better in BIOL 2003, BIOL 2040, BIOL 2060 (or BIOA 3001)
Exclusions: BIOL 3067, MARI 3067, BIOL 5067

MARI 3602
Introduction to Aquaculture

This course offers an introductory overview of aquaculture, the culturing of aquatic plants and animals. The following topics are covered with both a Maritimes and global perspective: overview physico-chemistry of water, engineering, culture techniques, health, nutrition, genetics, environmental and socio-economic considerations.

Prerequisites: BIOL 2003
Exclusions: BIOL 3600, MARI 3600

MARI 4370
Deep Sea Biology

In this class, taught by Department of Oceanography faculty, you’ll focus on the biology of organisms inhabiting the deep sea: their physiological adaptations to the physicochemical and geological environment; the spatial and temporal distributions of biological assemblages; and the regulatory factors of these assemblages, such as currents, food availability, reproduction, and recruitment. You’ll also delve into unique habitats, such as hydrothermal vents.

Prerequisites: At least 2 of BIOL 2060, BIOL 2001, or OCEA 2850. Cross-listing: BIOL 4370, OCEA 4370, and OCEA 5370.


Students in the Marine Biology program can also benefit from the special courses offered through the SEASIDE program in the summer semester. The following is just one example:

MARI 3680
Scientific Diving Methods for Marine Ecology

This class introduces students that are certified divers to the practice of underwater research using SCUBA. It combines lectures with supervised dives in various marine habitats to demonstrate the application of standard sampling and experimental procedures in marine ecology, with an emphasis on logistical considerations and diving safety.

Alternate summers, this class is offered through the SEASIDE program. An auxiliary fee is charged to cover costs of dive trips. For dates, times and special registration procedures, see

Prerequisites: BIOL 2001 or BIOL 2003; BIOL 2060; STAT 1060, and internationally recognized diving certification and a diving physical. Recommeded: BIOL 3212 and BIOL 3301. Cross-listing: BIOL 3680.