As part of an introductory marine biology course at UNH, first-year students are out in the field each week. They see firsthand how the tools and techniques they learn about in the classroom are actually used by marine scientists.
"Most universities don’t offer marine biology classes until junior year," explains Carmela Cuomo, associate professor of biology and environmental science. "I designed the program this way because I wanted the students to get some hands-on experience. They don’t necessarily know when they graduate high school what marine biology really entails."
Another beneficial aspect of the early immersion, she says, is the opportunity to take an active role in the research being conducted by professors. Several students are helping Dr. Cuomo with her research on the invasive sea squirt, Styela clava, and its effect on Connecticut’s $30 million-a- year shellfish business. Nicholas Brunetti ’12 worked with Professor Cuomo to determine if adult Styela clava can reproduce at higher temperatures and if their larvae can survive at such temperatures.
"UNH is very big on experiential education, and this is as experiential as it gets," says Dr. Cuomo.