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Biology & Marine Biology

Study natural science with access to the ultimate natural laboratory

Study biology and marine biology with access to the ultimate natural laboratory — Southeast Alaska's rich ocean environment. Incoming students learn biological principles and skills in lecture, laboratory, and field courses. They can then join our professors, researchers, and current students to work on projects that range from tracking humpback whale migrations to mapping the surface canopy of kelp. UAS's coastal classrooms and labs provide world class opportunities for unique hands-on learning experiences.

Biology & Marine Biology Degrees

 
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Student Experience

Experiential Learning at UAS

Hands-on learning, internships, and undergraduate research are at the core of our programs at the University of Alaska Southeast.

UAS is at the Forefront of Marine Mammal Research

UAS and the marine sciences are a natural fit. Here, students take part in hands-on research projects, like this humpback whale monitoring study.

A Deeper Look: Research on Whales and Tour Boats

Working with UAS Associate Professor of Marine Biology and Fulbright Scholar Heidi Pearson, undergraduate students got the opportunity to monitor humpback whales in Southeast Alaska. The study takes a close up look at how whale tour vessels and the whales can sustainably share the same waters.

The Best of UAS and UAF

Students in the joint UAS/UAF program B.S. Fisheries and Ocean Sciences benefit from a combination of the University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty and resources and the University of Alaska Southeast small class sizes at UAS and easy access to ocean, freshwater lakes and streams, intertidal habitat, and wetlands environments.

Alaska Dive Semester

Each spring, the Sitka campus offers an intensive field semester of scientific diving. Students begin with basic dive skills and progress through underwater rescue procedures and underwater data collection techniques to become accomplished research divers. Students become familiar with local fish and invertebrate species, and participate in marine-related research projects. Additionally, students develop skills in basic skiff handling and small engine maintenance, critical to underwater field work.

Learning Environments

Anderson Biology Lab

Located on the Juneau campus, the waterfront Anderson labs and classrooms are central to the biology programs at UAS. Wet labs cycle salt water directly from the ocean, allowing professors and students to conduct research in marine ecology, mammalogy, phycology, comparative physiology, neurobiology, population genetics, and conservation biology.

Biology Labs

Ketchikan

Located in the Paul Building on the Ketchikan Campus, the biology lab supports classes and undergraduate research. Currently, students are studying the potential role of algae in ocean pollution control.

Sitka

The biology lab in Sitka is specially designed for on-campus and online learning, with specialized technology to create a synchronous classroom experience for distance students. Lab class materials can be shipped to students to be able to complete coursework from wherever they are located.

Behavioral Research and Ecosystem Health Lab

Students and researchers at the BREACH lab work to understand the behavior and ecology of marine mammals and their role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Undergraduate students at UAS have the opportunity to work on joint projects with students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Research includes studying the impacts of whale watching on humpbacks, human-wildlife conflict, "blue carbon" sequestration, and the historical, socio-economic, and ecosystem-wide relationships between sea otters, shellfish, and humans.

Auke Creek Research Station

In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, biology and fisheries students take part in ongoing research that observes and tracks fish migrating to and from Auke Lake and the ocean. Students learn salmon biology and genetics while collecting data that helps guide fisheries management and is providing direct evidence of salmon population changes in response to climate change.

The Juneau Icefield

A few miles from UAS, the Mendenhall, Eagle, Herbert, and Lemon Creek glaciers all provide gateways to the Juneau icefield — the fifth largest in North America. At the forefront of climate change research, students are making mass balance measurements and studying the impacts of shrinking glaciers on nearby watersheds.

Current projects include examining glacial runoff in a changing climate, multi-decade surface change across the Malaspina Glacier, measuring metabolic rates of groundfish in habitats of differing glacial effulence, and more.

Students also have the opportunity to apply for the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP), an eight-week annual summer field research expedition that crosses the Icefield from Alaska to British Columbia.

"I challenged my mind inside and outside the classroom with professors who imparted knowledge that I will carry with me for the rest of my life."

Program Faculty

Sherry Tamone, Ph.D.

Sherry Tamone, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology, Natural Sciences Department Chair

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David Tallmon, Ph.D.

David Tallmon, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

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Michael O. Navarro, Ph.D.

Michael O. Navarro, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Marine Fisheries

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Carolyn A. Bergstrom, Ph.D.

Carolyn A. Bergstrom, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marine Biology

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Michael Stekoll, Ph.D.

Michael Stekoll, Ph.D.

Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Heidi Pearson

Heidi Pearson

Associate Professor of Marine Biology

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Susan L. Kendig, M.S.

Susan L. Kendig, M.S.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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Marnie Chapman, M.A., M.S.

Marnie Chapman, M.A., M.S.

Professor of Biology

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Jan Straley, M.S.

Jan Straley, M.S.

Professor of Marine Biology

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Kitty LaBounty, B.S., M.S.

Kitty LaBounty, B.S., M.S.

Assistant Professor of Biology

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Paul Bahna

Paul Bahna

Assistant Professor of Biology

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Jon Martin

Jon Martin

Assistant Professor of Biology

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Reid Brewer, Ph.D.

Reid Brewer, Ph.D.

Professor, Fisheries Technology

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Joel A. Markis, M.S.

Joel A. Markis, M.S.

Assistant Professor of Fisheries Technology

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