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RCC/VIMS partnership plunges students into hands-on fieldwork

Dr. Troy Tuckey of VIMS, seen above on the research vessel “Tidewater,” sorts just-netted marine life by species so students of RCC’s “Coastal Ecology” course can identify, count and measure them.

Developed with the serious student of marine biology in mind, Rappahannock Community College’s summer “Coastal Ecology” course culminated with two weeks of intensive field work at the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute for Marine Sciences (VIMS) facility at Gloucester Point. This portion of the course included a day on the water in the VIMS research vessel Tidewater. It was preceded by three weeks of online academic work.

RCC biology instructor Lisa Tuckey, who co-developed “Coastal Ecology” with VIMS’s Dr. Diane Tulipani (an RCC adjunct instructor since Fall 2013), describes it as “a field-based biology course which explores beach, salt marsh, and estuarine ecosystems by observing and sampling local coastal plants and animals while analyzing the dynamics of coastal community structure and function. We worked together to create . . . a first-class transfer course.”

Since many RCC students hope to major in one of the sciences when they transfer to a four-year school, “Coastal Ecology” provides a good starting point, “especially since it focuses on our local environment, and therefore local issues,” Tuckey noted.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 08.13.2014

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