THE GOWNARIS LAB
Learn more about what it's like to be part of the Gettysburg Environmental Studies department and a student in Marine Ecology from this video created by a student (thanks, Liam!) interested in environmental film.
Oceanography (100-Level Course)
Students are introduced to topics in geological, physical, chemical, and biological oceanography. Throughout the semester, students present on oceanography-relevant current events, listen to oceanography-relevant podcasts, and work with Oceanographic Observatories Initiative and other real-world oceanographic data to apply the concepts they have learned. The semester culminates in groups writing an open textbook section on a topic in marine ecology and/or conservation.
Ecology (200-Level Course)
Students are introduced to topics in individual, population, community, and ecosystems ecology. Class time focuses on active learning and includes several Zoom sessions with scientists. Lab sections focus on building skills in field, lab, and quantitative ecology in R. Field work includes local, terrestrial ecosystems and a day trip to Assateague National Park in addition to independent ecological observations that students conduct as ctiizen scientists. Students work in groups to write several scientific papers, create a scientific poster or an infographic, and write open resource ecological case studies with accompanying code. The semester culminates with students finding an open dataset online, and manipulating, analyzing, and visualizing these data to test a hypothesis of interest.
Marine and Freshwater Fisheries (300-Level Course)
Students are introduced to fisheries-relevant concepts in marine ecology, types of fishers and fisheries, and policies and models used to manage fisheries. Class time is split between concept delivery/discussion and application of these concepts to real-world data using R. For the final project in this class, students must create a fisheries management plan for a species of interest based on what they have learned and on biomass, catch, and biological data they collate, analyze, and visualize in R.
Marine Ecology (300-Level Course)
Students are introduced to major concepts in cceanography and in marine ecology and conservation. After an introduction to these concepts, an ecosystems approach is used to integrate information across disciplines. Lab sections focus on building skills in field, lab, and environmental data science. Field work centers around a week-long trip to Duke Marine Lab. For their final project, students write a full open textbook chapter with associated case studies and R code.
Resulting student-led publication:
Scotto d'Antuono, F., Dubniczki, H.E., 2021. Implications of increased SST on Sula Dactylatra in Rapa Nui Marine Park. The Cupola 942. https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/student_scholarship/942
Senior Seminar: Area-Based Conservation Measures (300-Level Course)
This senior capstone experience uses an interdisciplinary approach to examining area-based conservation. Do area-based conservation measures work to protect biodiversity and, if so, when do they work best? Are local communities involved in the development of these areas? Who is helped and who is harmed by area-based conservation? How do we decide which areas get protected? How can we sustainably fund area-based conservation? What is the current state of area-based conservation measures? These topics are examined through population non-fiction books, news articles, expert visits, and peer-reviewed and gray literature. Alongside these discussions, student groups develop independent projects related to area-based conservation from the ground up. They use literature to form hypotheses, apply for permits, conduct field and lab work, analyze data, and present their findings to community partners and at a departmental event at the end of the semester.
Resulting student-led publications:
Baran, S., Bell, T.J., and Seager, E.R. Logging Impacts on Aquatic Ecosystem Quality in Michaux State Forest, Pennsylvania. 2022. Cupola. 1009. https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/student_scholarship/1009
Bechtel, H.A., Junis, M.L., Garcia, K.L. 2022. Sea Level Rise and Public Perceptions of Climate Change at Otter Point Creek Estuarine Reserve, MD. Cupola. 1010. https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/student_scholarship/1010
Independent Study and Honors Thesis Projects
I have supervised three students throughout their honor's thesis, and am currently supervising two such students. These students begin working on their honor's thesis proposal during the spring of their junior year. Once their proposal is approved by the department, they generally sign up for two semesters of research their senior year (ES 450 and ES 460). Students often present their work at national-level conferences and work towards fine-tuning their theses for peer-reviewed publication.
Resulting student-led publications:
Keene, M.E. 2022. Ecosystem Service Trade-offs in Coral Reefs: A Global Analysis. Cupola. 989. https://cupola.gettysburg.edu/student_scholarship/989
Sharapi, J.G. 2022. Estimating Fish Diet in Lake Turkana, Kenya. Cupola. 1007.