Eco-Based Marine Conservation

Course Code: 
EVSC 4190
Carleton Ray
Jerry McCormick-Ray

The ecosystem is the central focus for conservation, including concepts of biodiversity, resiliency, and sustainability and their incorporation into marine conservation, policy development, and management.


Our objective is to advance understanding of ecosystem-based principles and practices of marine conservation—such as ecosystem-based management, marine spatial planning, and marine protected areas—for biodiversity protection and for enhancing ecosystem resilience. Ecosystem-based approaches require a basic understanding of marine science and marine ecosystems, as well as recognition of the roles species play in ecosystems. Case studies build awareness of major issues confronting marine wildlife, and a general understanding of social mechanisms that society has adopted for maintenance of ecosystem health. Increasing numbers of threatened iconic species (whales, tuna, sea turtles, walruses, etc.) and habitats (sea grasses, coral and oyster reefs, sea ice, etc.) force recognition of the need for new approaches.


Teaching methods emphasize individual participation and cross-group discussion. At the end of each day, each student will submit a one-page summary to show comprehension of the material presented. The course will end with individual presentations accompanied by a 10-page term paper that addresses a conservation goal within an ecosystem context, and a presents a defensible ecosystem-based approach for management.