Marine Biology

Bachelor of Science in Biology
Marine and Aquatic Biology Specialization
Department of Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences

Students interested in marine biology are encouraged to enroll in marine and freshwater biology courses at Bowling Green State University. The program, unmatched at Ohio universities, offers courses in aquatic and marine science and provides the opportunity to earn an undergraduate degree in biology with an emphasis in marine and freshwater science. In addition, a strong graduate program exposes undergraduates to the latest techniques and research opportunities in limnology and oceanography.

Marine Laboratory

The department maintains a 3,000-gallon inland marine laboratory with the eight major animal phyla represented in more than 66 genera of marine life including the horseshoe crab, sea anemones, stingray, skates, sea horse, starfish and lobsters.

The lab has been in existence since 1963, when it had five 10-gallon tanks to house animals brought back by students from a spring trip. The lab now has more than 50 tanks cold water tanks, coral tanks, a salt marsh environmental tank, and a touch tank.

The animals in the lab are cared for by students, primarily for class study and research projects, but are also on view for visitors and other students. Marine biology students are encouraged to maintain a tank in the marine laboratory to earn internship credit.

Field Experience

Several courses offer opportunities for field experience in both freshwater and marine scientific techniques. Students can learn basic principles of field research by using scientific instruments including seines, sieves, thermographs, oxygen meters, fluorometers and current meters, and by snorkeling and scuba diving.

Field experience is essential because it allows students to integrate classroom concepts and principles with actual environments and organisms. Hands-on experience prepares students for a future career in freshwater or marine science.

Many marine biology students enroll in field courses offered through the Gulf Coast Research Lab, the Ohio State University’s Stone Lab or one of a number of other marine stations. During these field experiences, students are absorbed in marine ecology studying the different habitats and the organisms found within them. These different habitats include barrier islands, mudflats, salt marsh, rocky shoreline, coral reefs, eel grass beds and continental shore life.

Field experience gives students the chance to learn about becoming a field scientist and allows students to interact with scientists in other laboratories. Students are encouraged to pursue these contacts for possible summer internships.

BGSU students have completed summer internships in diverse locations including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Marine Biological Laboratory, Shoals Marine Lab, Mote Marine Lab, Sea World, the U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program, OSU’s Stone Lab and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

Career Opportunities

Understanding the ecology of our lakes and oceans is still a mystery. The study of aquatic habitats can lead to careers in a number of areas. Students may choose to seek employment in such areas as:

Continuing Research

Current research by faculty and graduate students covers a wide variety of topics including nutrient cycling, habitat selection, feeding dynamics, predator- prey interactions by freshwater fish, community dynamics of algae and periphyton, zebra mussel studies, stream biology, marine chemical ecology and lobster behavior.

Faculty have been funded by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, Nature Conservancy, National Sea Grant College Program,the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and private corporations. Research is performed at numerous field locations including the Great Lakes, the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Preparation for College

Completing the requirements for high school graduation is necessary for admission to BGSU, but only finishing the minimum coursework will leave you unprepared for college. Consider taking four years of mathematics and four years of the same foreign language. You will also benefit from competency in computer use. Courses that provide exposure to, or training in the visual and performing arts are excellent choices. A strong background in Chemistry and physics is also important.

For Further Information

Internet Access

BGSU's website for future students contains University highlights, admissions procedures, financial aid information and many department profiles. It can be accessed at

The University

Bowling Green State University is a vibrant university that engages, challenges and prepares students for meaningful futures. At BGSU, students enjoy an education that integrates personal growth, academic excellence and an environment that expands their thinking and potential. A mid-size residential university, BGSU has an enrollment of approximately 20,000 and a full-time faculty of more than 900 on its main campus. More than 200 undergraduate majors and programs are offered as well as master's and doctoral level programs.

NOTE: Information in this guide is subject to change without notice. To learn more about the official program of study for Marine Biology, please check the undergraduate catalog online at: