The Marietta College Department Of Biology and Environmental Science Biome Project

The Biome Project is a long-term undertaking by the Department of Biology and Environmental Science at Marietta College. The goal is to produce web and intranet-based teaching materials that help our students achieve learning outcomes consistent with the College's core values which include emphasis on liberal learning, critical thinking,  technology and international awareness.  Specific goals include:

  1.  Providing support to Environmental Biology, Ecology, Zoology and Botany courses in the form of supplemental images and other media (video, audio) with a "local" flavor; i.e. we can build student interest by tying the images to real-life experiences of someone they "know".

  2.  Increasing student knowledge of biological diversity.

  3. Increasing student knowledge of world geography and biogeography.

  4. Increasing student knowledge of other cultures.

  5. Increasing student interest and participation in field experiences.

To achieve these goals we have literally been spanning the globe to bring back images of unique ecological communities and biota.  This work has proceeded with college support for faculty taking sabbaticals and traveling to scientific conferences and by faculty travel for research, as well as college sponsored field classes.  These web pages are just one external glimpse into a dataset of over 10,000 photographic slides and 40,000 digital images as well as hours of digital video.

Of course that is the grand scheme of things.  The reality is that we have personally been able to get to only a fraction of the places on the globe; these web pages are pretty parochial.  We are expanding our reach by having our graduates send us back pictures as well as they travel, and by making some key connections with institutions around the world. We are particularly excited about our field trips, which take students and faculty to ecosystems of note in the US and around the world.  Currently our plans include a "road trip" to sites in North America alternating with trips to Costa Rica immediately after school ends in May, as well as trips to warmer areas (the Bahamas?) during the school's J-term.  Other options include more ambitious trips, such as a trip to Australia, as well as traveling with other college-sponsored trips, which in the recent past have included trips to the Mediterranean,  China, Spain, Thailand, Hungary, and Brazil (to name a few).  As time goes by, the images presented in these web pages and others will come from an increasing number of individuals.  So far, the "major expeditions" on which this work is based include:

Place Date Personnel Web Link
Florida Keys 1981, 1983, 2006, 2007, 2008 McShaffrey, Westfall (MC 1995)
Peninsular Florida

personal research

1989-2007 McShaffrey, Gianotti (MC 1995)
Jamaica (field course with University of Akron) 1991 McShaffrey
West Virginia - GSI 1990-1996 Hogan, McShaffrey
Montana (NABS Meeting) 1996 McShaffrey
Northeastern US, Canada

(NABS Meeting)

1998 McShaffrey, Tschunko, Jarrell, Beck (MC 2001), Tuxhorn (MC 1998)
Western US (Sabbatical) 1999 McShaffrey
Alaska (REU experience) 2000 Beck (MC 2001)
West Virginia (DSA Meeting) 2002 McShaffrey
Northwestern United States, British Columbia (NABS Meeting) 2004 McShaffrey
Arizona Desert 2004 McShaffrey
Western Europe (personal travel) 2004, 2006 McShaffrey
Costa Rica 2005, 2007 Brown, McShaffrey + 11 Students (2005), 12 Students  (2007)
 Utah Spring 2006 Spilatro,  McShaffrey + Students

Planned Expeditions

Costa Rica Early Summer 2009 Brown, McShaffrey + Students Status: Tentative


Fitch, Brown, McShaffrey + Students Status: Planned
Bahamas J-term, 2009 Brown, McShaffrey + Students Status: Planned, Will be offered if there is sufficient demand
Western US Early Summer 2008 Spilatro, McShaffrey, Brown + Students Status: Planning
Cambodia, Thailand J-term, 2008 Brown + Students Status: On schedule, taking registrations.

GSI = Governor's Summer Institute / NABS = North American Benthological Society / DSA = Dragonfly Society of the Americas

Students interested in Marietta College might want to look at the College's home page, or the Admissions home page.  More information about the Biology and Environmental Science Department can be found at the department's home page.