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Brunswick, Maine •
Observations of the world’s landscapes, its oceans, ecosystems,
atmosphere, and polar ice all make it clear that the earth is
undergoing geologically unprecedented change. Bowdoin’s
Department of Earth and Oceanographic Science (EOS) will equip
you to understand the nature of these global changes and their
implications for the human world through study of both how the
natural systems of the earth operate and how human activities
are altering these systems. This integrative earth-system science
approach focuses upon investigating the four components of Earth’s
system, namely the atmosphere, the hydrosphere (which includes
the frozen water portion, or the cryosphere), the solid earth, and the
biota, while explicitly exploring the interactions among physical,
biological, and social systems.
What makes EOS especially exciting is the ability for faculty and students
to bridge traditional disciplinary boundaries and work collaboratively in
classrooms, in laboratories, and in the field, engaging scientific problems
from many angles that are highly relevant to society, such as climate change
(historical and future), human impacts on oceans, nutrient pollution of
lakes and rivers, harmful algal blooms in coastal ocean, and disasters like
earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, fires, and oil spills. Taking advantage of
Maine’s unique tectonic history, landscapes, and over 3,000 miles of coastline,
the EOS department is dedicated to inquiry-based learning in a natural setting.
Major features of the EOS curriculum include:
• Three topical introductory courses, each with authentic research
• An integrative 2000-level course in biogeochemistry—perhaps the most vital
salient unifying theme within earth-system science
• 2000-level core courses and electives that expose students to the breadth of
earth-system science (Solid Earth, Surface Processes, Oceans) and illustrate
that common physical and ecosystem concepts underlie diverse examples
• Upper-level research-project courses in which students apply their knowledge
and skills to substantive problems
• Capstone seminars that reinforce the integrated nature of earth systems and
immerse students within the scientific literature
The Earth and
Oceanographic Science
To establish breadth within the major, students
The major consists of ten courses. Majors
majors are required to take at least one
may begin their study with any one of the
research experience course and one senior
introductory 1000-level EOS courses. Majors
seminar. The remaining elective courses may
are required to take Biogeochemistry and one
be selected from EOS and EOS-approved
introductory biology, chemistry, mathematics,
courses or an approved off-campus study or
computer science or physics course.
summer field course.
must take one core course from each of
the following three areas: Solid Earth, Earth
Surface Processes, and Oceans. In addition,
Earth and
Facilities and Resources
Study of solid earth processes is
enhanced by Bowdoin’s geographical
location, which allows ready access to
Acadia National Park, the Norumbega
fault system, ancient volcanic formations,
rock and gem quarries, and coastal
exposures of metamorphic rocks.
Teaching and research are further
supported by scanning electron
microscopy, petrographic microscopy,
exploration seismology, and an extensive
rock and mineral collection, including
specimens collected in the early
1800s by Bowdoin professor Parker
Cleaveland, known as the “Father of
American Mineralogy.” Cleaveland’s 1816
Elementary Treatise on Mineralogy and
Geology was the first book published on
American geology and a copy is preserved
in Bowdoin’s special collections.
Study of surface processes is fostered
through instrumented watersheds and
well fields that report the impact of global
change in real time 24/7. Well-equipped
laboratories and state-of-the-art field
equipment enable more intense, focused
study of landscape changes in the
coastal zone of Maine.
The EOS department, in collaboration with
other science departments at Bowdoin,
offers state-of-the-art biogeochemistry lab
facilities and equipment for the analysis of
global change questions, including impacts
of humans and natural disturbances on
carbon and nutrient cycles, global change
impacts on rivers, and plankton dynamics
and harmful algal blooms.
Access to the Gulf of Maine is facilitated
by departmental and College vessels
ranging in size from an inflatable zodiac
to outboard Seaway 21 equipped with
sidescan sonar, acoustic doppler current
profiler, and electric winch to deploy
departmental oceanographic equipment.
The Coastal Studies Center, twenty
minutes from the main campus, provides
a permanent dock to moor and access
the vessels for coastal investigations.
Bowdoin owns and operates a real-time
oceanographic buoy deployed since
December 2006 in Harpswell Sound. The
buoy measures meteorological, physical,
and biological properties of the water
column, reporting hourly observations in
real time with open access to all.
Earth and Oceanographic Science
The Minor
The minor consists of four courses in
the department. Minors are required to
take Biogeochemistry. No more than one
introductory (1000-level) course may
be included.
Peter D. Lea, associate professor of earth
Conor Handy ’13 is working as a project
and oceanographic science, A.B. (Dartmouth),
development analyst for commercial accounts
M.S. (Washington), Ph.D. (Colorado, Boulder),
at SunPower Corporation.
teaches hydrology, coastal processes and
landforms, and sedimentology. His research
includes the flow dynamics, biogeochemistry,
and environmental history of Merrymeeting Bay,
a freshwater tidal system in midcoast Maine.
Emily M. Peterman, assistant professor
Rachel J. Beane, professor of earth and
of earth and oceanographic science, B.A.
oceanographic science, B.A. (Williams),
(Middlebury), Ph.D. (California, Santa Barbara),
Ph.D. (Stanford), teaches field studies in
teaches introductory physical geology,
structural geology, research in mineral
earth and ocean resources, plate tectonics,
science, and volcanoes. She interprets solid
petrology, and tectonics and climate. Her
earth processes using rock outcrops, optical
research focuses on solid earth processes.
microscopy, and microstructures (SEM-EBSD).
She uses minerals and their petrological
She convenes the annual National Association
contexts to assess changes in rates of crustal
of Geoscience Teachers workshop for early
deformation, subduction, and exhumation.
career geoscience faculty.
Collin S. Roesler, associate professor of earth
Mark Hansen ’14 is working for the US
Geological Survey on Kodiak Island, deploying
air particulate samplers to examine ash fall
from volcanic events. He is also completing
his art book on the retelling of the Gilgamesh
Ryan Peabody ’14 completed an honors thesis
titled “Coastal Currents in the Gulf of Maine:
A Mechanism for Algal Bloom Transport.” After
working for a year as a research fellow for the
Environmental Health Strategy Center focusing
on data analysis for chemical manufacturing
markets, he is beginning a Ph.D. program in
physical oceanography.
Matthew Ramos ’12 completed an honors
thesis titled “Dynamics of Carbon Export from
Philip Camill, Rusack Professor of
and oceanographic science, B.S. (Brown),
Environmental Studies and Earth and
M.S. (Oregon State), Ph.D. (Washington),
Oceanographic Science, B.A. (Tennessee),
teaches oceanography, oceans and climate,
Ph.D. (Duke), teaches biogeochemistry and
polar oceanography, and ocean remote
environmental science from the perspective
sensing. Her research focuses on physical
of earth climate history and global change.
forcing of marine ecosystems, including
His research examines human impacts on
climate scale processes, in environments
Alexander Roberts-Pierel ’12 is an
ecosystems, including how climate warming
ranging from the Arabian Sea to Antarctica.
environmental scientist for URS Corporation.
impacts permafrost thaw, fire, vegetation
She is co-investigator on the real-time ocean
Matthew Savard ’14 is currently working as an
change, and carbon storage in Arctic and
observing buoy array deployed in the Gulf of
environmental consultant (Engineer II) with GZA
subarctic landscapes, as well as restoration
Maine since 2001.
of ecosystems, including tallgrass prairies in
Minnesota and coastal rivers in Maine.
Michèle G. LaVigne, assistant professor
of earth and oceanographic science, B.A.
(Hampshire), Ph.D. (Rutgers), teaches marine
biogeochemistry, equatorial oceanography,
and research in oceanography: topics in
paleoceanography. Her research uses corals
as paleoceanographic archives and modern
instrumental measurements to investigate how
global climate change affects the cycling of
ocean nutrients and carbon.
After Bowdoin:
Examples of Recent
Graduate Pursuits
Amy Anderson ’12 completed an honors
thesis titled “Measuring Nutrient Dynamics
Optically: Towards an Understanding of the In
earning a M.S. in civil and environmental
engineering at Tufts University in 2014, he is
pursuing a Ph.D. in petroleum and geosystems
engineering at University of Texas, Austin.
Madison Smith ’14 completed an honors
thesis titled “Sediment Transport in Katama Bay
and Inlet, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.”
She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in physical
oceanography at the University of Washington.
Her work focuses on the interaction of waves
and ice in the Arctic Ocean.
Situ Relationship of Nitrate to Phytoplankton.”
Patricia Thibodeau ’13 published her honors
She is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical
thesis titled “Locating Noctiluc miliaris in the
oceanography in the Department of Marine Arabian Sea: An Optical Proxy Approach” in the
and Coastal Science at Rutgers University.
scientific journal Limnology and Oceanography.
Hannah Glover ’13 completed an honors
thesis titled “Observations and Interpretations
of Brittle Deformation at Giant Stairs and
Barnes Island, Harpswell, Maine.” She
For more information about Bowdoin,
please write or call: Dean of Admissions
Bowdoin College, 5000 College Station
Brunswick, ME 04011-8441
[email protected]
Maine Watershed to the Gulf of Maine.” After
She participated in the Bowdoin College
Scholars program after graduation and in now
pursuing a Ph.D. in biological oceanography at
Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
worked for the Maine Geological Survey after
Jessica Turner ’13 is pursuing a Ph.D. in the
graduation. She is now working as a field
School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the
technician in ocean physics at the Applied
University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Her work focuses
Physics Laboratory, University of Washington.
on particle fluxes and ecosystem dynamics.
Bowdoin College complies with applicable provisions
of federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in
employment, admission or access to its educational or
extracurricular programs, activities, or facilities based
on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex,
sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression,
age, marital status, place of birth, veteran status or
against qualified individuals with disabilities on the
basis of disability.
The information in this publication was accurate at
the time of publication. However, Bowdoin College
reserves the right to make changes at any time without
prior notice to any of the information, including but
not limited to course offerings, degree requirements,
regulations, policies, procedures, and charges. The
College provides the information herein solely for
the convenience of the reader, and to the extent
permissible by law, expressly disclaims any liability
that may otherwise be incurred.
For more information, go to:
Revised March 2015