Each year, Bigelow research scientists teach Jan Plan courses on Colby’s campus. These intensive, month-long courses cover topics relating to oceanography and climate change and include field trips to or extended time at Bigelow Lab to give students a taste of field and laboratory research.


New | Jan Plan 2018

Extreme Climate Change in the Gulf of Maine

The Gulf of Maine has undergone extreme climate-related changes, resulting in changes to marine population structure and instances of harmful, toxic, or otherwise undesirable species. We will explore the causes of, impacts of, and potential adaptations to climate change in the Gulf of Maine. Includes a weeklong experiment at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences using indoor seawater mesocosms to simulate rapid ecosystem change and to investigate the biological response of marine microbes. Students will be introduced to traditional and modern oceanographic data collection techniques for estimating the impacts of climate change.

Taught by Senior Research Scientist Peter Countway, Ph.D., microbial ecologist


Past Jan Plan Courses


Nick Record, Senior Research Scientist, Bigelow Laboratory

Modeling Ocean Ecosystems class, taught by Nick Record

Biological Oceanography: Microbial Denizens of the Living Ocean

The ocean engine comprises many connected biological cogwheels. Chemical and physical processes fuel this engine, and interactions between biotic and abiotic components ensure its smooth functioning. Explore the diversity and biological activities of oceanic life, with emphasis on microbial aspects, across contrasting ecosystems (open/coastal oceans, polar seas, deep sea, and coral reefs). Address current topics that drive biological oceanography research, including the role of diversity and organismal interactions in sustaining healthy ecosystems, climate change, and human impacts. Students will gain a working knowledge of the role biological processes play in global ocean cycles and the factors that affect them.

Taught by Senior Research Scientist Joaquin Martínez Martínez, marine virus ecologist

  • Impact of Climate Change on Ocean Life (Senior Research Scientist David Emerson, geomicrobiologist)
  • Introductory Bioinformatics (Scientist David McClellan)
  • Marine Microbiology: From Viruses to Whales (Senior Research Scientist David Emerson, geomicrobiologist)
  • Modeling Ocean Ecosystems (Senior Research Scientist Nick Record)
  • Oceans in a Changing Climate (Scientist Michael Sieracki)
  • Reefs to Red Tides: Ocean Diversity, Function, and Management (Senior Research Scientist/Principal Investigator Cynthia Heil, biological oceanographer)