Open Pedagogy/Tropical Marine Bio Final Assessment

Open Pedagogy Courses

Over time within the three classes I have been enrolled in that are open pedagogy (Invert Zoo, Senior Seminar and Tropical Marine) I can definitively say that I am a huge fan of how they work for multiple reasons. I am willing to admit that walking into my first class that was entirely graded by myself, setting my own deadlines and working with my online pnl, I was not excited for the semester but that changed very quickly.

I have always been extremely passionate about biology (specifically marineJ) but in other classes I struggled and seemed to be one of the students that wasn’t quite absorbing all of the material and my grade would reflect that. Then at the end of the semester I didn’t get all that I wanted from that course and on top of that I didn’t get the grade I wanted either. With this style of self learning, I never got that feeling in any of the classes. I struggled to adjust but once I did, I was able to digest the material how I saw fit and put it into my online domain. This allowed me to slow down and do the work at my pace which improved the overall quality of my learning and the work I produced.

Another thing that I noticed over the past three semesters is these style courses bringing students closer together in a way. Instead of just being another person in the classroom this style of learning allowed all of us to connect in the room itself but also outside of it via our domain sites, twitter, linked in and so on. When you combine all of these things, it creates a tight knit group of people which just so happens to be the bio students here at Keene State.

All in all, these classes have changed the way I view learning and they have helped me more than I would have expected. They have helped me to learn what I wanted to, bring our students together and also better prepare me for the future after Keene State which is coming in only a few short days. 

Tropical Marine Bio

This was one of my favorite courses during my entire college career! Yes I am biased because of my love for marine biology but I loved the overall course as a whole and I am very content with what I took away from it.

I loved the freedom of the course and how many options we had to learn what we wanted to. The lectures were short yet perfectly informative, the labs were nice (already did most of them in invert zoo and have them on my site) and the ideas and freedom with blog post was great. This gave me an opportunity to write about what I wanted to and I had enough time to produce quality posts based on what I am passionate about.

I also loved how incorporated in the course we all were. As a whole this was the most I have interacted and communicate with everyone in the class and I mean everyone! We all become closer and that helped the learning within the class. There is nothing better than being in a course that you enjoy and being surrounded by people who enjoy it just as much!

Overall I loved this class and all of the open learning courses the you have taught! They have done so much for me as a whole and I am thankful for that. I am also happy I went out on a limb and took invert zoo which snowballed into 2 other courses! Thank you for all that you have done and I hope you have an awesome summer.

Keep doing what you’re doing here at Keene….I LOVE IT!


Throughout the duration of the course I have greatly improved upon my domain site and my overall online presence. I have worked on finding, following and retweeting several professionals and company that are involved in the field of marine biology. Along with this, I have taken things from our seminar that we worked on and expanded my work in those categories as well. Since I am a graduating senior and need to work on finding a job in the “real world” I have been working on my resume as well as my linked in account. I feel as if creating connections both in person and online are vital for the stage in life that I am currently in.

As far as my domain site goes I have spent a good portion of the semester not only writing blog posts about some of the marine creatures which I find extremely interesting but I have been working on improving the functionality of my site as a whole. I want to continue improving upon my site and working with it even after graduation so this was important for me to get it into a state where I am happy with how my work here at Keene State is presented.

I have also been to most of the class periods only missing a couple which were due to family reasons and being ill. I felt that it was important to show up for class not only to here the lectures and take notes on the material but to come together with the class and work on the material in the actual classroom. My work for this class seemed to be much more productive when I was in the classroom working alongside my fellow classmates.

During the course of this semester, I have worked to learn and understand the marine biology material and put what I learned onto my site and also worked on several other things to help with my future. Taking the time to work on a little bit of everything has definitely helped me with absorbing the material while also preparing me for the inevitability of graduation. Thank you so much for this class! I truly enjoyed it in every way!!

Blue-Ringed Octopus

The blue-ringed octopus is one of four octopus species that are venomous and found in tide pools along with coral reef habitats located in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The yellowish body tone is covered with these ring shapes which are blue and black hence where the name of this species derives. When they are threatened, the color of these rings change dramatically and occurs very quickly. This gives a visual warning, letting the predator know that they may be small but are extremely venomous and dangerous. In fact, this creature carries enough venom to kill 26 adult humans within minutes! On top of this, their bite is known to be basically painless which makes it even more dangerous to a predator or a person that did not see a bite or attack.

Blue-Ringed Octopus” by WikiCommons under CC 4.0

Venom and Toxicity

The venom which this octopus species possesses is extremely dangerous and a single bite could be detrimental to even larger animals. Side effects from a bite include nausea, respiratory arrest, heart failure and the real problematic issue associated with the venom is paralysis. Paralysis is responsible for most deaths due to suffocation which can kill someone in minutes after the initial bite. This occurs when the diaphragm is paralyzed, preventing respiratory function leading to suffocation.

The neurotoxin which is found in the venom of this octopus is found to be identical to that found in pufferfish as well as poison dart frogs. This toxin is said to be about 1,200 times more toxic than cyanide! This toxin, known as maculotoxin (identical to tetrodotoxin) is produced in the saliva glands of the organism, created by bacteria. The problem with this neurotoxin is the full body paralysis effects it can have. If an organism is unlucky enough to come in contact with this deadly venom, the victim will be fully aware of there surroundings while being paralyzed, unable to move.

Chromis cyanea

Chromis cyanea by Wikimedia Commons under CC 4.0

Geographic Location and Habitat

Chromis cyanea or Blue Chromis are located in the Western parts of the Atlantic Ocean including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea and are also found on the coast of Bermuda. They are most commonly seen swimming in reef habitats but can also be living in lagoons where food and shelter are prevalent. They are most commonly found swimming at depths of 10 meters to 20 meters but they have been seen as deep as 60 meters in feef communities. These fish rely greatly on the health of coral as they provide the Blue Chromis with a place to live, breed, feed and also provides protection from potential creditors.


This oval shaped reef fish is about 13 to 15cm in length once fully grown in there adult life stage. These fish get there name from there bright blue body color. They also have black striped dorsal fin, anal fin and the caudal fins. One fun fact about Blue Chromis is that they have dark eyes which are a great way for people to distinguish this species among other similar ones.


These fish face several threats in their every day life, some of which arn’t often touched upon by may people and they slide under the radar. One of the most serious threats the Chromis wild population is trade. They are collected in large numbers for use in aquariums. Damselfish make up a very large portion of the life we see in aquariums around the globe, almost half in most portions of the world. Another, possibly less serious threat are lion fish which are growing in number every day. These invasive fish consume small damselfish and other reef fishes in the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans. Finally, another large growing problem is the loss of coral which occurs in all oceans. The coral reefs are what provide the structure for the entire ecosystem which the Chromis thrive in spend almost all of their lives

Color, Shape and Mimicry Notes

40% of fish species are fresh water  -boney fish and cartilage fish (sharks and rays) -studying puffer fish, 1/8 the genome size of humans, study smaller vertebrates  -Lateral line- pressure system in fish
Specialized cells for color and iridescence Chromatophores (color cells) -cells contain pigments -stimulated by nerve impulses or hormones -higher density of cells     -> brighter colors
Iridophores-cells with crystals that reflect light (crystals comprised of guanine)-act like mirror  typical of silvery fishes can display different shades of green, blue
Loligo opalescences  -condense pigments into darker spot -expel proteins, specifically microtubules
visual pigmentation in the skin, light sensitive 
camouflage for predators and prey
coloring can tell if some fish are male or female, and can tell the life stages of the fish sequential hermaphrodites- can change sex in lifetime Courtship, egg guarding and mating’ -some female fish may be attracted to males that can change color -sergeant majors take on the     
Counter shading -used to conceal yourself from predators or from your prey (dorsal) -dark on top and light on the bottom (ventral) seen on sharks
Other functions of color and patterning -conceal eye -exaggerated size -advertise toxicity -protect territory

First Week Class Notes

Marine Zonation
Benthic and Pelagic regions -benthic (bottom) organisms     -live on or buried in the bottom or sediment     -some can’t move (coral) =sessile     -some crawl around (crabs) =mobile -Pelagic organisms     -live in the water column     -furthe organize by size and moving ability (Plankton and Nekton)      -nekton=larger like jelly fish and squid  -Plankton     -swim weakly and float around     –phytoplankton: algae, tiny plants and photosynthetic bacteria     –zooplankton: tiny animals and protozoans- rotifers, larvae etc.  -Nekton     -animals that can swim against currents     -mainly fishes, marine mammals     -also squid and large jellyfish
Benthic zonation -Intertidal zone     -shallowest part of the continental shelf     -tides cause exposure to air at times     -smallest fraction of the continental shelf Sub-tidal zone     -beyond the intertidal, always submerged     -where coral reefs are found Deep ocean floor
Photic zone- where light can penetrate      -usually 50 to 100 meters
Aphotic zone     -absense of sunlight, no photosynthesis
Producers      -green plants     -are autotrophic     -use sunlight to convert inorganic compounds into large organic molecules     -photosynthesis      Consumers     -animals, zooplankton     -cellular respiration     -break down the organic fuel molecules in food to harvest energy -Primary consumers (herbivores, examples, rabbits, grasshoppers, some snails, conch etc.) -Secondary consumers (feed on the primary consumers, carnivores,  Examples, rodents, octopus, some fish etc.) -Tertiary consumers (Top carnivores, example, large fish, sharks, snake etc.) -Quaternary consumers
These make a food chain and each level is known as a trophic level
1st trophic lever———> 2nd trophic level (~90% energy loss) -huge loss of energy through cellular respiration
Decomposition -Larger detritivores (worms etc.) break down material into smaller fragments -Bacteria and fungi secrete enzymes onto detritus, breakdown molecules by converting large organic macromolecules into small soluble compounds

Cellular Respiration
Glucose + 602 —— 6C02 + 6H20 + ATP

Final Reflection

This is the end of half my senior year…wow. Nothing can really explain how fast time goes by . It feels like yesterday I was taking molecules and cells, trying to figure out how to make it around campus without getting lost and figuring out how to live on my own. I remember having no clue what I wanted to do and the idea of graduating from college and starting a new part of my life was the scariest thing I would face. With this class everything has changed, I’m more prepared, equipped and ready to go into the “real world”.

Looking back at this course, I have learned more valuable life lessons than any class ever before by far. Being able to not only work on my resume and online domain, I was able to actually see and hear from Keene State graduates. Hearing and understanding that they were once in my shoes and are happy and successful today made things seem a lot easier for me! Also, being able to see workplaces like Millipore Sigma was fantastic. Getting to see how things are done and hearing about them are two completely different things and going there  was one of the best decisions I made this year. On top of all this, I learned some simple skills for job hunting, interviewing, networking among other things that were largely beneficial and will be used in the near future (very near future).

Overall, I am sad that my college career is coming to an end faster than I had anticipated but I am glad this class was offered before I graduate and go off without this information. The advice and lessons given in this class will definitely help out and already makes me feel more comfortable with moving on past college, beginning another chapter in my life.

Career Plan- “Where do you see yourself in 30 years”

The fact that the class of 2019 is almost a single semester away from graduation is insane to even think about. In a short amount of time, myself along with the rest of my class mates are going to have to take on the real world. For some it is terrifying and for some they wish this was sooner but either way it is approaching and fast! Although my plan for what I am going to do immediately after school is blurry, I have come up with an idea that touches on what I could see myself doing for the next 30 years.

Directly after graduation (within the next 10 years)

My plan for the near future, after graduation is to have an introductory level biology and or environmental job in the NH, MA area. This would allow me to not only get my foot in the door for what I want to end up doing with my career, but it also keeps me closer to home with what I’m familiar with. This will also allow me to save me some money to get started on those loans while also being able to support myself.

Depending on how this job goes, maybe moving up in the company is the right move or taking the new knowledge I have acquired and moving into a different position with another company. Whether this is closer or farther from home will depend on what opportunities pop up and the requirements the job entails.

Moving on after entry level job(s) (10-20 years)

After working with my entry level job(s), connecting with some companies, I would love to find something closer to my passion which is marine biology. In the area we are in now, there are some decent opportunities along the east coast but this could also require me to move depending on what I am to find and what opens up for me.

I would love to find some sort of company that works to conserve marine life in some way, working along the ocean. That would allow me to start the journey of what I would eventually end up doing until the day I retire or if my passion changes (which I definitely don’t see happening).

Working with marine life/non-profits (30+ years)

Once I have plenty of hours working with marine animals, conducting research or doing conservation, I would love to start my own not-for-profit or be working alongside one that shares the same passion and views as I do. By this time in my career, I want to be in the field as often as I can be, working with what I love day in and day out. My dreams are working with sharks and/or turtles, doing research and making efforts in conservation for these beautiful animals and there habitats.


Although this plan is broad and open ended, it accurately portrays my view of what I can see myself doing after school here at Keene State. This could change at anytime but that’s the beauty of it all!!



Marine Invasive Species Becoming a Problem?

Lionfish- up close” by WikiCommons under CC 4.0

What are invasive species?

Marine invasive species are animals and plants that are native to one location and then move and relocate to a location that they are non native to. In the past this may not have been a large problem but because of humans advances and error, some of these species have  an easier time moving around in the oceans.

They raise a large problem because of the effects they have on the surrounding, non-native ecosystem. Some of the dangers come due to competition created by some of these alien species lurking in the waters, consumption of native species and the possibility of introducing disease.


Dangers of invasive species and why they are harmful.

These species can have huge effects on ecosystems and lead to the extinction of some native plants and animals while also  decreasing biodiversity. This is done through what are known as direct and indirect interactions.

The alien species can directly affect native species through competitions and predation. Some of the native species may not have any natural predators or limited predators but when alien, invasive species are introduced that can change. Some of the non-native species could outcompete native species for things such as food, light, prey and space (habitat). There could also be indirect interactions that can also negatively impact the native species in the area. An example of this is the spread of disease from invasive species to the native species. Often times, the invasive species come from locations that contain more disease and pathogens than that of the native species which makes them more vulnerable and susceptible to whatever the alien species introduce.

Over time, these impacts can grow and dramatically effect the habitat quality and biodiversity among many other things. This can indirectly effects humans as well due to loss of species we may consume leading to economic changes in some areas around the world.

What is being done to combat invasive species?

One of the most common ways marine invasive species move so far away form home is via ship ballasts. Governments are now focusing on how to handle this and change the way the water is being distributed by these ships. Regulations are being introduced to have ships dump the water into the surrounding area before leaving and also kill species stowaway species prior to being released in a location they are not native to.




Career Path Diagram

The chart below shows some of the options I am considering pursuing after graduating from Keene State College. Plan A is the option that seems most doable and would work out the best for starting off my future. Plan B is more of where I would like to end up in the near to later future and Z is the plan that everyone dreams of but is no where near very likely to happen.