Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences

The Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences (MEES) graduate program is a highly interdisciplinary, multi-campus graduate program in marine and environmental science. The program’s strength is drawn from the diverse expertise of its faculty affiliated with several USM institutions, as well as from government and non-government agencies. The program affords students an unparalleled opportunity to combine the expertise of the best environmental scientists in the region to guide their program of study.

The interests of students in the program are diverse, but generally center on some aspect of the interaction between biological, physical and/or chemical systems in the environment. Research activities range from studies of molecular mechanisms to fisheries ecology, chemical pollutants, or economics of environmental impact. Since its faculty members come from so many sources, MEES provides unique and valuable graduate education across the broad range of the environmental sciences.

The Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences graduate program includes four foundation areas: 

Earth & Ocean Sciences

In this foundation, students will gain a fundamental understanding of the movement and transformation of materials and energy between mountain headwater and estuarine, coastal, and oceanic systems, including geomorphology and landscape dynamics, physical circulation and transport, chemical transformation, and biological reaction. This foundational area also includes elements of environmental chemistry, geochemistry, hydrology, and toxicology to help understand and predict the fate and effects of nutrients and contaminants in the environment. 


Ecological Systems

Students will gain literacy in central theories and avenues of research in ecological systems, including the principles of production, natural selection and life history, population ecology, communities and ecosystems and land- and seascapes. In this Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences Program, students will apply demonstrated mastery of the principle theories and ideas relating to ecological systems and prove their ability to express ideas in quantitative terms relating to ecological systems across systems and scales.


Environmental Molecular Science & Technology

Students will gain literacy and understanding of molecular biological processes, methods and approaches related to environmental systems including DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis, genomics and comparative and environmental genomics. In this Marine Estuarine and Environmental Sciences Program, students will learn how molecular techniques have revolutionized ecology, conservation, and taxonomy, allowed the understanding of microbial communities and provided the opportunity to investigate the characteristics of plant and animal populations in non-invasive ways.


Environment & Society

Students will obtain foundational knowledge of core theories and methods in the following domains of integrated social and environmental sciences: Coupled natural and human systems, cultural models of the environment, political ecology, participation and governance, ecological economics, and environmental ethics. Students will develop scholarship and practice in social science aspects of coupled natural human systems that includes critical thinking, written and verbal communication, and will practice in interdisciplinary fieldwork to hone skills in data collection and analysis, consensus building, and stakeholder analysis.