This course examines the use of fossils as tools for interpreting Earth's ancient oceans and the life they once supported. Methods for inferring physical and chemical aspects of marine settings (e.g., oxygen levels, salinity variation) and the use of major marine fossil taxa as past analogues of modern organisms, will allow for the reconstruction of paleoenvironments. We will explore techniques used to infer how organisms functioned within their life environments and how they interacted with other life forms, and we will survey major events in the history of Earth's oceans and marine biota, including some significant fossil locations (i.e., lagerstatten), as a means of introducing major ecological principles. Laboratories and exercises involving fossil specimens will constitute a significant portion of the final grade, and at least one field trip will be required. Prerequisite: BIOL 116 or permission of the instructor. This class fulfills the environmental biology diversity requirement for the biology major.