San Salvador Island, Bahamas
Course Dates: Jan. 12-May 8, 2015
Travel Dates: March 5-15, 2015
Led by Dr. Alyssa Anderson and Janne Jockheck Holt, this course will focus on tropical marine and island biology at Gerace Research Station on San Salvador in the Bahamas. Learning will include a combination of traditional lecture, field, and laboratory explorations of marine and island biology. Prior to travel, weekly class sessions will be held to familiarize students with course goals and expectations, develop familiarity with concepts and environments unique to the marine and island setting, and explore relevant literature. Time spent on the island will be largely hands-on. Considering that there is so much to see and learn on the island, days will be long and intense.
San Salvador offers the perfect environment to observe ecological processes, evolutionary histories, and biodiversity trends unique to islands. The island also provides a great variety of unique terrestrial and aquatic habitats to explore and study. Terrestrial habitats include scrub forests, sandy and rocky shorelines, and limestone caves, while aquatic habitats include coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove zones, intertidal areas, and inland saline ponds.
A typical weekday on San Salvador Island would involve breakfast at 7:30 a.m., a morning lecture and/or field activity (or work on research projects), lunch at noon at the field station (or a packout lunch if on a day-long field trip), an afternoon lecture and/or field activity, and dinner around 5 p.m. There will usually be organized evening activities, such as night snorkels, discussions, or lectures. Some evenings may be free for relaxing or working on research projects or course materials.