BIOL 492 – Marine and Island Ecology in the Bahamas
San Salvador, Bahamas
This course focuses on learning about tropical marine and island biology on the island of 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, 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 and research.
Time spent on the island will be largely hands-on and experiential. Students will have the opportunity to develop and carry out their own independent research projects; each student (or pair of students) will act as principle investigators utilizing assistance from the rest of the class to achieve their research goals. Considering that there is so much to see and learn on the island, days will be long and intense.
The island of 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), a packout lunch if on a day-long field trip, or occasionally noon lunch at the field station, an afternoon lecture and/or field activity, and dinner at 5:00-ish. There will often be organized evening activities, such as night snorkels, discussions, or lectures. Some evenings may be free for relaxing or for working on research projects or course materials.
Course dates: Jan. 8-May 4, 2018
Travel dates: March 1-11, 2018
Student estimated cost for trip & tuition: $3,925