Roatán Field Tour in Marine Sciences
Through BIO 456 Advanced Topics in Biology of Marine Life, students will have the opportunity to investigate tropical marine biology in Roatán, Honduras over winter break. The application deadline is August 1st.
Understanding and quantifying human impacts is needed for the evaluation of tradeoffs (or compatibility) between the needs of humans to use ocean resources and the protection of marine ecosystems and services they provide. This course will challenge students to confront issues relevant to human impacts on the marine environment and ask students to engage in a conversation about the best strategies and practices to mitigate these effects based both on prior and new scientific knowledge. Each class period, students will focus on a new area of marine science and be tasked with describing the scope of the problem based on readings from the scientific literature and asked to formulate solutions by providing scientific evidence in the primary literature for ways to solve these 21st century issues.
The course will culminate in a final project that allows students to practice communicating scientific topics effectively by clearly articulating the complex network of actors involved in science and society debates, their arguments, positions, agreements and disagreements. This visual display will be a departure from traditional lecture format, rather students should make simple arguments through compelling visuals projected on to a large screen and give a lively talk of no more than 5 minutes. Think TED talk-style where scientists engages the public in a conversation of well formulated ideas. These talks are so effective as they allow the audience to focus on one subject at a time in short chunks. This presentation should discuss how scientists gained and manipulated data and assumptions in data and how we should move forward as a society.
Field-based Tour on Ethical Engagement in Marine Science:
In the course of the quarter we will investigate many marine habitats from the deep sea to the mid water, from coastal to open ocean environments and human impacts on these ecosystems. The field-based opportunity in Roatán will specifically investigate tropical marine biology with a focus on coral reef ecosystems that are threatened by factors ranging from local point-source pollution, overfishing, acidification, mangrove deforestation, and global climate change. Topics for focused discussion and lecture presentation will include the biology of reef-building corals including anatomy, physiology, nutrition, reproductive strategies, and morphology; tropical fish morphology, behavior, diversity, and ecology; marine plant morphology and chemical ecology; marine invertebrate taxonomy; mangrove communities; conservation biology; marine mammal biology. Students will be literally and figuratively immersed in marine ecosystems ranging from fringing and barrier reefs, seagrass beds, and mangroves with the goal of examining the adaptions of organisms to reef environments and enhanced discussion of human impacts on marine ecosystems. The week-long course will be geared towards “hands on” instruction geared toward spending as much time as possible in the marine environment.
A maximum of 5 students from enrolled in the course will be able to attend the winter break field study in Roatán to study tropical coral reef ecosystems. Participants will depart on Saturday, January 5th and return on Saturday, January 12th (these dates are firm). Students must be departing from the continental U.S. and must hold a passport valid for 6 months longer than your stay (expiry date must be after July 12, 2019). This is to expedite ticket purchasing for selected students and a requirement of the educational program in Roatán. A complete online application must be submitted by August 1, 2018 by 9am to be considered for the field study.
Passport and Visa Information
All students participating in this trip are required to have a passport valid for six months after the return date of travel of January 15, 2019.
Students who are not U.S. citizens may require a visa for entry to Roatán, Honduras.