course provides an in-depth survey of the geography, natural history
and ecology of tropical marine ecosystems. We discuss fisheries
and other human impacts, and conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems.
Our goal is to provide the scientific background necessary for conservation
and research in marine environments, whose protection has long been
overlooked and under-implemented due to a variety of factors we will
discuss in detail.
activities include lectures and guided field trips (bring your mask and snorkel!),
enabling close-up study of the natural history of sandy, rocky and coral systems.
The undoubtable highlight of the course is a three-week stay in the world-famous Galapagos
Marine Reserve, a veritable museum of evolutionary adaptation and speciation.
Our Galapagos experience includes an week-long natural history cruise, plus two-weeks
living with host families while studying at a local university on San Cristóbal
Island. On the mainland, we explore Ceiba's Lalo Loor reserve, protecting a
scarce remnant of Ecuador's coastal deciduous forests, and tour mangroves on the northern
coast (see Where We Go).
On San Cristóbal, each
student has the unique opportunity to carry out their own marine research project
at the GAIAS station. The facility has a fine library, modern classrooms
and computer facilities, internet access, and numerous marine sites within walking
distance of the door! Previous students have studied sea lion behavior, damsel
fish territories, and the effects of the local population on intertidal diversity.
The opportunity to live with Galapagos host families and do your own research there
is truly an experience you will find nowhere else!