Tropical Ecology – Biology 332 & 332E
On-campus course followed by a three-week trip to Costa Rica.
Director: Professor Catherine Cardelύs, Department of Biology
On-campus course: Fall 2019
Tentative travel dates: December 29th, 2019 - January 18th, 2020
Course credit: One credit for on-campus course
Extended study credit: One-half (.5) credit for extended study component
BIO 181; student admission depends on application and interview
Application deadline: March 29, 2019
In this course, we will learn about tropical ecology from the discoveries and theories of the early explorers like Humboldt to the modern theories of species biogeography. We will also learn about the human impacts on tropical diversity and the sustainability of tropical ecosystems. We will use seminal papers as our reading and discuss questions that are still debated by tropical ecologists, namely: Why are the tropics so diverse? How is this diversity maintained, how do communities respond to disturbance? and, How will global warming affect communities and species richness?
In the extended study component to Costa Rica, we will see firsthand what was studied during the fall semester of Tropical Ecology. The group will stay at four established field sites where we will conduct field work: coastal dry forest (Cabo Blaco Absolute Reserve-where we will celebrate the New Year), premontane cloud forest (Monteverde), lowland rainforest (La Selva Biological Station), and finally, upper montane oak forest (Cuerici, with a stop at a Paramo-bog). At each site, we will have guided tours to orient ourselves followed by field work, data analysis, and presentation of results. At each site, students will work in groups to execute projects that focus on some aspect of tropical ecology that they discovered during the lecture portion of the course.