[Coral-List] Winter 2010 Field Course in Coral Reef Ecology (Caribbean of Panama)

Carlos G. A. Ormond cormond at sfu.ca
Wed Sep 22 13:57:27 EDT 2010

2010 WINTER COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT (December 20th- January 9th)


LOCATION:  The field courses will take place at the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC) Bocas del Toro Biological Station, Boca del Drago, Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, Panama: http://www.itec-edu.org/index.html

The Bocas del Toro ("mouths of the bull") Biological Station is located on the north end of Isla Colón in an area known as Boca del Drago ("mouth of the dragon"). Isla Colón is the northern-most of five large islands and hundreds of smaller ones that form the Bocas del Toro Archipelago. Set in Almirante Bay on the Caribbean side of western Panama, this collection of islands is sometimes referred to as the "Galapagos of Central America". This is because, after having been isolated for 10,000 years by geologic activity, each of the islands has evolved its own unique biota. Taking its name from Christopher Columbus who sailed into this region in 1502, Isla Colón is approximately 14 km long and 7 km wide. Isla Colón is composed primarily of limestone, and has a hilly topography supporting primary and secondary tropical rain forest. This island has a 5 km beach (Bluff Beach) on its east side, mangroves on its west side, and caves in the interior. Marine habitats include extensive turtle grass beds, hard and soft coral reefs, beaches, rocky intertidals, mangrove forests and estuaries.

Isla Colón has the highest human population in the archipelago, with most individuals living in the town of Bocas del Toro located on the far side of the island from our facility. Besides being biologically diverse, the region is also culturally diverse with a mix of Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and indigenous Ngöbe. Spanish is the official language but English is spoken. Many Ngöbe speak only their native dialect. There are only two roads on the island, both originating in the town of Bocas. One road travels along the eastern margin of the island to Bluff Beach and the other cuts through the island's interior to Boca del Drago, where our facility is located. 

INSTRUCTOR: Carlos Gustavo A. Ormond, Simon Fraser University; Conservation Science Institute; Coalición por los Tiburones (Shark Coalition), email: cormond at sfu.ca; Elizabeth McGinty (TA), University of Texas at Arlington, email: mcginty at uta.edu

COURSE LENGTH AND SCHEDULE: Winter field courses are three weeks in length (December 20th- January 9th).

TUITION: $1650 USD. Tuition fee includes all room and board, local transportation and a three-day field trip to the Boquete cloud forest on Panama’s mainland.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: November 20, 2010. Since registration is limited to 10 students, we recommend those interested to contact the Carlos in order for him to be aware of your application. 

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is designed to promote the desire for not only discovery and advanced understanding of coral reef ecosystems from an integrated ecological perspective but also an appreciation and understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) culture. In addition to learning coral reef ecosystem dynamics, organism identification, and experimental design, this course will also investigate human dimensions in coral reef ecosystems, both past and present. To compliment the course and for the pure enjoyment of learning a new language, students will be taught a “Spanish for Survival” at the beginning of the session.

By taking an integrated multidisciplinary approach, this course will demonstrate the importance of melding traditional approaches to understanding and investigating coral reef ecosystems with the human dimension. A large component of the course will involve field work, complimented by lectures and discussions on daily course readings. The course will require the completion of group assignments, as well as an individual research project that may be as much sociological as it is ecological in theory. Therefore, the course will not only be of interest to those of you in the natural sciences but also those of you from the social sciences.

General Topics
•        Spanish Language
•        Environmental History and Cultural Anthropology of Panama
•        Coral Reef Formation and Oceanography
•        Coral Reef Ecology
•        Sampling Methods
•        Research Design
•        Present State of Coral Reefs
•        Coral Reef Conservation issues
•        Human Rights and the Environment in Latin America
•        Global Environmental Governance

NOTE: Dive certification is not necessary to enroll in this course, but what is required is an attraction to the ocean and a comfort in being in it. All students will require snorkel equipment (mask and fins) and those with SCUBA certification are expected to bring their own BCD, regulator, and most importantly proof of certification. There is the possibility of renting dive equipment as well as receiving dive certification from the local dive shops. If this is something that interests you, please contact Carlos for more information.

COURSE CREDIT: Up to six units of credit will be granted for these courses. Credit must be arranged by the student through his/her academic advisor and university.  Contact ITEC for details.

CONTACT: Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation (ITEC); 1023 SW 2nd Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601; phn: 352-367-9128, fax: 352-367-0610, email:itec at itec-edu.org., or Carlos Gustavo A. Ormond cormond at sfu.ca.  Please visit us on the web at www.itec-edu.org.  ITEC is a Non-profit (501c3) organization.

* Aunque esta clase está presentada en inglés, si sos hispanoparlante y estás interesado/a en tomar esta clase sobre los arrecifes de coral por favor comunícate conmigo, Carlos Gustavo A. Ormond

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