[Coral-List] Winter 2012 Field Course in Coral Reef Ecology (Caribbean of Panama)

Carlos G. A. Ormond cormond at sfu.ca
Tue Sep 11 09:30:43 EDT 2012

2012 WINTER COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT (December 20th- January 9th) 


INSTRUCTORS: Carlos G. A. Ormond, Simon Fraser University, email: cormond at sfu.ca; Elizabeth McGinty, University of Texas-Arlington, email: mcginty at uta..edu; Laís Chaves, Federal University of Pernambuco, email: lctchaves at gmail.com; Micah Marty, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, email: mjm5853 at uncw.edu; and Stephanie Green, Simon Fraser University, email: stephanie.green at sfu.ca; 

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 interactions with coral reef ecosystems, both past and present. To compliment the course, students will be exposed to both Spanish and Portuguese in order to encourage students to interact with the both the local and LAC communities. 

Using this multidisciplinary framework, the course will demonstrate the importance of balancing investigative field research with respect for local communities and dynamic problem solving. A large component of the course will involve fieldwork, 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 students of the natural sciences but also those of the social sciences. 

General Topics 
- Cultural Anthropology and Political History of Panama 
- Geologic History of Coral Reefs 
- Oceanographic Principles 
- Concepts in Ecological Theory 
- Biogeochemistry and Trophic Dynamics on Reef Systems 
- Benthic Invertebrates 
- Fish Ecology and Behavior 
- Research Grant Proposal Writing 
- Experimental Design and Analytical Techniques 
- Coral Reef Conservation and Climate Change 
- Invasive Lionfish in the Caribbean and Reef Management 

PREREQUISITES: This course is open to students from all post-secondary levels, from early undergraduates to graduate students, looking for field experience and/or a study site. While completion of introductory university level biology and ecology courses would be beneficial, these subjects will be introduced/reviewed during the course. 

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 proof of certification. There is the possibility of receiving dive certification from the local dive shops. If this is something that interests you, please contact Carlos G. A. Ormond for more information. 

REFERENCES: Please go to the course website ( http://itec-edu.org/coral8.html ) for contact info from previous students in this course. 

LOCATION: The field course 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 

The Bocas del Toro Biological Station is located on the north end of Isla Colón in an area known as Boca del Drago. 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. 

COURSE LENGTH AND SCHEDULE: Winter 2012 field courses are three weeks in length (December 20th- January 9th). 

TUITION: $1850 USD. Tuition fee includes all room and board at the field station and a three-day field trip to the Boquete cloud forest on Panama’s mainland. 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: November 20, 2012. Since registration is limited to 15 students, we recommend those interested to contact one of the instructors in order for them to be aware of your interest and application. 

COURSE CREDIT: Up to eight units of credit will be granted for this course. Credit must be arranged by the student through his/her academic advisor and university. Contact ITEC or Carlos G. A. Ormond 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 G. A. Ormond, email: 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 G. A. Ormond. 


Carlos G. A. Ormond, Ph.D.(c.) 
Research Coordinator- Institute for Environmental Learning 
Simon Fraser University 

Faculty & Board Member- Coral Reef Ecology 
Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation 

phone 604-512-8254 
email cormond at sfu.ca 

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