Wooster Summer in Trinidad & Tobago Summer 2009
Wooster Summer in Trinidad and Tobago is a three-week hands-on tropical field biology course located on the twin islands of Trinidad and Tobago. This course is open to all students (no prerequisites) and is designed to introduce students to the fundamental principles of biology in the tropics through classroom instruction and field experience in the diverse ecosystems of Trinidad and Tobago. A particular focus will also be put on designing an independent research project that will be carried out near the end of the course. Through this project, students will gain first-hand experience in experimental design, hypothesis testing, data collection and analysis and communicating scientific results. Fieldtrips to lowland and montane rainforests, coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and tropical freshwater aquatic ecosystems will provide abundant opportunity to highlight the biological diversity of this island nation. Field orientation at each site visited (by the instructor and local experts) will provide students with the opportunity to experience tropical habitats and learn to identify important local species of fauna and flora. An emphasis will also be given to issues of human impact, conservation, and sustainable use of resources. During the stay students will immerse themselves in the human culture of the islands to foster a more global perspective.
TROPICAL FIELD BIOLOGY (BIOL 142) - his course is an introduction to the ecology and conservation of tropical environments and their biota. Through lectures, field experiences and an independent research project, students will learn about such topics as ecological interactions, the natural history of locally important plant and animal species, biodiversity dynamics and human impacts on tropical ecosystems. Students will also receive instruction in data analysis and methodology in field biology. The course is taught in a tropical location during the summer for three intensive weeks. Offered: annually, summer. Pre-requisites: none. Note: Biology majors seeking major credit will be required to complete additional assignments. [+]
(Note: Two pre-departure orientation sessions will occur after spring break) Day 1 - Depart U.S., arrive in Tobago at Crown Point International Airport, travel by car to Charlotteville (lodging at Man of War Bay Cottages). Welcome Dinner. Day 2 - Lecture: Tobago – the Historical and Cultural Context / Introductory lectures on Trinidad and Tobago environment and ecosystems / Orientation hike up Flagstaff Hill Day 3 – Free ½-day / Lecture: Origins of the Trinidad and Tobago biota / Biogeographic patterns and endemism Day 4 - Lecture: Tropical ecology and Caribbean biodiversity / Orientation hike to Argyle Falls and cocoa plantation tour / night trip to observe sea turtle nesting Day 5 – Lecture: Rain forest dynamics and disturbance regimes / Orientation hike to Forest Reserve / guest lecture by forestry personnel / Quiz 1 / dinner at local restaurant, live steel pan concert Day 6 - Visit to Tobago Botanical Gardens in Scarborough / Lecture: Plant-animal interactions / Cultural excursion to Fort King George and Tobago Museum / Mini-project: collect hummingbird pollination data in Charlotteville Day 7 – Lecture: Coral reef ecology & marine environments / Trip to Little Tobago Island in glass bottom boat (optional snorkeling on reef) Day 8 – Lecture: aquatic ecology (freshwater systems) / Trip to Hillsborough Dam / Mini-project: Ecological gradients and community composition – fish sampling in the Bloody Bay River and tributaries / Quiz 2 Day 9 - Free day Day 10 - Free day Day 11 - Conferences on independent research project ideas / Begin data collection for independent research projects / Night trip for frog population monitoring program. Day 12 - Continue data collection for independent research projects Day 13 - Continue data collection / Lecture: statistics Day 14 - Quiz 3 / Independent Research Project presentations / ‘Farewell to Tobago’ Dinner Day 15 - Depart Tobago, travel to Trinidad / accommodations and dinner at William Beebe Tropical Research Station (‘Simla’) / Orientation hike Day 16 - Bird watching and rain forest hike at Asa Wright Nature Lodge / Lecture: Ecological interactions / Cultural excursion to native Carib community in Arima Day 17 – Lecture: Climate change in the Tropics / Afternoon excursion to Caroni Swamp Day 18 - Free day / Optional hike up El Tucuche to conduct surveys for the El Tucuche golden frog (Phyllodytes auratus) (Warning this hike will be strenuous and not for the faint of heart!) Day 19 - Free day Day 20 - Blanchisseuse-Paria hike / Lecture: Conservation and sustainability at rainforest waterfall / Guest lecture professor from the University of the West Indies Day 21 - Tropical Grassland Ecosystems / English Tea at Pax Guest House / Quiz 4 Day 22 - Depart Trinidad for U.S.
In Tobago, we stay at the Man of War Bay Cottages. Located directly on the beach in the picturesque village of Charlotteville, these cottages sleep from 4-6 students each and include full shower and cooking facilities. While in Trinidad we make our accommodations at the William Beebe Tropical Research Station (“Simla”). Located in the Arima Valley and surrounded by rainforest, this a 19th century cocoa plantation greathouse that has been converted into a biological station. All students stay in the greathouse, which is divided into a number of smaller sleeping rooms, research laboratories, a large common area, and a kitchen. Wireless internet access is available on site.
To apply to the Wooster in Trinidad and Tobago program, fill out an application form (due in early February). A $500 non-refundable deposit will be due in early March and will secure your placement in the course. If there are more applicants than spots available, students will be admitted to the course based on academic standing, information from references and on the personal statement on the application form.
The fee of $2900 includes tuition, room, board and the mandatory study abroad medical insurance policy.
Please contact the Dr. Rick Lehtinen in the biology department or the OCS Director for more information.
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