Location: San Salvador Island, Bahamas
Course: BIOL 240
Biogeography is the scientific study of the patterns and causes of the distribution of organisms using a combination of ecological and evolutionary theory, geology, and geography: what species are where, and why? Islands have been the subject of important biogeographic work and have contributed substantially to existing biogeographic theory. The course covers the important elements of biogeographic theory within the context of islands using the marine and terrestrial flora and fauna of San Salvador Island. Students spend three weeks in residence at the Gerace Research Centre on San Salvador Island. Class activities include hikes through the rugged scrub-forest communities in the island's interior; snorkeling trips to coral reef, sea grass, and mangrove lagoon habitats; plant community analysis; rocky intertidal community sampling; a swim to an offshore island inhabited by iguanas; night snorkeling; and a descent into a water cave. Students are also exposed to the history and culture of the island.
Instructors: Professor of Biology Douglas Hamilton and Associate Professor of Biology Mark Kuhlmann
Length of program: 21 days