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Coastal Biology – BIOL 482

Reef Photo
Reef Photo

Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Spring Break 2018

3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): Biol  220W

Application deadline: December 14, 2018


Biol 482 is a combination lecture and intensive field course designed to introduce participants to the Caribbean coral reef biome and other near-shore environments such as rocky shores, mangroves and seagrass beds. Students will learn through theoretical and practical exercises how environmental and biological factors interact to sustain near-shore ecosystems. We will discover and describe the amazing diversity of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove systems, explore the physiological and behavioral adaptations that enable organisms to live in these environments and deduct the basic ecological principles that underlie the function of near-shore ecosystems. Students may choose to focus on current issues in marine conservation science as part of their class projects. Topics may include but are not limited to connectivity among marine populations, predator-prey interactions, disease dynamics, adaptation to climate change, and conservation genetics.

A field trip during spring break will take us to the Carmabi Research Station on the beautiful island of Curacao, part of the Netherland Antilles in the southern Caribbean. Healthy coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds are easily accessible from shore and we will study them by snorkeling (students may SCUBA dive in their free time). The colonial past and economic realities in Curacao provide an instructive background to understand the complexity of marine conservation issues today. This course requires strong participation and thus is most suited for highly motivated students.

Students are eligible to apply for:


**2018 application deadline is December 14, 2018*

Dr. Iliana Baums, Assistant Professor of Biology, Penn State University

Visit The Baums Laboratory website to learn more about this course and researching coral reef ecosystems.