The History of Tropical Field Courses at Eastern Connecticut State University
Annually since 1968 the Department of Biology has offered an international field experience in tropical biology. Until 1984 the course was conducted each May, at the end of the regular spring semester, in Bermuda at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research. In May 1984 a second course was introduced, with a group of students traveling to Jamaica to the Hofstra University Marine Laboratory. For a variety of reasons this experience was not considered satisfactory to complement the Bermuda course, and alternative locations were considered for future courses. Subsequently, in March 1986, Eastern offered its first field course in Central America in the country of Belize. For the next 15 years the Bermuda and Belize courses were offered on an alternate year rotation, with the Bermuda field experience being conducted in May of odd-numbered years and the Belize trip occurring in even-numbered years. In 2001 Eastern’s 33 year tenure of offering a field course in Bermuda ended, and the site for the field experience was moved to the Gerace Research Center, San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The most recent change in the program was made in 2008, with a shift in the location of our Central American course from Belize to Costa Rica.