BIO 320 - Tropical Biology in Costa Rica

BIO 320

Spring 2014

                      Instructor                                     Office                                                  Phone                                                        email

               Dr. Phillip Elliott                          Science 361                                           465-4496    

               Dr. Patricia Szczys                       Science 363                                           465-4324                                

Course Objectives: Tropical Biology-Costa Rica is designed to give you an opportunity to study first-hand the biology of tropical ecosystems. The emphasis of the course will be on basic aspects of tropical rainforest ecology and the natural history of tropical organisms.    However, the experience is intended to be multifaceted in its educational appeal, and attention will be directed toward such topics as the peculiarities of tropical agriculture, the socioeconomic consequences of development in the tropics, and the conservation of tropical ecosystems.

Course Requirements: The major component of the course is an intensive, twelve-day field experience in the Central American country of Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica you will keep a daily journal, participate in group discussions, and conduct a field research project. After returning from Costa Rica, a daily journal and your final research project  report will be due.   All of the submitted written work should reflect a standard of rigor appropriate for an upper-level course. In the event that your field project fails to yield meaningful results, an alternative writing assignment may, at the discretion of the instructor, be substituted for the field project report.

Prerequisites: BIO 360 - Ecology of Tropical Ecosystems.

This 1-credit seminar offered during the spring semester (Spring 2014) is open to anyone who has been accepted to participate in the Spring 2014 BIO 320 course. Students who have completed BIO 220 and BIO 230 can use the two-course combination of BIO 360 and BIO 320 as one of the 300-level courses required for the Biology major.

Required Textbooks:
Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rainforests of Central and South America, by A. Forsyth and K. Miyata; Scribners, 1984.

Important Dates:
May 19 - 30                Trip to Costa Rica
July 1                          Daily journal and all written assignments due

Cost: The cost for the field experience in Belize is anticipated to be approximately $2400, depending on the number of participants and airfares. This price covers all required expenditures associated with the trip.

Special Requirements: Because of its unique nature, the success of this course depends on the full cooperation and participation of everyone involved. You are expected to approach the course with an attitude of curiosity and commitment, and with a sense of responsibility for your actions, as well as the actions of the entire group. Please keep in mind that the nature of your individual participation contributes significantly to the group's collective experience.
Medical precautions for the trip to Costa Rica include malarial prophylaxis and an up-to-date tetanus-diphtheria booster shot; vaccination against hepatitis A is highly recommended.  Students are required to take out a personal travel insurance policy to protect against financial loss due to personal injury or unexpected cancellation of the trip.

Please note the following course requirements:
1. In order to participate, full-time ECSU students must register for BIO 320 Tropical Biology for the Spring 2014 semester, and must take the course for a letter grade.  BIO 320 may not be taken on a credit/no-credit basis.

2. Students enrolled in BIO 320 must complete all assignments by the stated deadlines in order to pass the course.

3. Any student who received scholarship money for BIO 320 but does not complete the course with a grade of C- or better will be required to repay the money in full.

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