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San Salvador Course Outline


BIO 320 Tropical Biology - San Salvador

Spring 2015 3 credits

Pre/Co-requisites: BIO 319 Oceanic Island Ecology (1 cr) and Permission of Instructor

Dr. Charles Booth - Science 357 860-465-5260

Dr. Ross Koning - Science 356 860-465-5327

Dr. Joshua Idjadi - Science 365 860-465-0034

Dr. W. Brett Mattingly - Science 364 860-465-4499

Course Objectives: Tropical Biology-San Salvador provides an opportunity to study first-hand the biology of tropical terrestrial and marine ecosystems. It involves an intensive ten-day field experience on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, at the College of the Bahamas' Gerace Research Centre (GRC). The dates for the trip are May 14-26, 2015. San Salvador's flora and fauna include both native and introduced species, making the island a natural laboratory for studying island biogeography. Marine studies will focus on coral reef, sea grass bed, mangrove, beach, and rocky shore communities. Terrestrial studies will examine cave, mud flat, sand dune, and upland shrub communities. In addition to their field studies, students will experience the enchanting culture of a Bahamian "out-island."

While on the island, you will keep a field notebook that includes descriptions of your daily field and class experiences. Nightly lab sessions and discussions will supplement each day's field observations. After returning from San Salvador, you will turn in three papers based upon your field experiences and literature research that focus upon the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of San Salvador.

Required Textbooks, One of the following:

Kaplan, E. H. 1988. Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton-Mifflin, Boston. 425 pp.

ISBN (paper edition) 0-395-46811-6


Humann, P. and N. Deloach (2013) Reef Coral Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas (3rd ed.). New World Publications Jacksonville, FL

ISBN (paper edition) 978-1878348548

Strongly Recommended:

Chaplin, C. G. and P. Scott. 1972. Fishwatchers Guide to West Atlantic Coral Reefs. Livingston Publishing Co., Wynnewood, PA. 65 pp.

ISBN (plastic, waterproof edition) 0-915180-08-1

Requirements: Because of the unique nature of an international field course, its success depends on the full cooperation and participation of everyone involved. You are expected to have an attitude of responsibility, curiosity, and commitment. To complete the course with a passing grade and use it for upper-level biology major/minor credit, you must:

  • Complete BIO 319 Oceanic Island Ecology with a grade of C- or better;
  • e enrolled in BIO 320 Tropical Biology for the Spring 2015 semester;
  • Pay the necessary course fees (est. $2,000.00 total) in full by February 23, 2015;
  • Complete and submit the required Eastern Connecticut State University Global Field Course forms and Gerace Research Centre forms by March 9, 2015;
  • Adhere to the Eastern Connecticut State University Student Code of Conduct during the trip;
  • Appear on time at the airport, and be punctual for all course activities during the trip;
  • Prepare the required papers (two essays and a field report) and submit them on or before June 29, 2015 (papers submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than June 29, 2015). Essay and field report topics will be announced on the trip.

Supplemental Readings (available for downloading at

Carlquist, S. 1981. Chance Dispersal. Scientific American. 69: 509-516.

Case, T.J. and M.L. Cody. 1987. Testing theories of island biogeography. Amer.Sci. 75: 402-411.

Goreau, T.F., N.I. Goreau, and T.J. Goreau. 1979. Corals and coral reefs. Sci. Amer. 241(2): 124-136.

Sealey, N. 1998. Bahamian Landscapes. 3rd ed. (Chapter 1). Media Publishing, Nassau, Bahamas.

Additional references pertaining to the assigned essays and field report will also be posted at

Grading: Your course grade for BIO 320 will be based on your participation in the field and participation in class discussions while on San Salvador (20%), and the quality of the essays submitted upon your return (80%).