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Summer Field Course in Rainforest Ecology

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COURSE LOCATION: Bocas del Toro Biological Station, Boca del Drago, Isla
Colon, Republic of Panama.  The biological station is located on a hill
facing the Caribbean Sea.  Coral reef and sea grass ecosystems lie in front
of the station and lowland tropical rain forests are directly behind.  This
juxtaposition of the two most biologically diverse ecosystems provides
tremendous opportunities for education and research.
Dr. Barry Sullender, Ph.D., Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation
and the Cuixmala School, Jalisco, Mexico.  Phone: 713-226-5561, email:
barry.w.sullender@gmail.com.  Specialty: Neotropical forest ecology,
plant-animal interactions, insect behavior.
Prof. Bill Maher, Tree Climbing U.S.A. , 251 Oak Grove Rd., Dawsonville, GA,
30534 phone: 229-732-5973, email: billmaher251@windstream.net,  Specialty:
Tree canopy access techniques.
COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This field course is designed to provide the student
with a foundation in ecological concepts and field techniques as applied to
tropical rainforest ecosystems.  The material covered is equivalent to a
university upper level course in tropical ecology.  The course is divided
into three parts.  During the first few days students will become familiar
with the many ecosystems found in our area and with the trail systems during
³orientation² walks.  The bulk of the first 10 days will be spent learning
field techniques and carrying out various group projects or exercises (see
below).  It is during this time period that students will learn to access
the canopy using various rope techniques (Climbing Certification is
available, please contact Joe Maher for details).  Midway through the course
the entire station community takes a field trip to the cloud forests of
Boquete (see details below).  On returning to the field station, students
work on their individual research projects and continue to receive lectures
in the evening.
FORMAL LECTURES.  Formal lectures will take place in the classroom and will
include the use of PowerPoint presentations and chalkboard. Lectures may
take place both during the day and evening.  Lecture topics will include:
o  Neotropical Life Zones and Forest Types
o  Tropical Forest Structure
o  Tropical forest Productivity
o  Epiphytes, Lianas and Creepers
o  Tropical Forest Dynamics
o  Nutrient Cycling
o  Neotropical Vertebrate Ecology
o  Neotropical Invertebrate Ecology
o  Biodiversity Hypotheses
o  Plant-Animal Interactions
o  Animal Defensive Strategies and Mimicry
o  Plant Defensive Strategies
o  Pollination and Dispersal ecology
o  Consequences of Human Use
o  Tropical Forest Conservation
INFORMAL LECTURES.  Informal lectures will be provided periodically during
orientation walks (when you first arrive), during group field projects or in
discussion groups. These will cover a wide variety of topics and will
generally be prompted by what we encounter in the field, or by the direction
taken during group discussions.
READINGS.  Readings corresponding to lecture subjects will be assigned in
the text.  We may also read and critique papers brought by students and
faculty and additional readings may be assigned from time to time.  In
addition, each student will read, critique, and provide oral reports on
published papers brought to Bocas.
REQUIRED TEXT: Kricher, John (2011).  Tropical Ecology. Princeton University
Press, Princeton, New Jersey.  ISBN 978-0-691-11513-9.
FIELD BOOK.  A field book will be required in the course.  The field book
will contain all data related to group projects and independent research
project.  The field book should also contain all other incidental
observations such as species lists, behavioral notes, etc., and contain
detailed location information. The field book must be water-proof and either
pencil or water-proof ink used to record data.
GROUP PROJECTS.  These are research, exercises or demonstrational projects
designed by the faculty and worked on in groups of four or six students.
The purpose of these projects is to familiarize students with an array of
field sampling techniques and equipment commonly used in field studies.
With help from a faculty member, students set up projects, collect data, and
generally (depends on the project), analyze data, present the results to the
class, and write a report.
INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH PROJECTS.  Working closely with faculty, students will
be responsible for designing and completing an original research project of
their choosing.  The project may deal with any topic in tropical ecology or
conservation.  These projects will be carried out during the second half of
the course and students will have about 10 days for data collection.  A few
days before the end of the course students will analyze their data, write a
technical report, prepare a PowerPoint presentation of their work and orally
present their findings during a station-wide symposium on the last day of
the course.
BOQUETE CLOUD FOREST FIELD TRIP:  This field trip will allow students the
opportunity to visit other areas of Panama, to experience Panamanian
culture, and to visit tropical cloud and seasonal forests first hand.  We
travel in ITEC boats to the mainland and then by chartered bus to Boquete
which lies at the base of 11,000 ft. Volcan Baru.  The bus trip will take us
up and over the central mountain range and through Palo Seco National Park.
Several stops will be made in route.
COURSE LENGTH: ITEC Summer field courses are about four weeks in length. The
TRE B-18 will run from June 15 through July 10, 2018.
TUITION: $2250 USD.  Tuition fee includes all lodging, meals and airport
transfers in Bocas del Toro.  The tuition also covers transportation and
lodging during the three-day cloud forest field trip on the mainland.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 15, 2018.  The course is limited to 10 students
and applications will be evaluated as they arrive.  If you believe that your
application may arrive late, notify ITEC.
GRADING and COURSE CREDIT:  Up to 6 units of credit will be given, 3 for the
lecture portion and 3 for the field portion.  A letter grade will be
assigned based on exams, reports, proposals, attendance at lectures, as well
as by less tangibles such as personal attitude, motivation, and contribution
to the course.  Course credit must be arranged in advance at the student¹s
institution.  Contact ITEC for details.
APPLICATIONS can be found at:http://itec-edu.org/education-programs/application
CONTACT:  Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation,  2911 NW 40th PL,
Gainesville, FL 32605, phone: 352-367-9128, email: itec@itec-edu.org, web:http://www.itec-edu.org
ITEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
founded in 1996.

Peter N. Lahanas, Ph.D
Executive Director
Institute for Tropical Ecology
and Conservation
2911 NW 40th Place
Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 367-9128
Phone in Panama: (507)6853-2134
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