Tropical Field Ecology (GB 459)
27 Dec 2013 - 5 Jan 2014

              Dwight Moore, Ph.D.      
              address - Department of Biological Sciences
                        Emporia State University
                        Emporia, KS  66801          
              phone - (620)-341-5611
              email -   

text:     Kaplan, Eugene T.   Southeastern and Caribbean Shores. 
          Houghton Mifflin Publ. Co., 
          Kaplan, Eugene T.  Coral Reefs (Caribbean and Florida).
          Houghton Mifflin Publ. Co., 

section:  GB 459, Gerace Research Center San Salvador
          Island, Bahamas, 27 Dec 20013 - 5 Jan 2014
I. course description:

Tropical Field Ecology will consist of 9 nights (10 days) (27 Dec 2013 - 5 Jan 2014) on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. The course will examine terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The terrestrial part of the course will examine the plants and animals of San Salvador Island, with emphasis on the distribution and habitat of birds and plants. The aquatic portion will examine the algae, plants and animals of the inland lakes and surrounding coral reefs. Students will be introduced to a variety of localities on and around the island, in each case the types of organisms and their habitats will be examined using an integrated ecosystems approach. See the list of daily activities.

II. course organization:

Material will be presented in a field situation that consists of demonstrations of organisms and their relationships to each other. Material will also be presented in laboratories at the Gerace esearch Center. Various handouts will be given that list the organisms to be identified which are specfifc to San Salvador Island. These handouts will supplement material in the field guides to be used for the course. The handouts should be kept in a small 3-ring binder, which will be provided, along with your field notes.

III. grading:

Your grade will be determined in three parts. The first part (35%) is your score on two practical examinations to be given in San Salvador. The examination will consist of an in-the-field test which will consist of identifying organisms in their natural setting and a lab test which will consist of identifying specimens and describing their habitat.Sometimes, the weather on the last day was such that the final identification test was done on campus, after the start of the spring semester.

The second part (50%) of your grade will be determined based upon your field notes. Your field notes should be a scientific diary of what you did each day, where you went, what organisms you saw, a description of each habitat that includes abiotic and biotic factors, and any other observations that you make. Field notes must be taken on "field note paper". The format will be explained at the beginning of class. Field notes must be written with permanent ink. Do NOT use ball point pen, flairs or the like. The purpose is to document your observations and speciemens in a permanent manner. Though field notes should be written daily, your notebooks are due 21 February 2014.

The third part (15%) of your grade will be based upon your participation in the activities of the course. This will include your enthusiasm for learning the material, your willingness to participate in the lab and field activities, and your performance as a team member in the scientific exploration of San Salvador. I might mention that the sun is very intense in the tropics, more intense than anything you are likely to have experienced before this. If you ignore the precautions against sunburn and get sunburned so that you cannot work, you will lose a letter grade from your final grade.

A  = 92.0% to 100%
A-  = 89.0% to 91.9%
B+  = 86.0% to 88.9%
B  = 83.0% to 85.9%
B-  = 79.0% to 82.9%
C+  = 76.0% to 78.9%
C  = 70.0% to 75.9%
D  = 60.0% to 69.9%
F < 60.0%

IV. additional information:

You are also expected to carefully read the additional material concerning the description of the Gerace Research Center and its policies and procedures. This information will be sent upon registering for the course. You should pay close attention to the suggested clothing and equipment to bring. Remember that the less that you pack, the happier you will be. We will be spending the nights of 26 Dec 2013 and 5 Jan 2014 in Miami. You should make travel arrangements to accomodate your stay in Miami. Finally, you are expected to conduct yourself as a responsible visitor and guest in a foreign country. This means not only obeying the laws of The Bahamas, but at all times being friendly to those you meet as well as the people in your class.

Provide comments to Dwight Moore at
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