GEO/GLG/IES/LAS 413/513: Tropical Marine Ecology of the Florida Keys, Everglades & Bahamas
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|Course Announcement & Brief Description//Further Information||Essential Participant Information||Equipment Resources|
|Tropical Marine Ecology Syllabus||Latest Florida Keys and Bahamas Weather||The Don't Leave Home Without It List|
|Evaluation||Texts||TME Course Reader Table Of Contents|
|Student Led Presentation Topics||Tentative Schedule||Important Contacts: People, Places and Phone Numbers|
Tropical Marine Ecology of the Florida Keys, Everglades and San Salvador, BahamasListen to a "vocal intro" to the "Tropical Marine Ecology" Syllabus Page (Quicktime: or MP3)
GEO/GLG/LAS/IES 413/513--May 2020
Focus: Tropical Marine Ecology is being offered to introduce both undergraduate and graduate students to the present and past ecologic environments of the Bahamas, Everglades and Florida Keys. Topics will be covered from an interdisciplinary perspective and students should have a keen interest in natural science. Quite simply, we will learn by doing. We will look, discuss, ask questions, reflect, and look again! It is possible you will learn more in this field course than you will in a semester back at Miami!
We will explore:
Days are spent in the field making observations and responding to questions and what I call "ecosystem challenges." Field notebooks and underwater slates will be provided. We will examine coral reef and grassbed ecology, taxonomy of vertebrates, invertebrates and flora (of coral reefs, lagoons and tidal flats), climate, and many physical aspects of marine ecology. Measurements and interpretation of environmental parameters (currents, tides, dissolved oxygen, pH, Eh, salinity, and temperature), sedimentology, and the statistical analyses of ecologic data will be performed using modern instrumentation and computers. Group and individual projects concerning biologic and physical analyses of select marine environments will be performed. We'll spend lots of time in the water, swimming and snorkeling. SCUBA opportunities will be available throughout the trip.
Nights are spent in laboratory work, discussion groups, lectures and astronomic observations using a telescope.
Class Mix: Our goal is to have a class with a healthy variety of undergraduate majors, graduate students, and teachers that are eager to contribute and learn about these ecosystems. People from other universities, states or countries are encouraged to attend!
Where: San Salvador, Bahamas, Everglades and Florida Keys
Prerequisites: Strong desire to learn and two natural science courses. Limited scholarships are available. Maximum enrollment: 20.
CREDIT: 5 semester hours
COST:$1295 plus tuition and fees for 5 credit hours of Miami University Registration
REGISTRATION:Reserve a spot by contacting Dr. Hays Cummins and paying a $100 deposit. First come - first served.
Tropical Marine Ecology IMAGES
Tropical Ecosystem of Costa Rica IMAGES
Syllabus:Tropical Ecosystems of Costa Rica
Director: Dr. Hays Cummins, Miami University, 513-529-1338
Who is Dr. Cummins? My doctorate is in oceanography. Besides satisfying my love of the sea, I chose this field because of its inherent interdisciplinarity and broad systems approach towards understanding the world around us. Over the years, I have received over $3,500,000 in research funding from the National Science Foundation for work in paleobiology, science pedagogy and the development of a young investigator's magazine called Dragonfly. I love being in the field and I love to teach. Tropical Marine Ecology is in its 14th year.
Goals & Objectives
Welcome to Tropical Marine Ecology. First of all, we will see and do many things. This is a field course where we will investigate aquatic systems (estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, lagoons, beaches, intertidal zones, taxonomy of vertebrates and invertebrates of coral reefs, lagoons, and tidal flats) and paleobiology and global change (paleo-reconstruction of past lagoon environments, fossil coral reefs, dune systems and land use). Along the way, we we will integrate your research questions--group projects concerning biological and physical analyses of a select marine habitat-- into the overall experience culminating with a presentation of your work at our own Natural History of the Bahamas Research Symposium.
To recap, we will explore:
For the first part of the course, we will be based in the Florida Keys & Everglades
More Info on Page 2
As part of a Miami Plan thematic sequence, GLG 413 addresses these Miami Plan principles:
Here are a few expected student outcomes:
Tropical Marine Ecology counts for:
Students in our course have a wide range of rich academic backgrounds. Participants include teachers, graduate students, and undergraduate students at various stages in their careers. Because of this diversity, I ask that everyone be open to what others have to offer -- we can all learn from one another. To facilitate this interaction, I would like each research "team" to have a mixture of participants with various academic backgrounds in it. In this way we can all work together towards making your experience as productive as possible.
Evaluation of your performance will be based upon your participation in all aspects of the course--I anticipate active engagement. Highlights include field work and preparation of a field journal, participation in evening discussions and labs (see the frisbee lab, earth-sun lab, geologic time scale metaphor lab, and the moon lab as examples), group interaction, research-team project reports, and a San Salvador Natural History Symposium where we celebrate the presentation of your field research projects. You will also research a topic of your choice before arriving for the course and present your topic to the class--sign-up here! I expect that you will be tired by the end of it all, but you will have learned more in this seventeen day field experience than in an entire semester of regular course work.
Division of Labor-Undergraduates, Graduate Students and Teachers:
Our course will have undergraduates and graduate students enrolled. All students will complete a Field Journal, in-country bio-challenges, lead discussions, and share their group research findings during our annual San Salvador Natural History Research Symposium. Graduate students, Honors students fulfilling Tier 2 requirements, undergraduates receiving zoology credit, and Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) have some additional, unique requirements beyond those of many undergraduates.
Undergraduates-- Honors students fulfilling Tier 2 requirements, undergraduates receiving zoology credit, and Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS) will complete every aspect of the course including the post-field course research synthesis paper. Other undergraduates will complete all aspects of the course except the post-field course research paper
Undergraduate Summer Scholars (USS)--All USS students, prior to the international marine ecology field experience, will develop, in consultation with your USS mentor(s), a pre-trip detailed research proposal that further develops and builds upon your USS submission. This pre-field experience proposal will prepare you to complete the field portion of your work. Your detailed 5-10 page written proposal will include a title, abstract, Introduction (including why you chose this research question, relevance of the research question, background info), a literature review, a clear articulation of your research question and predictions, and materials and methods.
In addition, all USS will present to the class an overview of their research during the international field experience. Upon your return to the states, you will continue your research, work with your USS mentor(s), analyze and synthesize your data, write your final research report, and prepare your presentation of your work at the fall USS symposium at Miami University.
Honors students, students receiving zoology credit, and Graduate Students: Upon your return to the United States, you will be expected to write up a final research report on your In-country Marine Ecology Research Project. Your paper should include a bibliography, a synopsis of your research question, your experimental design and field methods, your data, statistical analyses and graphs, discussion, conclusions and recommendations for further research.
Teachers (if following the "teaching unit route" will: (1) post on the Web an outline of the "Teaching Unit" before we leave for Florida; (2) present your "Teaching Unit" to the class--I anticipate some great feedback from the class! and (3) turn in and post to the Web your "Teaching Unit" three weeks after returning to the United States.
|Class Participation||100 pts|
|Field & Readings Journal||150 pts|
| Ecosystem Challenges
|Discovery-Oriented Research Projects
Topic Presentation & Topic Paper
Teachers: "Ecology Teaching Unit"
Natural History Symposium of San Salvador (Based Upon Your Group Field Research)
Graduate Students: Research Paper
|Point Total||1000 pts|
There are several tasks to complete prior to arriving in Florida. First, you must select a presentation topic and post a discussion outline (see below) to the Web. This is followed by the completion of (2)a five page paper, with sources,that is developed from the foundation provided by your presentation topic. And last, (3) you must have finished reading The Enchanted Braid by Osha Gray Davidson, published by John Wiley and Sons, prior to arriving in Florida.
Student-Led Discussion/Presentation Topics (First-Come, First Served)
As part of our course expectations, each student will present a fifteen minute talk on a marine/ecological topic of your choice during the course. These presentations will be in the evenings. I expect you to research a topic of interest to you and share what you know with the class. Topics can include, but are not restricted to, anything related to marine science, oceanography, ecology, mangroves, coral reefs, lagoons, the Everglades, agriculture in southern Florida, the Seminole Indians, birds, alligators and other specific organisms of interest, introduced species, seagrass beds, human perturbation, paleobiology, air-sea interactions, climate change--let your interests lead the way. Priority for presentation topics will be on a first-come, first served basis.
Topic Paper Outline and Papers
Your topic paper (5 pages plus references) will be based upon the foundation provided by your presentation outline. Sign-up with me via the Discussion Feedback Web Page If you have questions, please e-mail or phone me at 529-1338 or feel free to come see me during my office hours, 3-5 T &TH in 15 Peabody Hall on the Western campus.
Look at previous years' submissions:
Review Sample Discussion Topics from Previous Years
Field Course Discussions/Presentations-2008,'07, '06, '05,'04,'03,'02,'01,'00, '99 and '98
|Intertidal Zone Organisms
|Tropical Algae and Seagrass
||Salt water intrusion into the groundwater supply of coastal ecosystems||Bioluminescence||Sharks
|Hunting and Grazing:Large Gastropods in Tropical Lagoons
||Marine Art & Science:
|Weather in the Tropics:
||Global Climate Change:Are Oceans the Wild Card?||Wetlands:
||Fish in the Deep Sea:
||The Ecology of Mangroves
We will have three texts for the course: (1) Tropical Marine Ecology, a course reader consisting of recent articles pertaining to tropical ecology, oceanography, astronomy, land use, climatology, the Everglades, and the Florida Keys. A Table of Contents of the reader is at the end of this document. The course reader will be available at the Oxford Copy Shop by April 30. I will assign many of the course readings before the class begins in June. These will be available as PDF documents that I will e-mail to you or have on Miami's Library Reserve for download from the web; and (2) Peterson Field Guide # 36, Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores. I will also provide other field guides for class use. Readings will be assigned on a daily basis. And last, (3) you must have finished reading The Enchanted Braid by Osha Gray Davidson,published (1998) by John Wiley and Sons, prior to arriving in Florida.
More Info on Page 2
For further information, contact Hays Cummins or phone me @ 513-529-1338. The course is filled on a first-come, first-served basis!
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