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Bahamian Conservation Biology Summer 2017 (6 credits)
BSC 495 (Ecological and Evolutionary Dimensions of Conservation Biology in the Bahamas, 3 cr.)
FW 445 (Human Dimensions of Conservation Biology in the Bahamas, 3 cr.)
Dr. Brian Langerhans and Dr. Nils Peterson
TA: Dr. Kaj Hulthén
North Carolina State University

This page will serve as the primary source of information for the course, including the posting of readings, assignments,
relevant links, research project information, etc. Check back later for updates.

Latest Update: 21 May 2017.

General Course Information:
Dates of Entire 10-week Summer Program: May 17 - August 1, 2017 (includes offsite reading, writing, assignments, lectures, etc.)
Onsite Dates in The Bahamas: May 22 - June 5, 2017


Research Project Proposal Guidelines

Suggested Packing List for the trip

Fish and Coral Identification Lists

Swimming: One critical requirement for the program is the ability to swim (moderate to advanced capabilities). Many field activities require swimming (especially snorkeling), although advanced capabilities and diving certifications are not required. There will be a swim test conducted on the first day on-site to ensure that all students can safely conduct any required activity.

Travel Logistics:
Students are responsible for air travel to/from Andros Island. We will arrive on Andros Monday May 22nd and depart on Monday June 5th. We will provide further details at a later date regarding specific flights to use, but the general plan will be to fly roundtrip to Nassau, Bahamas (arriving by mid-day May 22nd, leaving late afternoon-evening June 5th) using a major airline carrier, and fly roundtrip from Nassau to either Fresh Creek (AKA Andros Town) or San Andros, Andros Island using a domestic carrier (e.g. Western Air, 4pm flight to Andros, 7:30am flight return to Nassau). Your luggage will be checked to Nassau, where you will clear customs, and bring your luggage to the relevant airline desk in the Domestic Departure airport check-in.

Once in the Bahamas, be aware of "island time," and roll with the punches. Many things do not run on time, and many seeminingly simple or routine tasks in the US may take very long in the Bahamas. Be prepared for delays. However, we have found that this travel arrangement typically results in the most prompt arrivals and departures (and that more luggage typically arrives on time using the recommended travel plan).

Don't forget you need a passport to enter the Bahamas!

--Next Deadline... May 24: submission of final research project proposal and group presentations--

You should have all received comments on your proposal rough drafts. Using the comments and additional readings, start revising your proposals and preparing your ~10 min presentations.

Be sure to pay attention to the comments and the guidelines when revising your proposals. We will provide further assistance/guidance on the island regarding your projects, helping you with your final imporovements on your revised proposal.

The (expanded) readings below are meant to provide both a general background for this study abroad program, as well as provide the initial foundation for your literature reviews for your research projects. The readings provide conceptual and methodological background for your project that will prove instrumental in writing your proposal. These are only suggested initial readings--you should read the papers below and find a number of additional papers relevant to your project. To better understand your topic, and conduct the best project to address unanswered questions, the more reading, the better.

- Brief introduction to some study systems on Andros Island:
-You can skim these to get a sense of the study systems and questions addressed on Andros.-
Layman et al. 2004
Valentine-Rose et al. 2007
Langerhans et al. 2007
Heinen et al. 2013
Hayes et al. 2015
Heinen-Kay et al. 2015
Shapiro et al. 2016
Silvy et al. 2017

- Project Option 1: Effects of human-induced habitat change on animal personality:
Wolf and Weissing 2012
Sih et al. 2004
Heinen-Kay et al. 2016
Reale et al. 2007
Archard and Braithwaite 2011
Cachat et al. 2010
Reale et al. 2010

- Project Option 2: Vulnerability of fishery-based communities on Andros Island to the impacts of climate variability:
Bates 2002
Myers 2002
Islam et al. 2014
Berkes and Jolly 2001
Biermann and Boas 2008
Kelly and Adger 2000
Kartiki 2011

Research Project Summaries:

Effects of human-induced habitat change on animal personality
Recent research has demonstrated that individuals of most animal species consistently differ from one another in a range of behavioral traits, forming distinct "personalities" or "temperaments." But we still have much to learn about the environmental factors that might underlie their expression or evolution, and how they might influence major ecological and evolutionary patterns. This project will test whether human-induced habitat fragmentation in tidal creeks has repeatedly driven changes in one key component of animal personality in Bahamas mosquitofish (Gambusia hubbsi): exploration of a novel environment. This project will use 'novel tank diving tests' to specifically address variation in exploration behaviors--with a priori predictions of changes subseqent to the reduced predation and increased conspecific density caused by fragmentation of tidal creeks. This team would conduct experimental trials with live Bahamas mosquitofish at 6-8 tidal creek localities (half unfragmented, half fragmented).
    Team Members: Alex Cabe, John Cummings, Matthew Jenkins, Shane O'Malley

Vulnerability of fishery-based communities on Andros Island to the impacts of climate variability
Several studies suggest climate variability will create 10s of millions of climate refugees in fisheries dependent communities. One such community on Andros Island (Low Sound) was displaced by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. This team would conduct household interviews with community members who were displaced to other communities on Andros Island to answer multiple questions: (1) do respondents associate climate change with their displacement, (2) how do respondents believe their displacement has impacted their livelihood strategies, and (3) what are respondents goals for future livelihood strategies.
    Team Members: Katrina Hannameyer, Hans Seebaluck, Michael Steward

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