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Bahamian Conservation Biology Summer 2018 (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
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: 16 May 2018.

General Course Information:
Dates of Entire 10-week Summer Program: May 16 - July 31, 2018 (includes offsite reading, writing, assignments, lectures, etc.)
Onsite Dates in The Bahamas: May 21 - June 4, 2018


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 21st and depart on Monday June 4th. Everyone should have received flight suggestions and booked their flights by now. If there are any concerns, please contact Drs. Langerhans and Peterson. Everyone should fly roundtrip to Nassau, Bahamas (arriving by mid-day May 21st, leaving late afternoon-evening June 4th) using a major airline carrier, and fly roundtrip from Nassau to Fresh Creek (AKA Andros Town) using LeAir. 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 18 5pm: submission of research project proposal first draft--

So, you're on a research team now... it's time to write your research proposal!
Start by reading the guidelines and suggested readings for your project, find and read additional references for your project, read and think about the brief description of your project given below (think about how you would best answer those questions), discuss ideas with your teammate(s), and begin with an outline. Then expland that outline as a team into a full-fledged proposal. Finding and reading primary literature is key--use the suggested readings as the starting points. You can find more relevant articles by paying attention to the references cited in these articles and searching for yourself (e.g. Google Scholar, including seeing what papers have cited these articles). Feel free to contact Drs. Brian Langerhans (langerhans@ncsu.edu) or Nils Peterson (nils_peterson@ncsu.edu) with specific questions. We will provide considerable further assistance/guidance after this draft to help you revise your plans and make a team proposal presentation. After some first-hand experience on the island, and substantial further on-island discussions, your final revised (and now very strong) proposal will be due May 25th.

Be sure to follow the Research Proposal Guidelines.

Submit your proposal by 5pm May 18 to Drs. Brian Langerhans and Nils Peterson.

Pre-trip Readings:
The 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. Everyone should read the papers listed for each project. Each group is expected to find a number of additional papers relevant to their research topic. To better understand your topic, 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 predation risk on day/night behavioral patterns:
  Fraser et al. 2004
  McCauley et al. 2012
  Reebs 2002
  Lima and Dill 1990
  Heinen et al. 2013 (for some past methods in blue holes)
  Payne et al. 2012
  Fox and Bellwood 2011
  Loe et al. 2007

- Project Option 2: Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing study:
  Basurto 2005
  Cinner et al. 2011
  Christensen 2016
  Silvy et al. 2017
  Berkes 2006
  Husain and Bhattacharya 2004
  Steins and Edwards 1999

Research Project Summaries:

Effects of predation risk on day/night behavioral patterns
Nonlethal effects of predators on prey can be substantial, and yet have experienced far less research than mortality-induced ecological and evolutionary consequences. Activity patterns of animals--often characterized as diurnal, nocturnal, or crepuscular--play obvious and important roles in shaping organismal life histories. However, the role of chronic risk from predation in shaping these behaviors is still largely unknown. When the predation regime changes for a prey species, for instance through predator extirpation/introduction or via colonization of new environments, do day/night activity patterns of prey rapidly shift via facultative behavioral changes or evolutionary shifts in behaviors? This project will examine day/night behaviors of Bahamas mosquitofish (Gambusia hubbsi) living in blue holes. Blue holes are analogous to aquatic islands in a sea of land, and Bahamas mosquitofish colonized these environments during the past 15,000 years by leaving their ancestral marine environment and traversing inland marshes. Ever since, they have been living either with a major predatory fish (bigmouth sleeper, Gobiomorus dormitor) or in the absence of any piscine predators. This project will test whether day/night behavioral patterns of Bahamas mosquitofish differ between populations experiencing high or low risk of predation. Understanding changes in day/night behavioral patterns is critical today, not only to uncover selective mechanisms responsible for critical behaviors, but also because humans regularly remove and introduce new predators into ecosystems.
    Team Members: Lauren Buckner, Natalie Chazal, Sarah Hallyburton, Libby Pratt

Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing study
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) represents 20% of global harvest, but little is known about it. Elinor Ostromís Noble Price wining research on Governing the Commons (1990) highlights how much of this IUU fishing may actually be regulated through local, and potentially informal networks. Key principles for governing the commons have emerged from thousands of related studies, but they often do not address larger scales and constraints (Cinner et al 2011; Hussain 2004) and typically adopt an outsider and quantitative point of view focused on measuring success (Steins & Edwards 1999). Thus there is a need to study systems where IUU fishing is governed locally from an emic (i.e., insider and qualitative) perspective to understanding key questions about: whether fisheries are recognized as a common pool resource, how they are shared, how boundaries are established, how external forces and rule breaking are addressed, and why local people choose these courses of action, or choose not to address the issues. In this study, we will attempt to address these questions by interviewing artisanal fishers on Andros Island and observing them during fishing activities. Andros is a good place to address these questions because IUU fishing has persisted in the region for centuries, and fisheries are under increasing pressure form larger scale national and international pressures (Silvy et al. 2017).
    Team Members: Jackson Littlejohn, Jenny Oren, Morgan Register

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