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Bahamian Conservation Biology Summer 2024 (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: 29 March 2024.

General Course Information:
Dates of Entire 10-week Summer Program: May 15 - Aug 1, 2024 (includes offsite reading, writing, assignments, lectures, etc.)

Onsite Dates in The Bahamas: May 30 - June 13, 2024

Last year's Syllabus

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 May 30th and depart on June 13th. We will provide further details regarding specific flights, but the general plan will be to fly roundtrip to Nassau, Bahamas (arriving by mid-day May 30th, leaving late afternoon-evening June 13th) using a major airline carrier, and fly roundtrip from Nassau to Fresh Creek (AKA Andros Town), Andros Island using a domestic carrier (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... Nothing yet, stay tuned.
To get a head start, you can begin reading some pre-trip readings (posted below).

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. Later, we will post additional readings for specific research projet options.

- Brief introduction to some study systems and research on Andros Island:
-Read these to get a sense of the study systems and questions addressed on Andros.-
  Layman et al. 2004
  Langerhans et al. 2007
  Heinen et al. 2013
  Hayes et al. 2015
  Heinen-Kay et al. 2015
  Shapiro et al. 2016
  Valdez et al. 2019
  Hulthén et al 2021
  Jenkins et al. 2021

More Information about the Program:
Ecology, Evolution, and Human Dimensions of Conservation Biology in The Bahamas:

Greatly expand and apply your knowledge in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology while having a blast in unique Caribbean ecosystems this summer!

Every day of this amazing study abroad program you will be immersed in the field techniques of Tropical Conservation Biology, and see some of the most spectacular and remote locations the Caribbean Sea has to offer. Some highlights include: tons of snorkeling in diverse marine ecosystems and freshwater blue holes, hike in unique and rare Caribbean habitats, interact with maritime communities, opportunities for kayaking and diving, and conduct group projects in teams that address important questions concerning ecology, evolutionary biology, invasive species, conservation, community-based resource management, and environmental education. The program directors have worked very hard to keep the cost of the program as low as possible, making it by far one of the most affordable study abroad programs offered by NCSU. With >30 years of research/teaching experience on this island between the two directors, you’ll be learning from some of the leading experts on the topics in this region.

The program involves both offsite and onsite components. While off site, requirements include readings, writing (e.g. proposal, final paper), homework, and data organization and analysis. The onsite portion is centered on Andros Island - a large and sparsely populated Caribbean island - and focuses on hands-on learning of a range of issues in ecology, evolution, and human dimensions of conservation biology. Field techniques center on three critical aquatic habitats: coral reefs, tidal creeks, and blue holes. Andros offers an ideal opportunity for students to explore biodiversity and conservation, with the world’s third largest coral reef system, over 100 shallow, oligotrophic tidal creeks, and over 300 unique water-filled caves called blue holes. Students will experience first-hand the impacts of human activities on natural ecosystems, as they will conduct field work in both heavily impacted localities, as well as remote, pristine environments.

The course covers both science and policy, emphasizing hands-on activities as a large component of the program. The core of the program involves semi-independent projects, where students work in small teams through the entire process of science: hypothesis, study design, proposal, study implementation, data collection, analysis, interpretation, written report. Through a combination of field trips, classroom and laboratory work, occasional guest speakers, and group projects, students will: 1) learn fundamental concepts regarding ecological and evolutionary processes operating within the three primary aquatic ecosystems in The Bahamas, 2) evaluate the importance, procedures, and scientific foundations for conservation, management, and environmental education initiatives in The Bahamas, and 3) learn field-based research methods and techniques.

For the actual trip, students will fly to Andros Island, The Bahamas, where we will spend most waking hours together for the following two weeks learning first-hand about conservation science in The Bahamas. We will be staying at a hotel in the settlement of Staniard Creek, nestled between a sprawling Caribbean beach and a tidal creek. Our housing, meals, lectures, and labwork will occur there. Accommodations are hotel-style rooms with 2-3 beds, bathroom, table, refridgerator, and air conditioning. Cost of the program includes tuition, lodging, all meals, and on-island transportation. Students will be responsible for airfare to Fresh Creek, Andros Island (step-by-step recommendations will be provided), recommended materials (e.g., mask, snorkel, fins), and pocket money for souvenirs, etc.

Some testimonials:
“It was a blast and an eye-opening experience.”
“I had a great time while on the island and learned a lot. I enjoyed having an intense research experience from start to finish.”
“Overall, if I could do it all over again I would, and Brian and Nils are just great, fun and brilliant instructors.”
“Dr. Langerhans and Dr. Peterson were an excellent team. Working through an actual experiment from beginning to end is something I’ve never done, and I am surprised that I thought it was so cool.”

Morning view outside your cabin.

on a boat...

Rainbow Blue Hole.

Bahamas Study Abroad

North Carolina State University

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