487H - Tropical Field Biology

BIOLOGY 487H is an intensive field course in tropical biology taught by faculty from the Departments of Biology and Environmental Conservation at UMass Amherst. Following a series of formal classroom lectures, the course focuses on hands-on exploration of tropical ecosystems in the lowland rainforest and coral reefs of Belize over Spring Break. Students will explore these habitats with the guidance of expert faculty and learn about the ecology, morphology and behavior of the regions’ fauna and flora and will conduct independently-designed field research projects. Upon returning from the field students will analyze and present the results of their independent field studies. Students are required to provide a detailed field notebook outlining their observations and experiences.

To learn more about the course from the perspective of a student, check out this YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EeWHYWOldY).

Here is a link to BFREE, the organization we will work with in Belize (http://www.bfreebz.org/), and their YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/BFREEBelize). Take a look!

All 5-colleges students are welcome. To apply for a place in the Tropical Field Biology course you must complete this on-line application form (below). To do that, you will need a list of your life sciences courses and a short Essay (750 words maximum) describing why you want to take this course and how it will help you achieve your academic goals. Only complete applications will be considered. We will begin reviewing applications on October 6th and continue until the course is filled.

Have more questions? We will hold information sessions at UMass:
12 (noon) Wednesday, October 1, 203 Morrill III
5pm Thursday, October 9th, 319 Morrill II

Tropical Field Biology meets 4:00 – 5:15 on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the semester. There will also be one mandatory meeting on a weekend morning (date to be determined) to check out everyone’s snorkeling skills. We will leave UMass (lot 62) for Belize at 3:30 am on the morning of Saturday, March 14th and return to UMass (lot 62) at 1:30am on the morning of Monday, March 23rd.

The cost of the field trip is $2,690, which includes all transportation and most meals.
1st payment - $575 due Nov 17th. This payment is non-refundable.
2nd payment - $500 due December 1st.
3rd payment - $1,615 due February 2nd. For UMass students, this final payment will be charged to their bursar's bill.

You will also need cash for meals in the airport on travel days, snacks at the field station, and renting snorkeling gear (we suggest @ $125). If you want to purchase your own snorkeling gear, we can recommend adequate packages starting around $65. We are ordering a required textbook from Belize; plan on $55. Depending on the field experiment that you design, you may choose to spend a small amount (< $25) on supplies.

For Biology majors, this course fulfills any of the following: a core requirement in Evolution and Biodiversity or Ecology and Behavior, a plant requirement, a lab requirement, and the Integrated Experience requirement (for students who came to UMass in Fall 2010 or later). This course does not fulfill a general education requirement for non-biology majors.

If you have questions about the course that are not answered here, please contact Sean Werle (swerle@ent.umass.edu).

Please report your cumulative GPA as of the start of Fall 2014.

Please report your Major GPA as of the start of Fall 2014.

Please paste a list of all the college-level Life Science courses you have taken, the semester and year that you took them and the grade that you received in the space above.

Please paste your short essay (750 words maximum) about why you want to take this course and how it fits into your educational goals in the space above.