Biology 320
Spring 2015
3 credits

Tropical Biology - San Salvador 2015

Oceanic Island Ecology Biology 319 (1 cr) and Permission of Instructor

Instructors:OfficePhoneEmail Address
Dr. Charles Booth  Science 357 860-465-5260
Dr. Joshua Idjadi Science 365 860-465-0034 
Dr. Ross Koning Science 356 860-465-5327
Dr. Brett Mattingly Science 364 860-465-4499 

Course Objectives:
The 2015 announcement is available for our May 2015 trip. Tropical Biology--San Salvador provides students with an opportunity to study first-hand the biology of tropical terrestrial and marine ecosystems. It involves an intensive ten-day field experience on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, at the College of the Bahamas' Gerace Research Centre (GRC). The tentative dates for the trip are May 14-25, 2015. San Salvador's flora and fauna include both native and intorduced species, making the island a natural laboratory for studying island biogeography. Marine studies will focus on coral reef, seagrass bed, mangrove, beach, and rocky shore communities. Terrestrial studies will examine cave, sand dune, and upland shrub communities. In addition to their field studies, studenst will experience the enchanting culture of a Bahamian "out-island."

While on the island, you will keep a field notebook that includes descriptions of your daily field and class experiences. Nightly lab sessions and discussions will supplement each day's field observations. After returning from San Salvador, you will turn in three papers based upon your field experiences and literature-research that focus upon the terrestrial and marine ecosystems of San Salvador.

Required Textbooks: One of the following:

Kaplan, E. H. 1988. Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton-Mifflin, Boston. 425 pp. ISBN (paper edition) 0-395-46811-6


Humann, P. and N. DeLoach. 2013. Reef Coral Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. 3rd ed. New World Publications. Jacksonville, FL 274 pp. ISBN (paper edition) 978-1-878348-54-8.

Strongly Recommended:

Chaplin, C. G. and P. Scott. 1972. Fishwatchers Guide to West Atlantic Coral Reefs. Livingston Publishing Co., Wynnewood, PA. 65 pp. ISBN (plastic, waterproof edition) 0-915180-08-1

What to Bring
Flight Information
Climate Information
Tide Table
2015 Essay Questions
Gerace Research Centre Publications:

Boardman, M. and C. Carney. 1996. Pigeon Creek and Tidal Delta: A Field Trip Guide. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas. 8 pp. (out of print)

Diehl, F. A., D. Mellon, Jr., R. H. Garrett, and N. Elliott. 1988. A Field Guide to the Invertebrates of San Salvador. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas. 105 pp. (out of print).

Hinman, G. 1994. A Teacher's Guide to the Depositional Environments on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas. 65 pp. (out of print).

Lawson, B. M. 1993. Shelling San Sal. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas. 63 pp. (out of print).

Onac, B. P., J. Sumrall, J. E. Mylroie, and J. Kearns. 2008. Cave Minerals of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. University of South Florida Libraries, Karst Studies Series. 70 pp. (

Richardson, J. P. and G. Mitchell. 1994. Field Guide to Common Marine Algae of San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas. 91 pp. (out of print).

Smith, R. R. 1993. Field Guide to the Vegetation of San Salvador Island, The Bahamas. 2nd Edition. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas. 120 pp. (out of print).

White, V. 1985. The Outermost Island: An Oral History of San Salvador, The Bahamas. Bahamian Field Station, San Salvador, Bahamas. 77 pp. (out of print).

Terrestrial Dune Transect Survey with literature links.
Marine Intertidal Transect Survey with literature links.
Some historical documents as well:

Activity ScheduleGroup Photos
2015 Activities2015 Group Photos
2013 Activities2013 Group Photos
2011 Activities2011 Group Photos
2009 Activities2009 Group Photos
2007 Activities2007 Group Photos
2005 Activities2005 Group Photos
2003 Activities2003 Group Photos
2001 Activities2001 Group Photo

Because of the unique nature of an international field course, its success depends on the full cooperation and participation of everyone involved. You are expected to have an attitude of responsibility, curiosity, and commitment. To complete the course with a passing grade and use it for upper-level biology major/minor credit, you must:

Supplemental Readings: (available for downloading at

Carlquist, S. 1981. Chance Dispersal. Scientific American. 69: 509-516.

Case, T.J. and M.L. Cody. 1987. Testing theories of island biogeography. Amer.Sci. 75: 402-411.

Goreau, T. F., N. I. Goreau, and T. J. Goreau. 1979. Corals and coral reefs. Sci. Amer. 241(2): 124-136. Alternate source.

Sale, P. F. and A. M. Szmant (eds). 2012. Reef Reminiscences: Ratcheting back the shifted baselines concerning what reefs used to be. United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Hamilton, ON, Canada, 35 pp. Alternate source.

Sealey, N. 2006. Bahamian landscapes. 3rd ed. Media Publishing, Nassau, Bahamas. Introduction (pp. viii-ix); Chapter 1 (pp. 1-13).

Additional references pertaining to the assigned essays and field report will also be posted at

The course grade for BIO 320 will be based on participation in the field and participation in class discussions while on San Salvador (20%), and the quality of the essays submitted upon your return (80%).

If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact the Office of AccessAbility Services at (860) 465-5573, as soon as possible. Please note that we cannot provide accommodations based upon disability until we have received an accommodation letter from the Office of AccessAbility Services. Your cooperation is appreciated. As BIO 320 Tropical Biology - San Salvador is a field course conducted in a foreign country, it may or may not be possible to provide suitable accommodations, so your earliest attention to accessibility issues is essential.

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