Program Dates: May 25 - June 10, 2017
This program familiarizes students with the basic concepts in tropical marine ecosystems with an emphasis on coral reefs through scuba diving or snorkeling. This includes scientific examination of the common biota and their ecological relationships. Studies of coral reefs will help students understand the coral reefs' importance in global biodiversity and their role as indicators of climate change. In accordance with the Jesuit tradition of LMU, students will also be doing an environmental service project during the course.
Courses are taught by Dr. Roy S. Houston from the LMU Biology Department. Dr. Houston has spent many summers doing marine research in the region and has been involved in long-term reef monitoring studies on the local coral reef system. In addition, there will be guest lectures by staff at the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences.
This program is held at the Roatán Institute for Marine Sciences, on the northwest coast of Isla Roatán. Students will be housed at Anthony's Key Resort, adjacent to the institute. Much of the island coastline lies within the jurisdiction of the Roatán Marine Park, a protected reserve for countless species of marine and near-shore life. Roatán, the largest of the Bay Islands, is 30 miles off the north coast of Honduras. It is surrounded by close-in fringing and barrier coral reefs, which are part of the Meso-American reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world. Roatán is a tropical island with mean air temperatures from 77 to 84 degrees and sea temperatures in the low 80's. Rainfall averages 80 inches; however, the island is out of the main hurricane belt.
Students who are not science majors have the option of taking Biology 278, which would fulfill their science core requirement. Students who are science majors should enroll in Biology 328, which can satisfy upper-division major requirements.
Tropical Marine Ecology (for non-science majors)
Professor Roy Houston
Pre-requisites: MATH 101. Basic scuba certification required. Personal interview with Dr. Houston prior to registration.
Nature of Science, Technology, and Mathematics Core Requirement
Engaged Learning Flag
Undertake field and laboratory studies of tropical marine habitats on Isla Roatán. This includes the examination of physical, chemical and biological aspects as applied to coral reefs, mangrove and sea grass environments. In addition, students will be introduced to basic reef studies involving observations, data collection, analysis and interpretation. (Science majors should take BIOL 328).
Tropical Marine Ecology (for science majors and minors)
Professor Roy Houston
Pre-requisites: BIOL 101 and BIOL 102 or equivalent. Basic scuba certification is required. Personal interview with Dr. Houston prior to registration.
Undertake field and laboratory studies of tropical marine habitats on Isla Roatán. This includes the examination of physical, chemical and biological aspects as applied to coral reefs, mangrove and sea grass environments. In addition, students will carry out research involving reef monitoring techniques, data collection, statistical analysis and interpretation.
HOUSING AND MEALS
Living facilities for students are provided by Anthony's Key Resort, adjacent to the institute. Students are housed in louvered bungalows with porches and hammocks overlooking the lagoon reefs. Each unit has a ceiling fan, 24-hour electricity and hot water. Laundry services are available for a small fee. Accommodations are based on quadruple occupancy. Just a short walk away is the open-air dining room where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Meals are a mixture of North American and local cuisines. In addition, students have full access to the resort's recreational facilities.
Note: There is a required Roatán Marine Park reef fee of $10 for each student.
Students will have free access to the Roatán Museum adjacent to the institute. This facility has numerous exhibits on the archaeology, geology and history of the Bay Islands. These exhibits emphasize the rich Mayan history of the indigenous peoples. Also, the Carambola Gardens, a botanical reserve where students can observe the native plants and terrestrial animals of the island, are a short walk away.
Students will experience the music and culture of the Garifuna Indians, which are descended from the slaves that were brought to Roatán by the British over 300 years ago. The town of Port Royal, which is located on the eastern end of Roatán, was once home to Henry Morgan, the English buccaneer. He and over 5,000 of his pirates lived on the island during the 18th century.
Optional Dolphin Swim and Snorkel, which allows you to swim and snorkel with our resident pod of dolphins on their terms, with no trained behaviors.
Course Lectures: May 25 and 26, 2017
Group travel from LAX to Roatán: May 27, 2017
Check in and orientation: May 27, 2017
Coral Reefs: Intro, check out dive, lectures
Mangrove / seagrass / field work on snorkel
Coral Reef Ecology: Lectures / exams
Scientific Diving: Lectures, dives
Group field projects, data analysis
Roundtable discussion, service project
Final exam, island tour
Travel from Roatán to LAX: June 10, 2017