Spring Course Schedule
“A chance of a lifetime! Where else can you find fishing and camping to be part of your weekly class schedule?”
Ryan. H (Student, Spring ‘10)
The spring semester curriculum is geared for students majoring in marine science or one of the other basic sciences who wish to get a hands-on introduction to the geology, biology, ecology, oceanography and evolutionary history of the Galapagos Islands. All spring semester courses are taught by faculty of UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
Upon arrival in the Galapagos, an initial Orientation period will provide an overview of local life, culture, economy, general behavioral briefings, adaptation and awareness training. This will be followed by classes taught in two week modules, with faculty rotating in and out for their individual courses. The total semester experience is twelve weeks with a one week break built into the schedule.
Classes for the Spring semester are expected to include:
Marine Science (MSC) 420: Political Ecology of the Galapagos (3 credits)
This field course in the Galapagos National Park offers a rare chance to examine the human interactions in this highly politicized landscape of conservation. Students practice the political ecology approach for doing ethnographic fieldwork and explore how it can lead to wiser resource management.
Marine Science (MSC) 421: Terrestrial Biology and Adaptation: The Plants, Reptiles and Birds of Galapagos (3 credits)
This course will examine the terrestrial plant and animal life of Isabela Island, discuss the biology and how it adapted to life on Isabela. Through field and laboratory exercises we will explore the power of organisms’ DNA in shaping life into unique forms like those famously present in today’s Galapagos.
Marine Science (MSC) 422: Marine Ecology of the Galapagos (3 credits)
This course focuses on marine ecosystems of the Galapagos, emphasizing near-shore environments. Topics will include how the unique location and oceanography of the Galapagos have shaped the species composition of resident and migrant marine animals. The role of genetic drift, local habitat characteristics and natural selection on marine ecosystems will be examined. This is a field intensive course with time spent in intertidal, near-shore and off-shore island environments.
Marine Science (MSC) 423: Climatology, Oceanography and Conservation Biology of the Galapagos (3 credits)
The Galapagos are located in a uniquely productive area of the sea, which has allowed the development of a rich and unique marine biota. The first week of the course will carry the students through the dynamic, climatic, and oceanographic circumstances that determine the unique character of the Galapagos. The second week will cover scientific evaluation of the threats to the marine biodiversity of the Galapagos, focusing on sharks, penguins, sea turtles and other at-risk species and habitats.
Marine Science (MSC) 424: Origin and Geology of the Galapagos Islands (3 credits)
This course will explore the origin and geology of volcanic oceanic islands, using the Galapagos Islands as a natural laboratory. Though all share a common origin in plate tectonic theory, each island presents a host of environments that originate in the processes of volcanic action, erosion and hydrology. Individual islands therefore develop distinctive ecosystems within which organisms interact and evolve. The emphasis of this course will be to lay out the underlying geological processes that have led to the formation of the islands and to their present state, and then to explore the ways the physical environment has influenced adaptation and biodiversity.