TOPICS IN CORAL REEF ECOLOGY
INSTRUCTOR: Guenter Schuster
Office: Memorial Science 62
Check out the photo album from our spring break trip to Belize: Album
To develop an understanding of and an appreciation for coral reefs. The course will stress the ecology of coral reef ecosystems and deal with the biology and life history of the common coral reef organisms found in the Caribbean Sea. The lab will emphasize field experiences on coral reefs, and deal with the ecology and identification of common reef species. A week long field trip to Belize during spring break is required.
CHECK OUT THIS SITE ON AMBERGRIS CAYE:
Introduction to Marine Biology (Chp 1)
a. The oceans of the world
b. Properties of seawater
c. Composition of seawater
d. Classification of Marine Environment
Marine Ecology (Chp 2)
a. Adaptation to Marine Life
b. Spatial Distribution
Review of Marine Animals (Chp 3)
b. Porifera (sponges)
c. Cnidaria and Ctenophora (jellyfish, corals,combjellies)
d. Worm-like Phyla
e. Mollusca (snails, clams, oysters, etc.)
f. Annelida (polychaet worms)
g. Arthropoda (shrimp, crabs, lobsters)
h. Echinodermata (starfish, sea cucumbers, etc.)
i. Chordata (sharks, bony fish, reptiles, mammals)
Review of Marine Plants (Chp 4)
a. Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)
b. Chrysophyta (diatoms)
c. Dinophyta (dinoflagellates
1. Phacophyta (brown algae)
2. Rhodophyta (red algae)
3. Chlorophyta (green algae)
e. Anthophyta (flowering plants)
Estuaries (Chp 6)
a. Types of Estuaries
b. Adapting to Changing Salinity
c. Estuarine Habitats and Communities
Benthic Communities: Life on the Bottom (Chp 7); Hard and Soft Bottoms (Chp 8)
a. Subtidal Communities
b. Rocky Shores
1. The upper intertidal
2. The middle intertidal
3. The lower intertidal
c. Sandy and Muddy Beaches
FIRST LECTURE TEST
Coral Reefs (Chp 9)
a. Reef Building Corals
1. What corals build reefs
2. How do corals build reefs
b. Distribution of Reefs in the World
c. Zonation of Coral Reefs
Zooplankton (Chp 10)
a. Composition of Zooplankton
b. The Pelagic Environment
c. Vertical Migrations
The Nekton- The Swimming Community
d. Sharks and Rays
e. Bony Fishes
Marine Birds and Reptiles
Final Lecture Test
Final Preparations for Trip
1. Two Tests- Given before the trip; each will have equal weight (100 pts ea)
2. Field Test- There will be a test that will be administered near the end of the trip. It will be oral, and involve identification of common organisms encountered, as well as other aspects of marine biology (such as ecology, and life history) that were discussed during the course of the trip. It will be worth 100 points.
3. One paper- To be written on an aspect of Marine Biology. No two students can write about the same topic. This paper will be worth 100 points. The paper will be due on Mar. 6.
4. A Field Journal- This journal is to be written while on the trip and must be updated daily. It should include a summary of each day's activities, and should stress what you considered important learning experiences for that day. It may also include any other thoughts you might have from day to day. It should also include an overall summary and your general impressions of the trip. It will be due upon arrival in Lexington when the trip has been concluded. This will be worth 50 points.
5. Students will prepare a library research paper and a 1.5 hour a lecture on an aspect of coral reef ecology. The lecture will be presented in Belize. The topics will include the following: 1) the evolution, general structure, types and world distribution of coral reefs; 2) the biology of hard and soft corals, typical species types and composition, biodiversity and distribution of species within a reef; 3) the ecology of coral reefs including local, regional and worldwide threats on coral reefs; 3) community structure, species composition, interspecies relationships, feeding ecology of fishes (including sharks); 5) community structure of invertebrates (other than hard and soft corals) i.e., anemones, sponges, various worm phyla, molluscs, arthropods, and echinoderms, species composition, interspecies relationships and feeding ecology;. These topics will be tackled by pairs of students, except for the fifth topic which will be done by three students, and they can take as much as 2 hours. The papers should be well researched and presented as a review paper such as the papers published in the Annual Review series. The talks need to be professional presentations, which should include handouts, overheads and/or slides. The papers will be due March 1. The lectures will to be given on an evening while we are in Belize. The lecture and paper presented by each pair (or 3 students) will be graded separately by the instructor and a single grade will be given to each group for each assignment. The lecture will be worth 100 points and the paper will also be worth 100 points.
6. The total number of points available will be 550, and your grade will be based on a percentage of the total number of points: 495-550 = A; 440-494 = B; 385-493 = C; less than 330 = F.
The midterm grade will be an average of all tests that have been taken to that date.
LAST DAY TO DROP CLASS: March 5. All money paid for the trip will be forfeited after the Jan. 25 class meeting.
J.L. Sumich, An Introduction to the Biology of Marine Life; 5th edition
E.H. Kaplan, A Field Guide to Coral Reefs
E.H. Kaplan, Southeastern and Caribbean Seashores
SPRING BREAK TRIP:
This trip is a course requirement; all students who sign up for the class must attend the field trip
CORAL REEF ECOLOGY
TRIP TO BELIZE
ESTIMATED COSTS PER STUDENT
1. Room, board and Program fee .........................$665.00
2. Estimated airfare from Lexington......................... 550.00
3. Tips ( a cultural custom)........................................ 50.00
ESTIMATED TOTAL: $1265.00
This cost represents a conservative estimate of what the actual cost might be. I will do everything I can to keep the total cost as low as possible.
This estimate does not include the cost of such incidental personal expenses such as toiletries, film, beverages or T-shirts, etc. I believe that an additional $150.00 to $200.00 should be taken along on the trip to cover most of these types of expenses.
BELIZE MARINE TREC
TROPICAL RESEARCH & EDUCATION CENTER
The Center is in northern Belize. It is on Ambergris Caye, a small island just of the coast of mainland Belize. Accommodations on Ambergris Caye are at the Hideaway Hotel about ½ mile south of town. The center has easy access to the town of San Pedro which has medical doctors and other essentials.
The center has a large air conditioned classroom that can accommodate groups of 23, and a separate lab. There are two large aquaria and a water table just across from the beach and dock. The center owns a 48 foot research vessel which is also equipped with a classroom, laboratory and galley. There are thatch roof palapas near a fresh water swimming pool. The large restaurant can seat 50 and meals are hardy. The hotel has both hot and cold water with double and triple occupancy rooms with private baths.
To get to Ambergris Caye there is a Ferry that costs $12.50US or by way of plane to the international airport which costs $42.00US. The Caye is pristine with deserted coral reefs, but the town of San Pedro has two medical clinics, three doctors, stores and restaurants. The staff at the Center includes three captains, two Scuba instructors, one dive master and a registered nurse. There are always 2-4 supervisors for water activities.
WHILE IN BELIZE
In order to make the trip you must have proper identification; first it is needed to get into Belize, and secondly it is needed to get back into the U.S. The identification that is required is a Passport- You must have a passport to enter Belize. Please Note: It takes about one month to process a passport if you do not already have one.
B. HOW TO PACK FOR TRIP
1. Pack Light- try to use only one suitcase.
2. Carry-on Luggage- only one allowed; this is regulated by the airlines (does not include purse)
3. Carry all valuables such as cameras with you.
4. You may want to bring walkmans, but no boom boxes
5. Bring mostly t-shirts and shorts (which can be worn several times), one light sweat shirt for the evenings
6. Bring a beach towel
7. Leave curling irons, hair blowers and irons at home (they take up space, weigh a ton and are generally not needed)
C. NO VACCINES OR BOOSTERS ARE REQUIRED TO VISIT BELIZE
D. IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS AND EMAIL ADDRESSES :
1. Home of Dr. Guenter Schuster (wife, Claire): 606-624-1897
2. Department of Biological Sciences, EKU (Chairman, Dr. Barbara Ramey; Secretary, Ms Barbara Rupard): 606-622-1531
3. Dr. Barbara Ramey: email@example.com
4. Belize Marine Trec: firstname.lastname@example.org;
5. Belize Marine Trec (Director is Dr. Ken Mattes): 011-501-26-3389
E. WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING:
6. Mask, Snorkel, and Swim Fins (Neoprene booties are also recommended, but not necessary)
2. 2 bottles of Sun Screen (at least 15, 25 preferable)
3. Tennis sneakers for wading in water (not sandals or flip-flops)
4. 1 (preferably 2) pairs of cheap garden gloves for snorkeling
5. Field Identification Manuals
6. Notebook, Pens and Pencils
7. Notebook or Log for Journal
8. 2 bathing suits
9. If you bring a camera, buy film in U.S.; film in Belize is expensive;
10. extra battery for camera (special batteries may be hard to find)
11. Small flashlight with extra batteries
12. Aspirin, indigestion medicine, motion sickness medicine such as dramamine and a few bandaids
13. If you have special medical needs let instructor know before we leave
F. A TYPICAL SCHEDULE OF A DAY IN BELIZE
7:30 AM- Breakfast
8:30- Lecture Introducing Morning Field Trip
9:45- Field Trip
12:30 PM- Lunch and Free Time
2:00- Lecture Introducing Afternoon Field Trip
2:30- Field Trip or Lab Time
4:30- Free Time
8:00- Some nights students may go into town, some nights there will be an evening lecture, or spending time studying to prepare for test.
G. FIELD TRIPS WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING
1. Turtle grass and eel grass community
2. Rear zone of a coral reef
3. Rocky beach
4. Fringing coral reef
5. Mangrove swamp
6. Tidal pools (day field trip and night field trip)
7. variety of coral reefs
8. Other trips may be planned according to student interest and weather conditions; some places we may return to if we find them very interesting.
H. OTHER POSSIBLE ACTIVITIES
1. Scuba diving at an extra cost to individuals
2. Evening lectures provided by Trec staff
3. Evenings in town
4. Belize party
I. SCUBA DIVING:
Scuba Diving is not required. However, those who are certified and wish to dive can do so. Diving is through a private concession at the station. You must be certified and show your certification before you dive. IF YOU ARE NOT CERTIFIED YOU CAN NOT DIVE.
1. Price per one tank dive is $30.00 - This includes boat, captain, dive master, air, backpack, weights ( a minimum of 4 divers must go on trip)
2. Price per two tank dives is $40.00
2. Night dives are $40.00
3. Equipment rental: Regulator = $6.00; B.C.=$6.00
4. Open water and certification = $200
RETURN TO HOMEPAGE