Sunday, March 23, 2008

I am planning my 2008 field season in Belize, Central America. I have been doing work in Belize since 1998. I plan to continue my research on the ethnoecology of the Maya people living in the Cayo District, with a focus on the resources of the Elijio Panti National Park. I will also teach students from NSU about ecological and environmental issues in a developing country in the tropics, as I have done since 1999. I expect to take a select few students enrolled in Tropical Ecology lab, Ecological Methods and/or Environmental Problems to Belize for the 10th year running. Here is some information on my 2008 summer classes. It is designed for students considering travel to Belize, but may be informative for students staying in Oklahoma as well.

May Intersession

BIOL 4503 Tropical Ecology lectures MTWTh 9 - 11:40 am by ITV

ZAP numbers: 0297 for Tahlequah, 0278 for Broken Arrow and 0284 for Muskogee.

This is a lecture class for biology majors and a select few non-majors by permission only. Please email me at terdal@nsuok.edu before registering if you are not a biology major. We will use the 2e of A Neotropical Companion (Kricher, 1999) as a textbook. In addition to lectures, we will use materials on Blackboard (nsuonline.nsuok.edu) extensively. There will also be field trips to the Jenks Aquarium and the Tulsa Zoo.

You may take this class and not take any of my other summer classes, but if you plan to go to Belize later in the summer, you should take this class first.

BIOL 4501 Tropical Ecology lab ONLINE + 32 hours of field work offline.

ZAP number 0343 for all campuses (Tahlequah, Broken Arrow, Muskogee).

This is an optional lab experience for students enrolled in Tropical Ecology lecture. You may take Tropical Ecology lecture without taking this lab class, but the lab is only open to students also enrolled in Tropical Ecology lecture.

There are two options for the lab class. Option A focuses on Avian species richness in Oklahoma, with an emphasis on neotropical migratory birds. Students taking option A will carry out an independent research project requiring a documented 32 hours of field work near their homes. We will use Blackboard (nsuonline.nsuok.edu) and Cornell University's ebird.org website. This option requires early morning hours and binoculars.

Option B is for students who travel to Belize. Students taking option B will need to contact me by email and also make travel plans by the start of the May intersession. These plans include obtaining a passport, consulting with their physician, purchasing plane tickets and saving money for expenses in Belize. These expenses, including airfare and lodging but NOT tuition, fees or textbooks, will be ~US$1,600; details below. Option B students will carry out an independent field project requring a documented 32 hours of field work in Belize and using Blackboard (nsuonline.nsuok.edu) from internet cafes in remote Belizean villages.

Option B has two sub-options: rainforest and reef.

Students going to Belize and taking the rainforest sub-option will base their field work out of the the Clarissa Falls Resort (http://www.clarissafalls.com/) in the Cayo District of Belize. This sub-option runs from Saturday, June 28, through Friday, July 4. It is intended for students with prior experience travelling independently in developing countries. Interested students MUST make arrangements with me prior to enrolling!

The reef sub-option runs from Saturday, July 5, through Friday, July 11. Students selecting the reef sub-option will be based on the island of Caye Caulker but will make one trip to the mainland to see rainforest at a classical Maya ruin. My favorite Caye Caulker website is http://www.gocayecaulker.com/. The reef sub-option is the preferred choice for students who do not have prior travel experience in a developing country. It also facilitates simultaneous enrollment in BIOL 3413: Environmental Problems during the Summer Session.

Summer session

BIOL 3413 Environmental Problems ONLINE 06/09 - 07/31

ZAP number 0335 for all campuses (Tahlequah, Broken Arrow, Muskogee).

This is a class intended for non-majors, but open to biology majors. It will review the basics of science, then apply that knowledge to understanding environmental problems. The Blackboard software (nsuonline.nsuok.edu) will be used. We will read and discuss several books. Also, students will form teams to discuss environmental problems in a community. There are two options: option A is to study an area where the student lives, and option B is to study a village in Belize.

Students selecting option A will form a team with classmates who live nearby. Students will have to travel to places in their community to see how environmental problems in their community are dealt with.

Students in Environmental Problems selecting option B will examine how villagers in a developing country (Belize) address various types of environmental problems (energy, food, water, waste, income, etc.). This will allow a comparison with the methods used by people in a developed country (the U.S.) as examined by the rest of the class (option A).

The particular village we will focus on for Environmental Problems, option B, is Caye Caulker (CC):

Here are cost estimates for students in either or both of Tropical Ecology, option B, sub-option reef and Environmental Problems, option B:

Date Day Events Cost Travel Cost Lodging Cost Food Cost Notes
7/4/2008 Fri Holiday in U.S.
7/5/2008 Sat Arrive $60 Fly TUL -> BZE $725 Hostel $40 Airport $40 Lobsterfest on CC
7/6/2008 Sun Village $0 $0 Hostel $40 store $20
7/7/2008 Mon Village $0 $0 Hostel $40 store $20
7/8/2008 Tues City $0 Water Taxi $30 Hostel $40 Restaurant $30 Belize City or San Pedro
7/9/2008 Wed Ruin $120 Tour $0 Hostel $40 Restaurant $30 Altun Ha or Lamanai
7/10/2008 Thurs Village $0 $0 Hostel $40 store $20
7/11/2008 Fri Village $0 $0 Hostel $40 store $20
7/12/2008 Sat Depart $60 Fly CC -> TUL $0 Airport $40

Sums $1,495
Assume $75 Souvenirs (calculated @ %5)
$1,570 Total estimated cost.

This will vary from student to student. The biggest expense is airfare. I assumed $725 from Tulsa to Belize City, and assumed that includes all taxes and fees. Airfares change, and are more likely to go up than down, especially if you wait. (Note: I bought my tickets for $662.) Also, students can fly from Belize City to Caye Caulker like a tourist or take a water taxi with locals--cheaper and more fun. I assumed students would spend $40/night for lodging. There is less expensive lodging available, and students can share a room. There is also more expensive lodging. Each students will make their own lodging arrangements. Food costs will also vary. I encourage students to shop in local markets, like villagers do. This is inexpensive. Restaurants vary in price. Costs for daily activities will also vary; SCUBA diving is fun but costly, as is deep-sea fishing. Other activities are less expensive. I made an estimate of $240, but know this will vary among students. I also assumed that students would spend $75 on souvenirs, but again, this will vary.

BIOL 4522 Ecological Methods ONLINE 06/09 - 07/31

ZAP 0337 for all campuses (Tahlequah, Broken Arrow, Muskogee).

NOTE: 32 hours field work offline; email terdal@nsuok.edu before enrolling.

This class is only for biology majors, especially those in the fish and wildlife or organismic emphases. It has Ecology as a prerequisite, which in turn requires statistics. We will use the 2e of Ecological Census Techniques (Sutherland, 2006) to cover the theory of quantifying abundance in nature. Online work will involve posts about the assigned readings, mathematical problem solving and timed quizzes. Offline field work (32 hours) will be conducted in teams and results will be posted on the Blackboard site (nsuonline.nsuok.edu). There will be two options.

Option A will involve field work at Sequoyah State Park, focusing on the population of white-tailed deer and their effects on the community, such as neotropical songbirds, plants and parasites such as ticks.

Option B will involve field work in Belize. This option is intended for students already travelling to Belize for Tropical Ecology lab (above). It requires my permission in advance. Students in Tropical Ecology lab, option B, rainforest sub-option, will quantify some aspect of the abundance of medicinal plants at the Clarissa Falls resort. Students taking the reef sub-option will quantify some aspect of marine life in the mangrove swamp ecosystem of Caye Caulker.

Options

There are many ways to mix and match these classes to meet your needs. Here are seven examples, but please contact me by email (terdal@nsuok.edu; if you do not get a reply in 72 hours, resend and CC to drterdal@gmail.com).

1) Tropical Ecology lecture. You can take this May intersession class by ITV from any of the three campuses and not take anything else.

2) Tropical Ecology lecture + lab, option A. You can get up before dawn each morning in May and go birding, then come by any of the NSU campuses for lecture by ITV.

3) Tropical Ecology lecture + lab, option B, reef sub-option. Come to Belize for the week after July 4th to snorkel the 2nd largest barrier reef ecosystem on Earth, plus explore a Maya ruin over 1,000 years old!

4) Tropical Ecology lecture + lab, option B, reef sub-option; Environmental Problems, option B. Come to Belize for the week after July 4th to fish on the 2nd largest barrier reef ecosystem on Earth, plus explore a Maya ruin over 1,000 years old, and draw contrasts with how a modern village solves the same environmental problems that challenged the Maya of a millennium ago.

5) Tropical Ecology lecture + lab, option B, reef sub-option; Environmental Problems, option B; Ecological Methods, option B. Come to Belize for the week after July 4th to SCUBA dive on the 2nd largest barrier reef ecosystem on Earth, plus explore a Maya ruin over 1,000 years old, and contrast that with how a modern village solves the same environmental problems that challenged the Maya of a millennium ago. Compare abundance of an important food fish for Maya past and present, the yellow-tail snapper, in three environments: a long-established reserve, a new reserve and a control area where fishing is unregulated.

6) Tropical Ecology lecture + lab, option B, rainforest sub-option; Ecological Methods, option B; Environmental Problems, option B. Come to Belize for the first week in July to explore ancient Maya ruins and learn how modern Maya use medicinal plants. Determine the relative abundance of commonly used medicinal plants in a remnant patch of rainforest. Talk to Maya people in a village near the Clarissa Falls Resort about how they solve the environmental problems that challenged their ancestors >1,000 years ago.

7) Tropical Ecology lecture + lab, option B, rainforest sub-option; Ecological Methods, option B; Environmental Problems, option B. Come to Belize for the first week of July to explore ancient Maya ruins in the rainforest. Determine the relative diversity of flying insects (at the ordinal level) in a rainforest, for comparison with that in a mangrove swamp on Caye Caulker during the second week of July. On Caye Caulker, investigate how the people solve problems such as waste disposal, access to clean water, transport, food, etc. Note: this would involve two weeks in Belize, which obviously increases total costs >$1,600 although it lowers cost per day. It also spreads the field work for the three classes over more days, which reduces stress!

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