The course Biodiversity and Conservation Genetics Studies of a
Caribbean Coral Reef Community (BIOL 575, 4 credits) will be taught at
the Bahamas Environmental Research Center (BERC), on Andros Island,
Bahamas, June 1- 12, 1998. Due to the ongoing deterioration of natural
habitats and their resident flora and fauna worldwide, the need for
characterizing and preserving existing biological diversity has reached
urgent levels. This course intends to immerse students in the
fundamentals of biodiversity and conservation genetics research by way
of in situ habitat surveys, taxonomic and phylogenetic assessments, and
practical demonstrations of current molecular genetic techniques and
analyses being applied in inter- and intraspecific ecological,
evolutionary and systematics studies. Major organismal focus will be on
keystone marine invertebrate fauna of Andros reefs (third largest
barrier reef in the world) and surrounding habitats (mangroves, blue
holes). Special topics will encompass biodiversity in the deep-sea and
natural products biosynthesis. SCUBA diving will be offered as an
optional activity but will not be required. The instructor will be Dr.
Jose Lopez (George Mason University, New Century College and Division of
Biomedical Research, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution).
Enrollment is limited by the instructor, and a $200.00 non-refundable
deposit is necessary to reserve a place in the course.
George Mason University and The College of The Bahamas jointly
BERC on Andros Island, Commonwealth of The Bahamas. BERC provides
classroom and laboratory space, equipment, vehicles and boats in support
of courses offered by both institutions, their graduate students and
independent researchers. BERC is also a member of the Organization of
Biological Field Stations. Located in Staniard Creek, a Bahamian
out-island, the BERC operates as a member of the local community,
providing opportunities for cultural and information exchange between
visiting students and residents.
Situated within minutes of one of the worlds largest coral reefs,
unique blue holes,
mangrove estuaries, and the deep waters of the Tongue of the Ocean,
BERC offers access to thriving, relatively pristine tropical
ecosystems. Other courses offered include field biology, microbial
ecology, botany, marine ecology, field mapping
techniques, cultural anthropology, and art. A typical class is 3 or 4
semester credits, has 10-17 people and lasts two weeks on the Island.
Courses are open to students outside of GMU and Virginia at low tuition
rates. For this course, the total cost of about $2,090.00 (VA
residents) or $2,185.00 (out of state) will include all tuition,
transportation to the island from Ft. Lauderdale, all food, lodging, and
transportation in land rovers and boats costs. Please bring your own
dive or snorkeling gear. Upon completion of the course, you will
receive a graded GMU transcript. Please investigate our web sites:
www.ido.gmu.edu/andros and www.geocities.com/RainForest/Vines/8169 or
contact us at The Center for Field Studies, George Mason University, MSN
5D3, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444; lbrow4 at osf1.gmu.edu or Lopez at hboi.edu; Dr.
Luther Brown , Director (703) 993-1436 for more information.