Feb 02, 2023  
2020-2021 Catalog 
2020-2021 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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BIO 251 - Biology of the Galápagos Islands, Experimental

Credits: 1
1 Lecture Hours

This course is a directed exploration of the natural history and biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands.  Students will retrace the famous journey of Charles Darwin, and study the unique indigenous wildlife of the islands, as well as the evolutionary and biogeographic forces that shaped this extraordinary ecosystem. The core of the course will consist of a nine-day visit to the Galápagos Islands, during which students will explore a variety of terrestrial and marine habitats to observe animals and plants in the wild, as well as visiting conservation facilities and evolutionary research stations. Some preparatory coursework will take place before the trip itself.
Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, the student will:

  1. Identify and describe the unique animals and plants of the Galápagos Islands.
  2. Recognize the critical ecological significance of the islands and similar “living laboratories”.
  3. Describe the relationship between geography and evolution.
  4. Learn techniques for direct observation of animal behavior in the wild.
  5. Describe the history of the Galápagos Islands and their role in Charles Darwin’s research.
  6. Describe the evidence for mechanisms of evolution and adaptation to specific environments.
  7. Understand the effects of human activity on isolated ecosystems and the importance of conservation.
Listed Topics
  1. Biogeography
  2. Ecology
  3. Environmental Biology
  4. Evolution
  5. History of Science
  6. Field Study
  7. Zoology
Reference Materials
Directed readings on topics related to the ecology and natural history of the Galápagos Islands, including The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin, The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner and articles on specific organisms and habitats studied.

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