The exploration of islands and investigations of their flora and fauna have been extremely important in expanding our understanding of evolution. Now, many island ecosystems are threatened by human activities. In particular, the introduction of invasive species has had many negative impacts on island biodiversity. This upper-division science program will look at the ecology and biogeography of islands through lectures, readings, student presentations, laboratory, and fieldwork. Seminar topics taken from the primary scientific literature, and specific aspects of island ecology, particularly with regards to introduced species, will be explored. We will study the science of evolution at organismal, molecular, and ecological levels.
During the second week of the quarter, we will have a multi-day field trip to Hope Island State Park in southern Puget Sound, where we will carry out a BioBlitz. We will also visit one or two other Washington State islands, and all students will undertake an independent assignment to investigate and document one other island by the end of the quarter.
Laboratories will include examination of fossils and other museum specimens to improve observation skills as well as learning molecular techniques of DNA barcoding. Students will develop scientific communication and research skills including writing lab reports and oral presentations. In addition, students will improve their technical writing skills through weekly on-line writing assignments that include peer review. Student learning will be assessed based on the quality and completeness of written work and oral presentations, peer review of weekly writing assignments and a take-home examination.
Two quarters of General Biology with Laboratory at the college level and one quarter of any topic in Biology/Ecology (e.g., Botany, Mycology, Zoology, etc.) at the college level are required.
Prerequisites are mandatory and will be verified the first day of class.
Course Reference Numbers
$55 for overnight camping trip to Hope Island State Park.
Up to 16 upper-division science credits in Island Ecology, Evolution, and Invasion Biology may be awarded upon successful completion of the program.