Aerial View of Dionne Green

Bio 195 - Syllabus


Course:Biology 195 Tropical Biology

Instructor: Dr. John R Conway


  • Guide to Corals & Fishes to Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean (Waterproof) by Idaz & Jerry Greenberg. 1986. Seahawk Press. Miami
  • A Field Guide to Coral Reefs by Eugene H. Kaplan. 1982. The Peterson Field Guide Series. houghton Mifflion Company. Boston.
  • A Neotropical Companion by John C. Kricher. 1997. Princeton Univerisity Press. Princeton. Selected readings from Scientific American reprints and other sources.

Course Description:

A general course open to biology and other majors to fulfill the General Education Natural Science requirement. The course can also be taken by Biology major to fulfill the Population and Organismal areas. The course is designed to boraden a student's educational perspective by exposure to new biological and cultural environments. Students will experience first-hand the two most diverse biological ecosystem: the coral reef and the tropical rain forest. They will study and identify common invertebrattes and fish by snorkeling over coral reefs and tutle gass beds and exploring tide pools, sandy beaches, and mangrove islands. Students will also learn about the flora and fauna of the rain forest and the Mayan civilization.

Learner Objectives

  1. Students will identify common invertebrates and become familiar with the biology and ecology of marine invertebrate phyla
  2. Students will identify common reef fish and learn the characteristic of their families
  3. Students will learn about the location, formation, ecology and evolution of coral reefs and rain forests
  4. Students will discuss factors contributing to the worldwide destruction of coral reefs and tropical rain forests
  5. Students will discuss the importance of preserving coral reefs and rain forests
  6. Students will study mangroves, trurle grass, tide pools and other tropical marine environments and identify indicator organisms
  7. Students will identify animals and plants encountered in primary and seconday rain forests in Belize
  8. Students will study the biology of tropical ants such as leafcutter and army ants and ant-plant associations, such as Aztec ants and ceropia and ants associated with bull's-horn acacia
  9. Students will record the common and scientific names of organisms they encounter or collect, and keep field notes on their habitat, behavior, interactions, etc.
  10. Students will use the library to conduct in-depth literature searches on two organisms (one marine and one rain forest)
  11. Students will learn about the ancient Mayan civilization and its impact on the environment
  12. Students will observe life in developing countries
  13. Students will keep a daily journal to record information on people and places in Belize

Course Prerequisites: Swimming proficiency and the sense of adventure

Course Requirements:

  1. Regular attendance and participation. You will be evaluated on your academic work, cooperation, promptness, initiative, enthusiasm, and how well you represent the University and the United States
  2. Notebook with the following sections:
    1. Field Notes. List all organisms observed and identified each day. Wherever possible give both common and scientific names (genus and species) and include information on time, date, behavior, habitat, and intraspecific and interspecific interactions. This section should show evidence of careful and accurate observations in the field. When making observations think of the following: When, Where, and What.
    2. In-depth research reports reviewing the literature on two organisms or habitats observed-one marine and one terrestrial
    3. Daily journal which includes your impressions of people, places, food, customs, prices, etc. You can include photographs, brochures, postcards and maps. The purpose of this section is to encourage careful observation and allow you to relieve the trip later

Your journal will be graded on its content, organization, neatness, completeness, accuracy, and originality.

Course Evaluation:

Notebook 150 pts. (50 pts. per section)
Two Oral Reports 50 pts.
Participation 50 pts.
Four Tests 200 pts. (50 pts. each)
Total 450 pts.
Scroll to Top