Fall courses in Panama build upon the strong foundation provided by coursework completed in Nahant the previous spring and in Friday Harbor immediately prior to students’ arrival in Panama, with an emphasis on field study and experiments. Easy access to the coral reef and a variety of near shore coastal habitats facilitate an experiential learning environment where lecture, lab, and field study are intertwined. Panama also provides an ideal location for the program’s only non-marine course, Tropical Terrestrial Ecology. An extensive field trip across the country to the Pacific Ocean exposes students to a variety of tropical habitats, ending at Central America’s largest island, Coiba, for an examination of eastern pacific coral reefs and linking concepts in the Coral Reef Ecology and Ocean & Coastal Processes courses.
Courses at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute include:
EEMB 5504 Biology of Corals 3 cr.
Focuses on the biology of Scleractinian reef-building corals and associated anthozoans found in coral reef ecosystems. Topics include systematics, anatomy, physiology, and population biology of corals, with an emphasis on the latest techniques employed by coral molecular biologists and physiologists.
Faculty: Dr. Steven Vollmer
EEMB 5506 Biology and Ecology of Fishes 3 cr.
A field, lecture and laboratory course that examines the systematics, functional morphology, behavioral ecology, and community structure of reef fishes. Field and lab experiments focus on morphology, behavior and community ecology of reef fishes.
Faculty: Dr. Adrian Stier and Dr. Jameal Samhouri
EEMB 5512 Tropical Terrestrial Ecology 1 cr.
Introduces students to the flora, fauna and ecosystems of Panama. Includes an extended field trip to over the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean.
Faculty: Dr. Janeene Touchton
EEMB 5518 Ocean & Coastal Processes 2 cr.
Examines the coupling between physical and biological processes on coral reefs and adjacent habitats. Focuses on biophysical, oceanographic and benthic-pelagic processes acting in coral reef and associated nearshore ecosystems. Specific topics will include oceanographic forcing mechanisms, organismal biomechanics, hydrodynamics, and nutrient dynamics.
Faculty: Dr. Mark Patterson and Dr. James Leichter
EEMB 5520 Coral Reef Ecology 2 cr.
Examines the ecology and paleoecology of coral reefs. This course highlights the ecological importance of coral reefs and associated nearshore communities, ecosystem function, changes in reef biotas through geologic time, and the causes and consequences of reef degradation worldwide.
Faculty: Dr. Richard Aronson and William Precht, M.S.