New Course announcment: Biodiversity and Conservation Genetics Studies of Caribbean Coral Reef Community

Jose Lopez lopez at
Thu Feb 5 11:16:51 EST 1998

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, June
1- 12, 1998.  Due to the relentless 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 molecular genetic techniques and analyses
currently 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). 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; currently at Harbor Branch
Oceanographic Institution). A $200.00 non-refundable deposit is
currently being taken to reserve a place in the course.

       George Mason University and The College of The Bahamas jointly
operate the
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 world’s largest coral reefs,
unique blue holes
and mangrove estuaries, BERC offers access to thriving, relatively
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 example, total costs of a typical course including all
tuition, round trip transportation from Virginia, all food, lodging, and
transportation in land rovers and
boats costs about $2,000.  Upon completion of the course, you will
a graded GMU transcript.  Please investigate our web sites: and or
contact us at The Center for Field Studies, George Mason University, MSN
5D3, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444; lbrow4 at or Lopez at;  Dr.
Luther Brown , Director (703) 993-1436 for more information.

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