ENV 717b () / 2021-2022

Tropical Field Ecology

Credits: 3

Spring 2022: O, based on student schedules, TBA


See below for Application instructions:

This course is designed to give students firsthand knowledge of tropical biology and the issues surrounding conservation of biodiversity in the tropics, through a combination of seminar-style discussions and a mandatory12-day field trip over winter break. The emphasis is on active learning and developing independent research projects carried out during the field trip. Using a case-study approach, topics covered include patterns of biodiversity, tropical forest dynamics, reforestation, species interactions and coevolution, climate change impacts, ecosystem services, and human land use. Students also gain experience with study design, data collection methods, and statistical analysis.

This year’s field trip is to Ecuador, a country famous for its high biological, cultural, and economic diversity. We visit a variety of forest ecosystems and hear from local and international scientists about current research in the field. Students undertake two short research projects and also learn basic identification and natural history of tropical plant, bird, and insect species. Students should expect to spend a major part of each day outside in the natural tropical environment under adverse conditions. Enrollment limited to twelve. Priority will be given to students planning to conduct field research in the tropics. This year (2021/2022), ENV 752 is not a required.

Application Instructions:

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: If you are interested in taking the course, please read the description below
and email Dr. Simon Queenborough (simon.queenborough@yale.edu) with the following information by 5PM,
1. Name
2. Degree program and expected graduation date
3. List of previous relevant coursework
4. A brief explanation of why you want to take the course and how it would further your academic and career
goals (200 words max)
Course expenses (including airfare, local transportation, meals, lodging, fees, etc.) for YSE students will be
largely covered by the YSE field trip fund. Students will be asked to contribute up to $500 (depending on the
final budget and student's financial situation). Funding is also available for Yale College undergraduates.
Students from outside of YSE and Yale College must seek alternative funding. Interested YSE and Yale College
students should apply regardless of financial situation, and we will work with selected students individually to
ensure participation is possible.
SELECTION PROCEDURE: For logistical and financial reasons, enrollment is limited. Top priority will be
given to students for whom the course will clearly advance their academic/career goals (i.e., students planning
to conduct ecological field research and/or focus on tropical ecosystems in their careers). Some previous
coursework in ecology is required, but ENV 752 Ecology & Conservation of Tropical Forests is not a
prerequisite this year (we will provide some of this content during pre-trip lectures).
You must be available for the entire length of the field trip (no arriving late or leaving early to attend
other spring break field courses or for other personal/academic/work commitments).

Limited to 15