Biological Diversity [CRN 79616]

Discipline: Natural Resources
Instructor: Doherty
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 0800
End: 0920
Field Work: Day 1 | December 16, 2017 | Hawaii, United States
Prerequisites: One (1) biology or environmental conservation course Download Syllabus

The 6th mass extinction is currently underway and maintenance of biological diversity is one of the great challenges with which our world is struggling.  This course will provide students with an appreciation and understanding of global patterns of species diversity and extinction as well as consequences of biotic impoverishment.  Students will learn relevant theory, principles, and practices to understand and resolve conservation issues.  The Semester at Sea voyage will uniquely allow first-hand experience with global patterns of diversity, as well as conservation actions in practice. Throughout the voyage students will gain a deep understanding of, and be able to compare, biological diversity challenges faced by countries with different cultures, economic means, and population sizes.

Field Work

Country: Hawaii, United States
Day: 1
Date: December 16, 2017

We will meet with US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) colleagues who are working to maintain the wildlife biodiversity of the Hawaiian Islands in the face of climate change and invasive species. We will discuss USFWS mitigation strategies, including developing movement corridors and assisted translocation, with a focus on an island setting. We will spend a day in the field with our USFWS colleagues, and visit sites (e.g., Kaena Point, Mokili Point, James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge) at which they work. These areas are proving important for management of seabirds (many we will have seen from the ship as we traveled around the world) as many seabird colonies are being lost. We will see the effects of predator management (e.g., predator proof fencing) and translocation on albatross and other animals. We will discuss the effects of climate change on thermal ecology, implications of shifting prey species, and future management options.

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the past and current state of biodiversity of the islands, especially with respect to seabirds that we have observed from the ship throughout our voyage.
2. Comprehend current management challenges such as those relating to climate change and invasive species.
3. Gain experience with these problems as well as possible solutions.