During each May Miniterm, the Department of Biology offers a unique class in a field setting through the UAB Study Away Program. These courses are designed to provide on-site experiences in the study of some of the world’s most interesting and important ecosystems.
Every other year, the Biology Department offers Tropical Ecology (BY 267/567). The coral reef ecosystem and the ecology of tropical islands are studied on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. By snorkeling shallow coral reefs, we observe the myriad of brightly-colored reef fish, spectacular marine invertebrates, and sea turtles as they glide by us.
On alternate years, other ecosystems are explored. Rainforest Ecology (BY 269/569) has been offered several times in Costa Rica. By traveling through the country of Costa Rica, we study and observe the fauna and flora of the lowland rainforest and the cloud forest, among the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Beautiful birds, tropical frogs, spectacular lizards and playful monkeys are seen in the lush green forests. Sea turtle hatching events are sometimes seen on the coastal beaches.
We have also offered The Ecology of the Galapagos Islands (BY 268/568) on two occasions. These islands are famous in the biological world as they were the location of observations crucial to the development of the concept of natural selection by Charles Darwin. The animals on these islands show no fear of humans. We see up close and personal the Galapagos tortoise, marine iguanas, land iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. We snorkel with playful sea lions and large sea turtles. Additional courses exploring other ecosystems may also be offered in the future.