Syllabus: Introduction to Tropical Forest Ecology (Biosc 1220)

 

Summer 2019

 

Instructors:

Dr. Walter Carson, University of Pittsburgh (walt@pitt.edu)

Dr. Lee Dyer, University of Nevada, Reno (nolaclimber@gmail.com)

Dr. Tom Walla, Colorado Mesa University (twalla@coloradomesa.edu)

Dr. Sarah Pasquini, University of Pittsburgh (sap131@pitt.edu)

 

Prerequisites: Two semesters of general biology for majors.

 

Course Description: This course provides a solid foundation in tropical forest ecology. It is designed to prepare students to carry out research on the interaction of plant and animal communities and to engage the serious challenges facing Neotropical forests. Students will learn to compare pristine to altered forests identifying key factors in forest decline and regeneration. Students will examine each of the diverse elevational zones that comprise the Amazonian watershed. The highlight will be a visit to a Waorani indigenous community in a high biodiversity area of the Amazon.

 

Location: The primary location is the Andes and Amazon Field School (aka Iyarina Lodge) near Tena. This beautiful field station is located at 550 m above sea level on the Rio Napo, a tributary to the Amazon.

 

Course Objectives:

  1. To understand how biodiversity came to exist and why it is higher in tropical rainforests.

  2. To learn how tropical forests are categorized by altitude, disturbance, and succession.

  3. To understand the contrasting elevational habitats Ecuador.

  4. To understand plant animal interactions in terms of disturbance and dispersal.

  5. To understand the role of carbon sequestration in tropical forests.

  6. To understand how climate change will affect the Amazonian watershed.

  7. To understand how the loss of key species may contribute to the loss of other species.

 

Course Requirements:

  1. Ecology and natural history presentation due upon arrival in Ecuador (10%)

  2. Ecology, natural history, and indigenous views paper due Sunday, August 11th by 11:59 pm (20%)

  3. Independent research presentation due TBD (15%)

  4. Final exam Thursday, July 25th at 9:00 am (20%)

  5. Independent research paper, due Sunday, August 11th by 11:59 pm (35%)

 

Notes: You are responsible for information presented during all field trips and all lectures for the final exam. Assignments handed in after the deadline immediately lose one letter grade, followed by the loss of one additional letter grade per day.

 

Course Materials:

There is no textbook for this course, but you will be provided with scientific papers to read.Tentative Schedule (Things WILL Change)

 

Note: All times and lectures are subject to change based upon logistics, availability of personnel, and weather.

 

Itinerary

 

Saturday, June 29

Quito

11:30 PM Arrive in Quito. Shuttle to Hotel Real Audiencia.

Sunday, June 30

Quito to Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Tour colonial Quito

12:00 PM Lunch at Hotel Real Audiencia

All day: Bus to Iyarina Lodge

Hike in Páramo Polylepis forest

Hike in the cloud forest

7:00 PM Dinner at Iyarina

Monday, July 1

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Hypothesis testing and what processes distinguish tropical from temperate forests

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-4:00 PM Introduction to the Ecuadorian Amazon

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Tuesday, July 2

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Tropical Forest Ecology Lecture (Dr. Pasquini); Overview of independent projects

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Wednesday, July 3

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Morning hike in tropical rain forest

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Thursday, July 4

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Tropical plant families lecture and field excursion

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Friday, July 5

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Guest lecture Dr. David Fisher (McMaster University); Discovering the forest amongst the trees (Dr. Carson)

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-7:00 PM Free Time

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: Discussion: How to apply to graduate school (Optional)

Saturday, July 6

No Class: Work on independent projects

8:00 AM Breakfast

1:00 PM Lunch

7:00 PM Dinner

Sunday, July 7

No Class: Work on independent projects

8:00 AM Breakfast

1:00 PM Lunch

7:00 PM Dinner

Monday, July 8

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM: Tropical Ecology: Plant physiological ecology; Data collection for stats workshop

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Tuesday, July 9

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Amazonian river walk

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Wednesday, July 10

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Stats lecture/workshop

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Thursday, July 11

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Lecture: Losing the tangled bank: a tri-trophic perspective (Dr. Dyer); Student presentations

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Friday, July 12

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Guest lecture (John White, Tulane University); Student presentations

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Saturday, July 13

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Work on independent projects

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM TBD

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Sunday, July 14

Iyarina Lodge to Waorani Community in the Yasuní

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM TBD

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM TBD

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Monday, July 15

Waorani Community in the Yasuní

8:00 AM Breakfast

1:00 PM Lunch

7:00 PM Dinner

Tuesday, July 16

Waorani Community in the Yasuní

8:00 AM Breakfast

1:00 PM Lunch

7:00 PM Dinner

Wednesday, July 17

Waorani Community to Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

1:00 PM Lunch

7:00 PM Dinner

Thursday, July 18

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Trophic dynamics and anteaters (Dr. Carson); Student presentations

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Free Time

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Friday, July 19

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM No Class

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM No Class

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Saturday, July 20

Free Day - No Class

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM No Class

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM No Class

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Saturday, July 21

Free Day - No Class

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM No Class

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM No Class

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Monday, July 22

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Student presentations; Forest excursion in tropical rainforest

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Tuesday, July 23

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Student presentations; Guest lecture by Dr. Walla

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Wednesday, July 24

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Work on independent projects

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Thursday, July 25

Iyarina Lodge

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Mammals and tropical forest regenerations (Dr. Carson); Physiology of lianas (Dr. Pasquini)

1:00 PM Lunch

2:00 PM-5:00 PM Amazonian Religion and Nature

7:00 PM Dinner

Evening: TBD

Friday, July 26

Iyarina Lodge to Quito

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM-12:00 PM Tropical Ecology: Final Exam

1:00 PM Lunch

Travel to airport

Saturday, July 27

Arrive home

2 days introduction

1 day herbivory

1 day caterpillar plots

4 days

3 Dyer lectures

3 Walla mornings

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