BIOL 334 - Field Course in Applied Tropical Ecology
Bellairs Research Institute, Barbados
Spring 2020: Friday, May 1st - Friday, May 15th


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Timing and Organization

The course is based at McGill University's Bellairs Research Institute in Barbados ( and will run from Friday, May 1st to Friday, May 15th, 2020.

It will be taught by Professor Fred Guichard and 2 other instructors, Dr. Neil Price and Dr. Laura Nilson, Department of Biology, McGill University.

Enrolment is limited to 21 students (minimum enrolment is 14). Tentatively, the format of the course is to have students divided into three groups of up to 7 individuals who rotate among three modules each lasting one day.

These modules could include studies of coral reef and sea grass ecosystems and molecular ecology. There is one day for orientation to Bellairs, the course, and the adjacent reef and terrestrial environments. Two days will be spent visiting other sites of ecological interest on the island. During the second week of the course, students will focus on a collaborative researchproject under the direction of one of the professors.

These projects are still being developed but are likely to include a project on the effectiveness of the Barbados Marine Reserve, conservation of coral reef abd sea grass ecosystems and application of molecular techniques to ecological studies. Students are expected to devote all waking hours to course activities.

With permission of Prof. Guichard and the Biology Graduate Coordinator, graduate students may take the Applied Tropical Ecology course at the graduate (600) level. This will involve an additional week-long independent research project with a written report.

Information Meeting:
Wednesday, November 5th, 2019 at 5:30pm, in Stewart Biology, Room N7/1
[>> Slides from Information Session]

Note: This course is completed in the Summer term. Graduating students will only graduate in Summer (convocation October/November) at the earliest.

Application deadline: Friday, Jan. 10th, 2020

Registration and initial deposit deadline: Monday, Dec. 16th, 2019
[see instructions on Course Requirements page]


Students must complete a set of preliminary readings that will be available early January 2019. This material will be the subject of a take-home examination that will be completed by the end of March. Course evaluation will be based on 1) the take-home exam (30%), 2) participation during the modules and field trips (35%) and 3) the project completed during the final module (35%).

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