Integration of field studies and undergraduate research into an interdisciplinary course: Natural History of Tropical Carbonate Ecosystems

Document Type


Publication Date



Biology | Higher Education | Science and Mathematics Education


According to Carl Sagan (1987), "Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge." Field studies and undergraduate research provide students with the best opportunities for "thinking" about science, while at the same time acquiring a body of knowledge. Natural History of Tropical Carbonate Ecosystems is a spring semester course cross-listed in biology, geology, and environmental studies, with a prerequisite of two semesters of introductory biology, geology, or environmental science. The purpose of the course is to provide from these three discipline areas an introduction to the unique ecology and geology of tropical-marine ecosystems with an emphasis on the Bahamas, including additional opportunities to investigate problems of human impact on tropical island marine and non-marine ecosystems and island karst hydrologic systems.