Research in Tropical Ecosystems (NS/SS 362) is a Sterling College field study program in which students have the opportunity to diversify their northern Sterling experience with an intensive field course in a tropical region. This research oriented course builds on research skills learned at Sterling College and allows students to implement these skills in a tropical ecosystem. Partnering with local biological research stations and the local community, Sterling students have the opportunity to explore the impacts of land use on a tropical watershed and coral reef. Tropical Ecosystems and Culture (NS 381) is offered during the fall semester and is recommended but not required for participation in this field study program.
- To develop an understanding of the various components of a tropical watershed: biological, chemical, physical, and cultural.
- To observe the effects of human use patterns on tropical natural communities, including the diverse coral reef ecosystem.
- To understand what influences the process of decision-making by the government, conservation organizations, other NGOs with regard to regulating the use and conservation of natural and cultural resources
- To compare all aspects of a tropical watershed with those of a temperate watershed
- Tide pools
- Tidal zones
- Inland fresh water and saline lakes
- Coral reefs
- Blue holes
- Sea grass systems
- Fossil Reefs and other cool geology
- Tropical plants
- Bacteria, Achaea and Viruses
- Archeology and history
- Plants and their use – ethno-botany and local food
- Conservation and land management issues
- Ethnic population
- Economy of a small Island
- Island Ecology