Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Mexico


Dr. Stephen Lougheed
Department of Biology
Queen's University, Kingston Ontario
Telephone: 001-613-533-6128

Dr. Javier Salgado
Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo
Dr. Eduardo Santana
Universidad de Guadalajara CUCSUR

Dates: 17 February - 3 March 2007 (approx. 2 weeks)

Locations: Guadalajara, Las Joyas Biological Station, Chamela Biological Station

Admission: If number of application exceeds available space, admission will be allocated according to the following priorities: 1) Credit over non-credit, 2) Graduate over undergraduate, 3) Year in program, 4) Order of application.

Enrollment: 19 Canadian students (2007)

Description: This course will provide you with an introduction to tropical field ecology and conservation of Mexico. Seminars, class discussions, guest lecturers, and field exercises will provide overviews of the geological and natural history of Mexican biota, an introduction to altitudinal variation in life zones, techniques for assessment of biological diversity, and conservation issues in the Neotropics generally and Mexcio specifically. We will visit two biological stations and a handful of other sites as our schedule permits. These field sites will serve as geographic foci for group research projects designed in consultation with the instructors. In addition class fieldwork will provide introductions to some of the typical, rare and endemic flora and fauna of the region.
(a) pre-trip seminars based on selected topics; to be presented in late January or early February 2007 (see below).
(b) field notebook recording field observations, results etc.
(c) seminar relating results from your group projects.
(d) participation including asking questions during class discussions and peer seminars, and involvement in group activities.
(e) written report (10-12 pages) based on group projects - to be submitted one month after our return on 3 March 2007.

Evaluation: Pre-trip Seminar 25%
Field Book 20%
Group Project Seminar 15%
Participation 10%
Written Report 30%


Seminar Topics:

Seminar presentations should be no more than 20 minutes (time strictly enforced) but prepared to lead further discussion of approximately 10 minutes. Topics will be assigned on a first come first serve basis, and should be presented in order. Many of the topics listed below are very broad, and you must work to winnow out the salient points of each. Thus, you may wish to introduce the topic in broad brush stokes, and then focus your talk on key points and concepts. You can prepare a PowerPoint presentation, but I would like you to bring this to me (on CD, by email if not over 5 Meg, or on Memory Key) one day in advance of your seminar. The seminar sessions will be: Wednesday 31st January 7:00-10:30 pm, Tuesday 6 th February 7:00-10:30 pm, Thursday 8 th February 7:00-10:30. Please choose your seminar topic according to the session(s) that you can attend (first six on Jan 31st, second six on Feb. 6th, and last six on Feb. 8th). I will make a modest web site with this information on it (and will add names as they come in). I will provide details on room to be used by email. Start research soon as these dates will approach quickly!

Date Topic Presenter
Wed. 31st Jan. Mammals Anita Melnyk
Wed. 31st Jan. Birds James Knowles
Wed. 31st Jan. Amphibians and reptiles Virginia Emery
Wed. 31st Jan. Epiphytes Anna Bailie
Wed. 31st Jan. Trees Kristina Arseneau
Wed. 31st Jan. Cacti Christine Barbeau
Tues. 6th Feb. Gap forest dynamics and their importance in maintaining diversity. Katie Geale
Tues. 6th Feb. Latitudinal gradient - pattern, global generality and major hypotheses for its existence. Lauren Higgins
Tues. 6th Feb. Closing of the Isthmus of Panama and its influence on Neotropical and Nearctic flora and fauna. (The Great Faunal Exchange). Chris Harris
Tues. 6th Feb. Global climate change and its influence on species and habitat distributions (both past climatic oscillations and predicting future outcomes given consistent global warming). Cam Robertson
Tues. 6th Feb. Patterns and origins of avian migration. Marie Trainor
Tues. 6th Feb. Monarch butterfly migration. Patterns (and how they were elucidated) and conservation issues, Stephen McIntosh
Thurs. 8 th Feb. Müllerian versus Batesian mimicry (causes and Neotropical examples). Julian Mackenzie-Feder
Thurs. 8 th Feb. Biodiversity hotspots, causes and importance in conservation; include Central American and Mexican examples. Liz Malcolmson
Thurs. 8 th Feb. Co-evolution: definition, diagnosis, and compelling tropical empirical examples. Karen Ross
Thurs. 8 th Feb. Ecotourism and conservation. Benefits and points of concern. Salman Klar
Thurs. 8 th Feb. Feeding the World: Crops from the New World (and Particularly the Origins of Maize). Emily Huva
Thurs. 8 th Feb. NAFTA and Other Tri-national Agreements and Their Roles in Conservation of Biodiversity. Katherine McKereghan-Dares

Created 19 January 2007 by S.C. Lougheed
Last Updated: 22 January 2007