Term III Students Dive into Island Ecology

July 26 2016
Category: Academics

Term III at Elmira College gives students the opportunity to explore subjects and concepts through experiential learning and travel. This spring, a group of 15 students spent Term III studying the plants, animals, and history of San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. 

The course, titled Marine and Island Ecology, was lead by Dr. Daniel Kjar, Associate Professor of Biology, Dr. Heidi Dierckx, Associate Professor of Classical Studies, as well as alumna and medical student, Eliza Foster '15.

While on San Salvador Island, widely believed to be the sight of Christopher Columbus’ first arrival in 1492, students explored coral reefs and mangrove forests. Students also learned about and experienced the island’s unique landscape of undulating hills, beaches, and numerous salt-water lagoons. 

The group spent several days hiking in the island’s interior exploring caves and visiting abandoned 18th century plantations. One of the highlights from the trip was swimming with the first dolphins seen around the remote island in a decade. 

Students finished out Term III by creating their own hypothesis, determining their methods, and conducting their own study on the island. All of the students presented their results on studies that ranged from determining nest activity and orientation of the critically endangered San Salvador Rock Iguana to identifying food preference in parrotfish. 

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To learn more about this Term III trip to the Bahamas, watch this video created by the students: https://youtu.be/j9DjVYDdCKI