Course Concept

The primary features of the course will be:
  1. Encouraging the students to gain first-hand understanding of tropical biodiversity, partly by requiring them to observe and come to `know' numerous Bornean species in a taxon of their choice.
  2. Experiencing the range of major terrestrial forest habitats to gain a thorough understanding of abiotic controls on species composition; we will visit lowland forests on limestone and sandstone, mangrove forest, heath forest, montane forest, and the alpine zone.
  3. Focusing on ecological, evolutionary and biogeographic processes leading to the high alpha diversity in Bornean ecosystems. The coral reef phase offers a chance to compare and contrast terrestrial and marine processes.
  4. Introducing the students to the complexities of conservation in the tropics, via lectures and trips to a sustainably managed (FSC-certified) forest, a carbon-traded, forest restoration project, and an oil palm plantation. We will also provide opportunities for the students to meet people living in and off the forest, to understand their motivations for forest conversion and conservation, and to consider the human health dimensions of forest change.
  5. Develop skills in research project design, execution and analysis, based around the statistical platform `R.' The students will complete two independent projects and participate in a group project on the coral reef. The students will also gain database and web publishing skills by developing a community digital record of the trip (the `coursebook'), which will be uploaded to the web during and after the course.