Island Ecosystems (BLY 483/583 and BLY 592) May 2000

Island Ecosystems will provide an eye opening overview of current conflicts and issues concerning the environment and progressive development in the Caribbean. Studies will begin with first hand exploration of island ecology. As the course unfolds, theories and issues will be developed for Caribbean conservation while considering management principles, economic limitations and ecological concerns. The course agenda will include a series of lectures and labs, open discussions and debates encompassing all aspects of island ecosystems and the battle for sustainable development.

The course will be held at the Provo Marine Biology Education Centre, Turks and Caicos, BWI. The Turks and Caicos is an island archipelago comprised of seven major landforms that range in their growth stage from undeveloped to those rapidly undergoing development. The main study site and quarters are located on Providenciales. Provo is considered the "heart" of the developing sector, and provides an ideal case study for observing impacts and issues associated with sustainable development. 

Course Prerequisites and Requirements

The Island Ecosystems course is geared for the upper level undergraduate or graduate student with a basic science background. The focus of the course lies in understanding how various ecosystems interact and in their use as resources. Management strategies that minimize developmental impacts and political and economic conditions that drive progress will be considered. Please see course topics listed below.

The length of the course will be approximately two weeks, including a minimum of 34 lecture hours and 30 hours of field study / laboratory time. The course itinerary will include two lectures (3 hr) and one field / lab trip (3 hr) per day. Grading will be based primarily on field notebooks, class participation in discussions and a project report and presentation.

Students wishing to participate in the course must register through the University of South Alabama. This course, although complimentary to the Marine Environmental Science Consortium (MESC) courses, is not considered an MESC course. Please contact Anne Boettcher (aboettch@jaguar1.usouthal.edu) for additional information.


Course Topics

  1. Island resources
  2. Sustainable development
  3. Mangrove systems
  4. Seagrass and marine algal systems
  5. Coral reef systems
  6. Terrestrial systems
  7. Interaction between coastal zones and coral reefs
  8. Fishing in the Caribbean
  9. Environmental impact assessments
  10. Fisheries management
  11. Coral Reef Management
  12. Conservation of resources
  13. Environmental economics
  14. Environmental ethics
  15. National parks
  16. Alternative resources
  17. Endangered species
  18. Local plans and perspectives

Field Studies

  • Artificial reef development and monitoring (REEF BALL)
  • Smith’s Reef
  • Local mangrove and seagrass
  • Little Water Cay (iguana preserve)
  • Conch and lobster processing plants
  • Caicos Marine Shipyard and vicinity
  • Local hotel development
  • Caicos Conch Farm, TWI


Anne Boettcher, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL.

Marsha Pardee Woodring, MS

Pardee LTD, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, BWI


Course Expenses

  • In addition to registration costs, there will be a course fee of approximately $2000, which includes:
  • Room and Board
  • Air and Ground Transportation
  • Supplies and Facilities Fees

Please note that course offering is dependent on a minimum enrollment of 10, with a maximum enrollment of 24.


Page maintained by Tim Sherman and last updated on Mon, Jan 17, 2000