Spring 2016 | Biology | Marquette University

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Tropical Ecology
Faculty Feature: James Maki

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For the first time, a course in Tropical Ecology was offered for the Spring 2016 semester. This unique course introduced students to concepts in tropical ecology, and then allowed them to experience the rainforest hands-on. The class traveled with instructor Dr. Stefan Schnitzer to Panama during Spring Break. Allison Driskill and David Warren are two of the six students who participated in this course.



Tropical Ecology in Panama

The Tropical Ecology class in Panama over Spring Break 2016. L-R: Dr. Stefan Schnitzer, David Warren, Danie Desautelle, Graduate TA Felipe Mello, Allison Driskill. Kneeling: Danielle Salva, Noah Warshawsky


Allison Driskill, Biological Sciences B.S. 2016 – “Going to Panama gave me a first-hand experience of ecology. I had taken advanced ecology and wished, along with some other classmates, that there was a lab or field course that went along with it. During this trip we experienced all manner of sites and locations, as well as getting to form our own research project. We gto to talk to so many experts which was amazing. I started to realize that being an ecologist gave you a lot of practical knowledge about this world we are blessed to live in. If a disease came through and decided to decimate human populations, what would my knowledge of microbiology do to help survival? Everything is always contaminated anyway. But as an ecologist I could identify trees and would have general knowledge of the outdoors. It was because of this trip to Panama that I deferred my acceptance to a PhD program in microbiology and immunology to experiment with ecology field work. This was a very rewarding experience and I'm glad I got a chance to take it!”


Tropical Ecology PanamaDavid Warren, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology B.S. 2016 – “For me traveling taking Tropical Ecology and traveling to Panama proved to be one of my favorite college experiences.  Panama was visually striking and totally unlike any place I had ever been to, a welcome change from the dreary Milwaukee winter. The course work was both fascinating and intellectually stimulating and Dr. Schnitzer did a great job in providing us the background needed to get the most out of the trip. Furthermore, the hands-on nature of the course meant I came away having learned more in ten days that I would have ever guessed. The opportunity to meet and learn from the huge variety of researchers that have gathered on Barco Colorado Island was exciting and extremely valuable. Having been unable to fit in an entire semester for study abroad the course served to scratch my itch to travel and provided me an experience that I will never forget.”





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