Ecology in Australia - 2019

The declining health of marine ecosystems is one of the most important contemporary issues in environmental science. A main goal of the term is to explore the physical and ecological features of coastal environments with a goal of understanding how natural and anthropogenic disturbances are impacting these systems. Fieldwork is an essential part of this program, and we will develop in-depth research projects in temperate and tropical coastal environments. Australia offers unique flora and fauna, geology, and marine systems, which have evolved over millions of years. Rivers, shorelines, intertidal areas, mangrove forests, and the Great Barrier Reef, will be the classrooms for the term.

Faculty Director                                       

Annie Bosacker, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Professor Bosacker studies the behavior of wild baboons in Gombe National Park, Tanzania. She is well-versed in the challenges of field work, having survived near misses with an aggressive chimpanzee as well as a violent political coup. Her research centers on the social lives of female baboons, and she is especially interested in the social coping strategies females use to reduce their exposure to the ravages of stress. Professor Bosacker is also a graduate of this program, and she is extremely excited to have the opportunity to return to Australia with Carleton students. In fact, she credits this program with saving her from a life in the lab, as she had originally intended to pursue a career in cellular biology.

For more information see the Off-Campus Studies Program Information.


BIOL 250-07: Marine Ecology (6 credits)

Students will study the biology of marine ecosystems with an emphasis on population and community ecology and the life histories and evolution of marine organisms. The group will explore the diverse marine ecosystems of Australia through extensive fieldwork in habitats including temperate oceans, mangrove forests, and tropical coral reefs.

Instructor: Prof. Bosacker

BIOL 212-07: Ecological Field Research (6 credits)

Designed to complement Biology 250, this course teaches methods and approaches to the analysis of biological problems with emphasis on an ecological viewpoint. Students will be studying animals and plants in both terrestrial and marine habitats, with a particular focus on the behavioral ecology of animals.

Instructor: Prof. Bosacker

BIOL 255-07: Learning Country: Culture & Environment in Australia (6 credits)

In this course, students will learn about the natural history of the Australian landscape and the cultural history of the people who have settled there. They will specifically consider the role of sustainability in Aboriginal, colonial, and modern Australian cultures. The majority of work for this class will be reading selected works that showcase central concepts. This reading should be completed before the program begins, and work will be evaluated through written assignments. In Australia, students will learn through lectures and cultural immersion, and they will synthesize what they learn in reflective essays.

Instructor: Prof. Bosacker