Peter G. Thurnauer Memorial Winter Break Programs Fund

Costa Rica 08-09
Picture: Investigating Rainforest Ecology

Faculty Director: Mark McKone

INFORMATION MEETING: Tuesday, April 20, 7:30 pm, in Olin 02.
Applications are due by Monday, May 10 to Prof. Mark McKone (mailbox: Hulings 303)


Entry into the program is by application, and requires some upper-level coursework in ecology (at Carleton, this would include Ecosystems Ecology or Population Ecology).  Ecology courses taken elsewhere might be considered for the prerequisite as well.


FALL 2010

BIOL 361. Tropical Rainforest Ecology.  The tropical rainforests contain most of the earth's species, but have been less studied than many other biological communities. Recently there has been a dramatic increase in ecological investigations in the tropics, and the goal of this course is to survey the most contemporary and influential published work in rainforest ecology. Topics to be emphasized include the latitudinal gradient in species diversity, evolutionary ecology, and interactions between species.  Prerequisites: Biology 352 or other ecology course work and permission of the instructor. 6, MS, Offered in alternate years.


BIOL 362. Field Investigation in Tropical Rainforest Ecology.  This course begins with a two-week visit in December to the La Selva Biological Station near Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. The station is located in lowland rainforest and has been the site of many important ecological experiments. While at La Selva, the class will perform extensive field experiments planned during Biology 361. In regular meetings during the term, data will be analyzed and presented in oral and written reports.  Prerequisites: Biology 361 and permission of the instructor. Does not count toward the Biology major. 6, MS, Offered in alternate years.



An info meeting will be held Tuesday, April 20, 7:30 pm, in Olin 02.

Applications can be downloaded in PDF format from this webpage or picked up in hard copy from the OCS office (Leighton 119).  Applications are due by Monday, May 10 to Prof. Mark McKone.


Peter George Thurnauer (1937-1976) was a Physics major, Carleton ’59.  He is remembered for his intellect, generosity, and wry sense of humor. His classmates recall his talent for presenting straightforward and elegant explanations of complex physical laws and questions.

Peter was an accomplished violinist and enjoyed participating in competitive sports. Peter’s father, Hans Thurnauer (1908-2007), established the family foundation, Noris Foundation, to support education and other worthwhile causes. Long before anyone heard of ‘globalization,’ Hans believed that students should broaden their educational experiences beyond their institutions, and particularly encouraged them to gain international experiences.

Indeed, after graduating from Carleton, Peter went on to obtain a PhD in Physics from Oxford University, England. After post-doctoral positions in La Jolla, CA and Rochester, NY, he joined the Physics faculty at the University of Vermont. Peter continued to play the violin and joined orchestras, such as the Vermont Philharmonic Orchestra, in all the places that he lived.

The Peter G. Thurnauer Memorial Winter Break Programs Fund is established to honor Peter’s memory by facilitating the continuation of this important educational experience offered by the College.