Team members will participate in an ecological survey of key Indo-Pacific coastal habitats in southern Thailand and Indonesia. Island field sites include the tropical island archipelagoes of Ko Surin and Ko Adang in Thailand and Togean Islands in ...
I gained invaluable experience living in another country and adjusting to other customs and lifestyles. I tried new foods, new toilets, new places, new languages, etc. It was absolutely a worthwhile experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a similar experience.
- Western Washington University
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Team members will participate in an ecological survey of key Indo-Pacific coastal habitats in southern Thailand and Indonesia. Island field sites include the tropical island archipelagoes of Ko Surin and Ko Adang in Thailand and Togean Islands in Indonesia. In each of these locations, extensive well-developed fringing reefs surround numerous islands, providing an excellent natural classroom and research environment for understanding coral reef ecology. On several islands, effective conservation efforts have resulted in fish that are generally larger and more abundant; whereas, on other islands, long-term human impacts have changed the composition of the reef community to one that supports smaller fish and larger, more abundant invertebrates. Our Indonesia sites are deep within the "coral triangle," which holds significantly more species of fish and invertebrates (including corals) than any other place in the world.
Throughout our field studies we will research and survey selected coral reef fish species. We will conduct transects to compare particular aspects of different reef ecosystems, and, while snorkeling, use GPS and underwater digital photography to document changes over time at designated sampling sites.
Mainland coastal sites are another important component of the program. These include the Trang estuary and Khao Sok National Park, a freshwater habitat near the Andaman Coast of southern Thailand. With its extensive sea grass beds, the area around the Trang estuary supports Thailand’s only population of dugongs, a gentle, grazing marine mammal sometimes called a sea cow. Here we will research ecosystem management by evaluating strategies to mitigate existing threats to the coastal ecology. This project presents a singular opportunity to assess issues that affect coastal and marine environments in Thailand and Indonesia, to investigate the habitat firsthand, and to develop possible strategies to solve problems posed by resource extraction, coastal development and climate change. By the end of the project each of us will have gained an in-depth understanding of many coastal and marine animal species and about indigenous seafaring culture groups.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand Accommodations: Primarily camping, occasional youth hostel or rural lodge Credits: 15 quarter credits or 10 semester credits