This course provides you with an introduction to tropical field ecology, biodiversity, and conservation of Western Mexico. Seminars, class discussions, guest lectures, and field exercises provide overviews of the geological and natural history of Mexican biota, an introduction to altitudinal variation in life zones, techniques for assessment of biological diversity, and conservation issues in the Neotropics generally and Mexico specifically. We will visit two biological stations and a potentially a handful of other sites as our schedule permits. These field sites will serve as geographic foci for group research projects designed in consultation with the instructors. In addition class fieldwork will provide introduction to some of the typical, rare and endemic flora and fauna of the region.


  1. pre-trip seminars based on selected topics; to be presented in January and early February 2015
  2. field notebook recording field observations, results etc.
  3. seminar relating results from your group projects.
  4. participation including asking questions during class discussions and peer seminars, and involvement in group activities.
  5. written report (10-12 pages) based on group projects – to be submitted one month after our return on 31st March 2015.

Evaluation: Pre-trip Seminar 25%
Field Book: 20%
Group Project Seminar: 10%
Participation: 10%
Written Report: 35%