This course focuses on coral reefs, mangroves, and the coastal communities and islands of the Andaman Sea, Southern Thailand.
This course examines one of the most critical resources for sustainable development: the ocean. The course focuses on reef ecosystems, mangroves, seagrasses, and the human communities that depend on them for their survival. Both the physical and cultural environments are challenging—over a week of travel will be by sea kayak, and half of the course will be in a small Southern Thai fishing village.
By the end of the course, students will have an understanding of the major issues surrounding coastal ecology and culture, with experience in and understanding of coral reefs, mangroves, sea grasses and tidal areas; as well as understand the unique challenges and struggles of the human communities that live in the coastal zone — the semi-nomadic Urak Lawoi and Southern Thai Muslim fisherfolk. These cases represent a complex situation of multiple and often conflicting resource uses in the coastal ecosystem and rapidly changing ways of life for the coastal and island people.
- Understanding of the key issues concerning the sustainability of island and coastal environments and cultures
- Understanding the biological processes within marine ecosystems with particular knowledge of significant fish, reef and coral ecology
- Understanding of local knowledge related to fish and fishing as well as understanding of the links between local culture and marine resource utilization
- Understanding of the social dynamics related to marine ecology and island resource conservation and development (e.g. ethnic culture, tourism, commercial fishing, national park conservation)
- Ability to successfully carry out the essential technical skills related to the studies of marine ecology, including sea kayaking and skin-diving
- Geographical field survey methods, especially as related to marine ecology and island environments
- Comparative field marine biology survey methods for coral reefs, mangroves and sea grasses
- Social science research methods, including interviewing key stakeholders
- Proficiency with the tools of field research and expedition skills such as using a GPS during kayaking and island survey