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HUMBIO 17SC: Evolution and Conservation in Galápagos (ANTHRO 10SC)

The tiny remote islands of Galápagos have played a large and central role in the study of evolution. Not surprisingly, they have also been central to the study of conservation. The fascinating adaptations of organisms to the unique ecosystems of the archipelago have left them particularly vulnerable to outside introductions. This seminar explores evolution, conservation, and their connection in the Galapagos. Using case-study material on finches, iguanas, tortoises, cacti, Scalesia plants, and more, we will explore current theory and debate about adaptation, sexual selection, speciation, adaptive radiation, and other topics in evolution. Similarly, we will explore the special challenges Galápagos poses today for conservation, owing to both its unusual biota and the increasing human impact on the archipelago. The first week is held on-campus, followed by an intensive eleven-day expedition to Galápagos to observe firsthand evolutionary phenomena and conservation issues. A chartered ship more »
The tiny remote islands of Galápagos have played a large and central role in the study of evolution. Not surprisingly, they have also been central to the study of conservation. The fascinating adaptations of organisms to the unique ecosystems of the archipelago have left them particularly vulnerable to outside introductions. This seminar explores evolution, conservation, and their connection in the Galapagos. Using case-study material on finches, iguanas, tortoises, cacti, Scalesia plants, and more, we will explore current theory and debate about adaptation, sexual selection, speciation, adaptive radiation, and other topics in evolution. Similarly, we will explore the special challenges Galápagos poses today for conservation, owing to both its unusual biota and the increasing human impact on the archipelago. The first week is held on-campus, followed by an intensive eleven-day expedition to Galápagos to observe firsthand evolutionary phenomena and conservation issues. A chartered ship will serve as our floating classroom, dormitory, and dining hall as we work our way around the archipelago to visit as many as ten islands. For this portion of the class, undergraduates will be joined by a group of Stanford alumni and friends in a format called a Stanford "Field Seminar." Students are required to complete all course readings over the summer. Students will be asked to lead discussions and carry out literature research on the evolutionary and conservation biology of particular Galápagos species. The final assignment is a seven- to ten-page paper and class presentation as we travel in Galápagos. Travel to Galápagos will be provided and paid by Sophomore College (except incidentals) and is made possible by the support of the Stanford Alumni Association Travel/Study Program and generous donors. Students will return to campus late afternoon Saturday, September 22.
Terms: Sum | Units: 2 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
Instructors: Durham, W. (PI)
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