Undergraduate

Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles – Biology 361

Next offered in Spring 2019; applications will be accepted in the Fall of 2018. See below for the 2017 schedule, which will be similar to the 2019 schedule. See Ms. Somers for details.

Spring 2017

A Sea Turtles Course with 5 days in Coastal North Carolina and 8 days in Costa Rica.

In cooperation with the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and the Sea Turtle Conservancy UNCG offers you: BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF SEA TURTLES. Biology 361, a seminar and field studies course to be conducted on campus at UNCG, Topsail Island, NC, and the Phipps Biological Field Station in Tortuguero, Costa Rica!

  1. Three credit hour course on the UNCG campus, plus
  2. Six days working at the Karen Beasely Sea Turtle Hospital in North Carolina
  3. Seven days in Costa Rica working in the oldest sea turtle research program of its kind to study in a remote roadless area surrounded by the tropical wet forest of Tortuguero National Park
  4. Exploring the grounds of the Selva Verde Lodge and rafting the class II, III waters of the Sarapiqui River

2017 Course Schedule

Interest meeting: anyone interested in applying or learning more about the course should attend October 12, 2016 at 3 p.m., Rm 218 Sullivan Science
Oct. 25, 2016 at 11 a.m., Rm 310 Eberhart Building
Introduces the course and will last about 30 minutes. This meeting is for students who are thinking about applying for the course. Both meetings cover the same material.
Applications Due (see link below, also available outside 310 Sullivan Science Bldg) Applications accepted October 14 – Nov. 14, 2016 Submit application in person to A. Somers (office hrs. at bottom of page)
Class meetings – scheduled time Spring semester 2017 TBD: Either Wed.& Fri. 3:00-4:15p.m. or Wed. & Fri. 3:30-4:45pm or some combination thereof T.B.D. Room in Sullivan Science Building, UNCG Campus
Work/study at the Sea Turtle Hospital (both trips required) 1. a weekend early in the spring 2017 semester

2. three full days between finals and the beginning of the first summer session

1. Indoor accommodations, Topsail Island, North Carolina

2. Camping at Surf City

Costa Rica (required) July 29, 2017 – August 5, 2017 Tortuguero, Costa Rica


Credit Hours: 3

Enrollment Limit: 10-12 Students
Semester for which students will register and receive credit: Spring 2017

Please Note: Students will receive an Incomplete (I) at the end of the term until we return from Costa Rica in August. Special arrangements will be made for graduating seniors.

Interested Applicants: Every applicant is expected to attend one of the two Interest Meetings to learn about the course and ask questions (see date, time, and place in table above). The regular class meeting time in Sp15 could change depending on the needs of the students.

Click here for an Application

Prerequisites: Biology 112 or permission of the instructor (Bio 105 (Somers’ section only) students may apply).

Course Description: Field Studies: The course will be centered around field work a the Karen Beasely Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Surf City, North Carolina and in Tortuguero, Costa Rica.

The sea turtle hospital is on one of only a few facilities in the US dedicated entirely to sea turtles. The mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release sick and injured sea turtles.

Students will assist in the care of the turtles and will learn more about the causes of decline in US waters.

Housing for winter trip will be announced later. We will camp on the May trip.

Costa Rica: Students will participate in the oldest on-going sea turtle research program of its kind. Initiated by Dr. Archie Carr in the late 1950s, the tagging project is now coordinated by the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC). Students will participate in all aspects of data collection on the green turtles that come to nest on the beach at night. Students will need to be physically fit, as tagging the turtles may require five or more miles of walking each night in a tropical climate.

Housing will be at the STC’s Tortuguero Biological Field Station. Tortuguero is a remote roadless area on the Caribbean coast, at the edge of a wet tropical rain forest that is criss-crossed by rivers and streams. Access is by only by boat or plane, we will be arriving and departing by boat. The field station is located adjacent to the small village of Tortuguero and the 20,000-hectare Tortuguero National Park. Students will help measure nesting turtles, count eggs and assist in flipper tagging and recording data. In addition to working with the turtles, students will have the opportunity to meet the people of the local village, a Caribbean coastal community. On day trips, students may explore the rain forest of the National Park and other ecosystems of the northern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica.

Classroom Studies: Classroom studies constitute a very important part of the course. These classes will involve presentations by faculty, students, and guest speakers. There will be tests, reports and papers. This time is also used to prepare students for travel and field work.

Cost: The cost is UNKNOWN at this time. Expect that it will be AROUND $2000.00 (air fare to San Jose, Costa Rica not included). The price includes a $250 fee to International Programs on Campus, lodging at Surf city during stateside field trips.

For international travel, all meals and lodging including the following: overnight accommodations, dinner and breakfast in San Jose for first night; three meals a day while at the Phipps Biological Field Station for six nights; a one night stay at Selva Verde Lodge and an optional class II, III rafting trip on the Sarapaqui.

A deposit of $250.00 is required with the application. The deposit is returned if applicant is not accepted.

Deadlines for fees: $250 upon application and $250 for UNCG International programs date TBD; half of the international fee (paid to travel agent) will be due at the beginning of the spring semester (likely Feb. 1st); remainder due AROUND mid-March (airfare is not included). Air travel is separate and will be discussed at the first class meeting in January.

A travel agent will be handling the money for the Costa Rican portion of the course. Students may get together and travel elsewhere in Costa Rica on their own – after the course work. This can be worked out with or without the travel agent.

Not included in cost: Transportation to Surf City and meals; passport, airport exit tax in Costa Rica (about $27.00), tips (about $50.00), insurance, and items of a personal nature. Certain special field trips may be offered at a small additional cost. You will also need money for meals in San Jose.

Contact: Ann Somers
310 Sullivan Science Building
Phone: (336) 334-4978
Email: absomers@uncg.edu
Office Hours: M & W 8:30a.m.-10:30a.m. ~ or by appointment