ENVS 108 Tropical Biology


Taught by the Program Leader, Dr. Michael Collins of Rhodes College. (ENVS 108, 4 credits). This course surveys the diversity of tropical ecosystems and examines the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape them. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and guest speakers, the course examines foundational theories and major themes in tropical biology, including species diversity, adaptations and coevolution, community structure, biogeography, and conservation challenges. The course uses Ecuador as a model to illustrate general principles and contemporary issues in tropical ecology and conservation. By the end of this course, you’ll be able to A: Identify major tropical ecosystems, describe their climatic and biological characteristics, and explain the fundamental reasons tropical systems differ from temperate ones. B: Understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape patterns of species diversity and explain why there are so many species in the tropics. C: Critically examine the assumptions and empirical evidence supporting or rejecting hypotheses that have guided our understanding of tropical ecosystems. D: Understand the major threats to tropical ecosystems and how ecological principles can inform conservation efforts.