Pacific Island Coastal Ecology International Short Course

a group of AUT students on the beach

27th June to 11th July 2017

If you are interested in unique ecosystems and maybe thinking about a career in marine biology, environmental management or conservation then this is an opportunity that will provide you with both marine and terrestrial experience in the tropics. Tropical rainforests, mangroves, and coral reefs provide the setting for studying issues of biodiversity and conservation in the Solomon Islands. Coral reefs are often referred to as the tropical rainforests of the sea, but you will be able to judge that for yourself in this unique location.  This course provides a truly a once in a lifetime experience that not many South Pacific visitors can boast about.

  • Learn about coral reefs and rainforest in a location that provides both ecosystems
  • Learn internationally recognized survey and impact-assessment techniques
  • Practice marine biology by diving and snorkeling on coral reefs
  • Practice rainforest forest ecology on a unique island with no real megafauna
  • Hike through the rainforest into the crater or the summits
  • Dive on WWII Japanese and American wrecks
  • Learn about ethnography and human-resource interactions by living in a village setting and interacting with locals on a daily basis.

About The Course

an AUT student diving in tropical waters

Kolombangara Island provides an excellent opportunity for studying both coral reefs and rainforests. It is an extinct stratovolcano that stretches 30km in diameter, covered by pristine sub-montane and montane forests that rise almost 1800 meters above sea level. The “battle of Kolombangara” was also the site of major battle between the US led allies and Japanese forces in WWII (hence, there are quite a few ship and plane wrecks across the area) and where US president John F. Kennedy was shipwrecked as a sailor.  This course is very practically focused with the majority of assessments (80%) coming via fieldwork-associated activities. There are no tests or exam in this course. It is taught at an advanced level and assumes that candidates are science students who have basic knowledge of form and function of plants and animals, have good dissemination and general data analysis skills, are comfortable in and around water (preferably SCUBA trained), and have some basic hiking experience.

Assessment structure

ECOL732 Assessment Structure

Faculty

The field activities carried out in this course are supervised by Dr Armagan Sabetian and Dr Sebastian Leuzinger, both senior academics at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. Dr. Sabetian’s expertise is in fish ecology, while Dr. Leuzinger is interested in rainforest ecology and the global carbon system. Both also have interest in coral reef ecology and tropically trained from James Cook University in Australia.

Transcript & Credits

The paper is worth 3-4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS.

Itinerary

We will be travelling to the Western province of Solomon Islands from Auckland, New Zealand. We will be staying in Vavanga village, a lowland coastal village situated on the southwest coast of Kolombangara Island, and proceed to make daily excursions to the surrounding islands and reefs to explore the marine environment, and also hikes into the interior and summits of the rainforest.

Eligibility

Completion of introductory Biology and Ecology courses is preferred.

Programme Details

Orientation and preparation: Students will be expected to attend several preparatory lectures where course content and background literature, course structure, and trip details, among other topics, will be discussed.

International travel: Students will be advised by the programme leaders in how to book their international and internal flights to and within the Solomon Islands, respectfully.

Housing: Students will be housed in a modern tropical villa with shared style accommodation in Vavanga village. Students are expected to camp out for one night in the rainforest at about 1000m ASL on the way to the summit of the volcano. Vavanga village is electrified, from a micro-hydro dam and only 10 nautical miles from the capital of Western Province (Gizo) where access to all types of health, shopping and financial services exist.

Dates Fees & Inclusions

27th June to 11th July 2017, beginning in Auckland and then travelling to the Solomon Islands.

Fees

$2000 NZD plus international student tuition. Please contact studyabroad@aut.ac.nz for more information.

What’s included:

  • All accommodation and food while on site
  • All internal boat travel while on site
  • All dive gear hire

Students will pay for their own international travel between Auckland and the Solomon Islands.

For more information, please contact studyabroad@aut.ac.nz.

Last updated: 23-Feb-2017 8.18am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.