Island Biogeography: Exploring the Biodiversity of New Zealand

Photo of Snyder Stephanie

Dr. Snyder has worked around the world studying how organisms move about in their environments. She has logged more than 5 months at sea. Her research has taken her to estuaries in coastal South Carolina, mangrove forests in the Bahamas, kelp forests in Southern California, coral reefs in the Gulf of Aqaba, intertidal zone in Puget Sound, and open ocean habitats in the California Current, the Eastern Equatorial Pacific near the Galapagos Islands, and in the North Sea. As a professor in the department of biological sciences at Thomas More College, Dr. Snyder hopes to inspire students to participate in international experiences and to seek out internship opportunities in the marine sciences. Currently, she is developing study abroad courses in biodiversity and is continuing to collaborate with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration as well as the American Fishermen’s Research Foundation to study albacore tuna migration in the North Pacific Ocean.

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Dr. Stephanie Snyder (More Info)

Island Biogeography: Exploring the Biodiversity of New Zealand

Program Dates:
December 26, 2018 - January 9, 2019

Honors Credit:

WKU Course:
BIOL 285

Biology , Earth & Environmental Science

Course Description:
Uncover the ecology, biology and geology behind the diverse wildlife of New Zealand. On our journey from Christchurch on the South Island to Auckland on the North Island, we plan to trek through the Banks Peninsula, go birding along the Kapiti coastline, brave the geothermal landscape of Taupo, explore the Waitomo caves, and island-hop in the Hauraki Gulf. Through field excursions and participation in local research and conservation efforts, students will learn to identify species of birds, mammals and plants, to map habitats, and to estimate species diversity. All skills and experiences during this course will help students explore, understand, and protect our planet’s ecosystems.

This course has an additional $150 cost due to course activities.

Introductory Biology

Physical Activity Requirements:
Participants must be able to swim and should be prepared to walk and hike at least 5 - 8 miles per day. Furthermore, being a field biology course, participants will often be without urban comforts. This course will spend a lot of time in nature, in all types of ecosystems (e.g., swamps, alpine forests, coral reefs) and climates (e.g., humid, cold, hot, dry).

Course Highlights:
New Zealand provides a rich natural laboratory for understanding the diversity and distribution of life on earth. This course will explore forests, marine ecosystems, freshwater ecosystems, caves and geothermal systems. Students will have the opportunity to compare biodiversity on different islands within New Zealand and participate in local research and conservation efforts. Students will gain practical skills in evaluating conservation programs, conducting field work, and traveling internationally. This course is applicable to biology, geology, and environmental science majors.