SCIE 640
Coastal Environments of Vieques, Puerto Rico

Suzanne O'Connell                  

Approximate Syllabus (Subject to change depending upon weather)
Saturday June 10 Arrive in Vieques - relax, walk on beach
Sunday June 11 Introduction to Vieques, National Forest Management, Mt. Pirata - highest point on Vieques
Monday June 12 Introduction to GPS / North Shore ecology (includes snorkeling)
Tuesday June 13 GPS / Caribbean Tectonics and Geology /  Vieques Historical & Conservation Trust
Wednesday June 14 More GPS / South Shore ecology (includes snorkeling)
Thursday June 15 Fort Mirasol / Hurricans & Tsunamis
Friday June 16 Kayaking - Mangrove ecology - Biobay (we're waiting until the end because of the moon)
Saturday June 17 Clean, pack and leave
Approximate Daily Schedule (subject to change)
8-12, field component
12-2, lunch break
2-5, class - lecture, discussion
5-7, dinner
post-dinner discussion
Pre-Course Meeting (logistics, introductions, not mandatory) May 31, 6-7 pm, Room 409, Exley Science Tower (corner of Church & Pine)
Course Materials

1) Greenberg, Idaz and Jerry, 1986.  Guide to Corals and Fishes of Florida, The Bahamas and th4e Caribbean, Seahawk Press, 6840 S.W. 92 St., Miami, FL 33156 ISBN = 0-913008-07-9  (available on Amazon < $6)

2) Materials will primary be photocopies of lecture notes and a few other resources. We’ll discuss the best way to make (color, B&W) & distribute them at the May 31 meeting, e.g. PIP photocopying with blank pages for notes?

See items to bring

Course Requirements

Maintain a notebook/journal during the course
Research paper & presentation due ~ 3 weeks after the course – date will be decided by the class.
Participation & a positive attitude – You make this is a great experience.

Items to Bring

*GPS – with computer downloading capability
*Laptop if you have one (PC is probably best, but I’ll be working on the GPS component with my Mac so that may be workable.)
You might want a clipboard for taking notes
Snorkel, mask and fins
Insect repellant
Bandana or scarf (for your neck)
Shoes/diving booties that can get wet (flip-flops might come off, so something with a heel attachment is probably better
If you burn easily and/or are particularly susceptible to bug bites, I recommend a long sleeve and pants.
The rest of the normal stuff
* If you don’t have these and don’t want to purchase them, we can figure out a way around it.)

Course Conditions

Of course the beaches are beautiful and the ecology varied. The key to success for the course is flexibility and comradory.  We will all  pitch in with cooking and cleaning.  There’s a laundry at the house and towels are provided. 

Although you can buy most” necessities” on the Island, many of them tend to be expensive and the selection is limited.  So if there’s something you really need bring it with you.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually in short supply.

I was last there in January.  At that time the only “official” place to send and receive email or conduct other Internet activity was at the Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust in Esperanza.  Hours are limited and when the computers break it can be days to weeks before they’re up and working.  One of the restaurants in Isabel Segunda (near us) has WiFi.  You can use it at the bar (I’ve never been able to wait long enough) and in theory you can use your laptop, but I haven’t been successful.  So best to think of this as an internet-free week.  Last year there was an Internet & computer shop with an excellent repairman, but he’s left the island and the shop has closed.

Additional Reading Material (optional)

Barlow, Virginia, 1993. The Nature of the Islands: Plants and Animals of the Eastern Caribbean,  Chris Doyle Publishing and Cruising Guide Publications, PO Box 1017, Dunedin, FL 34697-1017,pp. 152.  ISBN = 0-944428-13-4           

Honeychurch, Penelope N., 1980.  Caribbean Wild Plants & Their Uses, Macmillan Education, p. 166  ISBN 0 333 40911 6, 

Paul, Human, Any book in his Reef series 

Kircher, John, 1997. A Neotropical Companion:  An Introduction to the Animals, Plants and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, ISBN=0-691-00974-0, pp. 451 

Robinson, Kathryn, 1997. Where Dwarfs Reign: A Tropical Rain Forest in Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico Press, P.O. Box 23322, San Juan, PR 00931-332, ISBN= 0-8477-0255-3

Wesleyan Field guide to Vieques

Vieques National Wildlife Refuge

Best Overall information

General Tourist Information

Vieques Conservation & Historical Trust

Navy area - 2001


Requests/Special Interests

If there is something you particularly want to do, please let me know.  The schedule is flexible.  This allows us to take advantage of unplanned opportunities and weather. If you have special dietary requirements please let me know. 

Please feel free to contact me: