Students and faculty listen to a lecture on algae in the 2013 IBRC Marine Ecology course. Tulamben, Bali. June 2013. Photo: Sara Simmonds.
2013 marks the fourth year that I have been involved with the Diversity Project at the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center in Bali. The Diversity Project is a summer program for undergraduates of under represented backgrounds to gain research experience and learn about marine biodiversity in Indonesia. Dr. Paul Barber (UCLA) started the program in 2004 with only four students. It has grown into a 10 week course based out of the IBRC at Udayana University in Bali with 3-4 classes taught by faculty from many institutions including UCLA, Cal State Moss Landing, Cornell, Smithsonian Institute, Hampton University and Duke University with up to 50 participants every summer. Classes vary but usually include Scientific Diving, Molecular Ecology, Phylogenetics and Biodiversity Surveys. This year a two week Marine Ecology class was taught by Peggy Fong (UCLA), Ben Cuker (Hampton University), James Morin and Myra (Cornell) and me. Besides listening to lectures, students worked in groups of four to conduct mini research projects on various topics such as coral colony morphology and associated fish community composition. At the end of the class they presented their results to the group. All in all, it was a successful first year of Marine Ecology and we have some ideas of how to make it even better next year!