GEOL 388
Field Studies II: The Natural History of the Galápagos Islands

Summer II 2008

Instructor: Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1216
Phone: x5-4084
Office Hours: By appointment

Instructor: Dr. John W. Merck, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1218
Phone: x5-2808
Office Hours: By appointment



Other readings will be web-based or provided in class.

Emphasis: Study of the Galápagos Islands allows us to explore the intersection of Geology (especially volcanology and plate tectonics), Physical and Biological Oceanography, Terrestrial Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, the History of Science, and issues in Convservation Biology. Thus, these islands are among the most intellectually stimulating place on Earth. The object of this program is to provide students with a hands-on experience there; having first provided the informational background necessary to optain the maximum benefit from the field experience. Toward that end, GEOL 388 is divided into classroom and field components, as described below.

COURSE ORGANIZATION: There are two basic components:

CREDIT: Three credit hours. Counts as a College Park Scholars - Earth, Life & Time List B Course; May fulfill CORE Advanced Study requirement for non-GEOL majors who have already earned 60 credits or more; consult with your advisor for verification.



  • 6-9 Introduction; the Career of Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the HMS Beagle
  • 6-10 Synopsis of Geology and Introduction to Plate Tectonics.
  • 6-11Volcanoes and other processes shaping the Galápagos landscape
  • 6-12 Oceanography and the climate
  • 6-13 On the Origin of Species: The principles of evolution, speciation, and island biogeography
  • 6-16 The living landscape: The Botany and Ecology of the Galápagos
  • 6-17 The community of terrestrial animals

  • 6-18 Galápagos marine ecology
  • 6-19 Human settlement on the Galápagos
  • 6-20 - EXAM :-(......
    - Final preparations

  • 6-22 to 7-1 - Galápagos excursion

  • 7-8 - Web papers due

    * The instructors reserve the right to revise this schedule as they deem appropriate.

    Last modified: 2 June 2008