November 17, 2009

Harvard University & CTFS-AA offer a 2010 Field Biology Course to students from Tropical East Asia: "The Biodiversity of Borneo"

In association with the Harvard University Summer School, the Arnold
Arboretum and the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS-AA) will offer a field biology course to be held in Sarawak and Sabah (East Malaysia) from 1 June to 11 July 2010. Students from Harvard University and universities in Asia will come together to study terrestrial and marine biodiversity, ecology and conservation, with instructors from Harvard University and other institutions (including Sabah Parks, Sabah Forest Dept., Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Univ. Malaysia Sabah, Yayasan Sabah).

Flyer for students applying in Asia.
Flyer for students applying in the US.

The forests and reefs of northwest and north Borneo have some of the highest levels of alpha-diversity in the world. The forests are home to orang-utans, hornbills, rhinos and as many as 5,000 tree species, and the reefs offer some of the best diving in the world. We will visit world-class parks and reserves (e.g., Lambir, Kinabalu and the Maliau Basin), to gain a thorough understanding of abiotic controls on species composition, and will contrast processes that maintain biodiversity in forests with those operating on coral reefs. Throughout Borneo, intensive logging and marine harvesting have occurred for many years. Our course will explore the complexities of conservation today, including trips to sustainably-managed, carbon-traded, and restored forests. We will also provide opportunities for the students to meet people living in and off the forest, to understand their motivations for forest conversion and conservation, and to consider the human health dimensions of forest change.

A key feature will be the development of skills in research project design, execution and analysis, based around the statistical platform `R.' The students will complete three independent projects, from conception to presentation. The students will gain database and web publishing skills by developing a community digital record of the trip.

Lead by Dr. Cam Webb, research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum, the course is aimed at advanced undergraduates, recent graduates currently active in biological research, and postgraduate entry-level students. Maximum age: 25. Travel, food, accommodation and course fees will be funded for Tropical East Asian nationals (ASEAN, PNG, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, China). Students will be responsible for other costs and some students may be requested to pay their international travel. Places may be available for non-Harvard, non-Asian, paying students. Students will be
selected to provide broad international representation.

For more information on the course (including instructions for application) see:

Queries and completed application materials should be directed to Dr. Cam Webb (c/o The application deadline is 5 Feb 2010.