Header image  

Conservation Design for Manatee in Puerto Rico

line decor
   Email Instructors Email Class
line decor

Course Objectives

This is a participatory research course, which means that (1) we do not know the answer to the questions being posed and (2) we will work together to design and carry out research to answer the question. The assignment for this course is: To document and deliver the science to inform a federal ruling regarding the establishment of manatee protection area(s) in Puerto Rico (*link to federal article*)

Technical: We will work in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the government of Puerto Rico to assemble, interpret, and report currently available data and exert knowledge in support of the federal ruling. Specific tasks will likely include literature review, spatial data modeling in GIS, and facilitating expert workshops in Puerto Rico. The final report must convey the science in a manner that will support federal decision-making process and satisfy requirements of transparent, science-based conservation planning. All project participants will be co-authors of the report. By the end of the semester, we should have a very solid draft ready for review by participating experts and our state and federal partners.

Professional development: Participate in collaborative research, improve communication skills, develop leadership skills, and experience a peer-review process (likely after the course is completed).


What is a paticipatory research class?

The basic idea is that we will operate as a collaborative research team. The approach is described in some detail in Hess & Drew, 2004. Inquiry-guided learning through collaborative research. Pages 146-172 in V.S. Lee (editor). Teaching and Learning through Inquiry: A Guidebook for Institutions and Instructors. Stylus Publishing, Sterling VA.

Class Participation and Philosophy:

By participating in this class, students accept responsibility to deliver a report under contract to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the government of Puerto Rico. Thus, full participation both in and outside the classroom is essential. As a collaborative project, tasks are divided among group members according to individual skill sets and group needs. Meeting weekly deadlines is critical to deliver contracted draft document at course completion. All questions and thoughts are encouraged, because, as stated previously, you the students will take leadership of the objectives, methods, and final product. Our tasks as instructors are to facilitate this process and ensure the work meets federal and state requirements.



Dr. Ashton Drew & Dr. Jaime Collazo

4 credits

Time & Location:
TBD by participants; 3 hours per week
David Clark Labs

Office Hours:
By Appointment
219A David Clark Labs

Participants will be expected to attend two workshops in Puerto Rico (likely mid/late Sept and mid/late Oct)

Interested students must complete an application to join this class. Consent of instructor is required

We are seeking 2 graduate students to participate in this project. Students should have coursework or experience in at least two of the following: ecology • conservation biology • environmental policy • GIS • spatial modeling/statistics • conservation planning