2019-2020 / OCEA0223-1

Biodiversity of tropical coastal regions

Duration

15d FW

Number of credits

 Master in biology of organisms and ecology (120 ECTS)3 crédits 
 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)4 crédits 

Lecturer

Bruno Frederich, Gilles Lepoint, R. Rasolofonirina

Coordinator

Bruno Frederich

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester

Schedule

Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The purpose of this course is to illustrate the diversity of tropical coastal ecosystems (coral reefs, tidal flats, seagrass meadows, mangroves) as well as the organisms associated with these environements. This course delivered in the form of an internship includes many topics in biology such as taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology, physiology and morphology.
The internship is a teaching on its own.
This course takes place at the Institute for fisheries and Marine Sciences (IH.SM) of Toliara, Madagascar. This institute is part of the University of Toliara and its missions are Training and Research in the field of Marine Science, Fisheries, Aquaculture, and the Marine and Coastal Environment. Research at IH.SM led to, among other things, the development of spirulina production, the development of sea cucumber aquaculture, and the development of seaweed farming. The students will rub Malagasy students belonging to the Master Biomanagement and Ecotourism and some activities will be common to both courses.
During the internship, students have the opportunity to observe and study the biotopes from coastal zones in the tropics as well as to harvest organisms from these environments. Organisms harvested are maintained and studied in the lab. In addition to the visits of these biotopes "by foot" at low tides, some of them will also be observed during free diving sessions. Visits to sea cucumber and seaweed farms will be organized. Finally, some theoretical classes will be given during the internship to clarify some topics and concepts not discussed previously.

The purpose of this course is to illustrate the diversity of tropical coastal ecosystems (coral reefs, tidal flats, seagrass meadows, mangroves) as well as the organisms associated with these environements. This course delivered in the form of an internship includes many topics in biology such as taxonomy, phylogeny, ecology, physiology and morphology.
The internship is a teaching on its own.
This course takes place at the Institute for fisheries and Marine Sciences (IH.SM) of Toliara, Madagascar. This institute is part of the University of Toliara and its missions are Training and Research in the field of Marine Science, Fisheries, Aquaculture, and the Marine and Coastal Environment. Research at IH.SM led to, among other things, the development of spirulina production, the development of sea cucumber aquaculture, and the development of seaweed farming. The students will rub Malagasy students belonging to the Master Biomanagement and Ecotourism and some activities will be common to both courses.
During the internship, students have the opportunity to observe and study the biotopes from coastal zones in the tropics as well as to harvest organisms from these environments. Organisms harvested are maintained and studied in the lab. In addition to the visits of these biotopes "by foot" at low tides, some of them will also be observed during free diving sessions. Visits to sea cucumber and seaweed farms will be organized. Finally, some theoretical classes will be given during the internship to clarify some topics and concepts not discussed previously.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

This marine biology course in a southern country is a unique opportunity offered to our students at ULiège. The objective of this internship is to integrate concepts of ecology and biodiversity by applying them to particular biotopes, those of tropical coastal environments such as coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves with a focus on applied marine biology (aquaculture, sustainable development, conservation, anthropization of tropical ecosystems). It is also a first experience with the realities of a developing country.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Have obtained a Bachelor's degree (180 credits) allowing the enrollment in the Master Biology of Organisms and Ecology OR the Master in Oceanography at the University of Liège.
Have had a training in taxonomy of invertebrates (e.g. course - BIOL2041-1 - Animal taxonomy and phylogeny). For students of Master II Oceano and students who did not have this type of course, we demand the optional course - OCEA0092-1 - Biology of benthos and necton animals: invertebrates.
Have had a course in ecology (general or marine).

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Classes, e-learning (MOOC), field work, lab works and visits of various aquaculture systems.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

The course obviously involves the presence in the field.
The internship will be introduced in Belgium by both professors. In support of this introduction, students will be asked to follow, at their own pace, an online course (MOOC) dedicated to tropical coastal ecosystems (in English). The consultation of this MOOC will be followed by discussions on some points selected by the teachers.
In Madagascar, field and laboratory activities are supplemented by several theoretical presentations. Some contents will be provided by Prof. Richard Rasolofonirina from the Institute of Fisheries and Marine Sciences of the University of Tulear.
Important: Students must be physically present in Madagascar. Failure to participate in the field course automatically entails the adjournment of both sessions.

Recommended or required readings

The needed guides and books for the internship are provided on site.
The "powerpoint" presentations of the classes presented on site are provided during this one.
The e-learning (MOOC) and its use will be detailed during the introductory part of the course.

Assessment methods and criteria

The evaluation is achieved at the end of the internship (last day) and deals with the main aspects taught during the internship. It has two parts:
- A MCQs related to all the activities organized during the course.
- A presentation "powerpoint type" dedicated to a topic addressed during the course.
So, there is no reports, in the classic sense of the term.

The evaluation is achieved at the end of the internship (last day) and deals with the main aspects taught during the internship. It has two parts:
- A MCQs related to all the activities organized during the course.
- A presentation "powerpoint type" dedicated to a topic addressed during the course.
So, there is no reports, in the classic sense of the term.

Work placement(s)

The course is provided on site, in the field.

Organizational remarks

The field class is organized in May/June with a duration of 16 days in total (12 days of field + 4 travel days).
This optional course involves a trip to Toliara in the South-West of Madagascar. However, transports, accommodation and food costs are not sustained by ULiège. The trip requires a minimum of two days of travel for the return trip (i.e. a total of 4 days), and it will be organized in agreement with the course holders, allowing an optimal logistics organization.
The transport of the educational materials is organized by the supervisors.
For information, the return ticket varies between 1000 (international fly + local transport) and 1700 (2 planes) euros. The living costs in Madagascar is low and it is therefore possible to rent a hotel room and eat for 20 euros per day (maximum). A hotel which is in the immediate vicinity of the Institute (room for 1 people) will be booked by the supervisors. An approximation of the maximum real cost of the internship (transport, accommodation and food) is 2000 euros per student.
An info session will be organized prior to the reservation of fly tickets concerning the practical aspects (passport, vaccines, etc.) and the organizers remain at the disposal of the students for any additional information.
The logistics and the good quality of teaching can only be guaranteed for a limited number of students (5 students maximum). The request to participate in this optional course will be made by providing a letter of motivation to the supervisors and a discussion between the student and the tutors. The written agreement of the Master thesis PI is necessary for the registration at this optional course. The letter of motivation and the promoter's agreement must be delivered to both tutors via email by August 31 at the latest. Students will be selected during the first week of September.

Contacts

Dr Gilles LEPOINT Oceanology Sart Tilman, B6c 04-3663327 - g.lepoint@uliege.be
Dr Bruno FREDERICH Functional and Evolutionary Morphology Sart Tilman, B6c 04-3665040 - bruno.frederich@uliege.be