Biological Sciences

Summer Field Programs

Rocky Mountains

A field course designed to examine the biotic communities of mountains, plateaus and desert environments in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Your experience will include:

  • Identification of mountain ecosystems from alpine tundra to oak woodland
  • Geology of the Grand Canyon
  • Hiking and camping in Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde National Park and Grand Canyon National Park
  • Map and compass orienteering
  • Anasaziculture and its impact on plateau ecosystems
  • Comparisons of Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert communities Hands-on videography of terrestrial ecosystems

A Taste of the Program

The first week is spent at the Florida Tech campus examining the ecology and geology of the central Rockies and the deserts of the American Southwest through lecture and laboratory exercises. The next four weeks will be spent at selected field sites in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico applying the information introduced in the lecture and laboratory to characterize the structure and biotic diversity of selected communities.

The field trip starts in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico and proceeds to the Sonoran deserts of Arizona. From here we travel to the plateau country of northern Arizona with a stop at the Grand Canyon where we will hike to the bottom of the canyon and spend a night within the canyon. Our next site will be the plateau areas and sand dunes of southern Colorado. We will end our field experience at Rocky Mountain National Park examining the high plains grassland, savannah foothill formation, montane, subalpine, and alpine tundra communities.

Field data will be supplemented by videography produced by the class. Field data and observations will serve as the basis of information for a field report that will be submitted as part of the course assignment. Days will be set aside for nonacademic exercises such as white-water rafting, horseback riding or biking.

Travel is by minivan and accommodations will be tent camping. Equipment and supplies that must be supplied by the student are listed in the summer field program checklist. Non-Florida Tech students will be housed in Florida Tech resident halls during the first week of the course.