Field Courses

Field Courses give students unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the study of organisms and biological processes in natural habitats. These are classes that allow students to live among and breathe in the very topics that they are studying!

Occasionally, field courses on other topics in Biology are offered. To check on the availability of such courses, please contact Ms. Julie Fredlund at 970.248.1993.

Tropical Field Biology (BIOL 407 & BIOL 507)

Next Offering: Please contact the instructor.

Instructor: Dr. Tom Walla

BIOL 407 is a 5-credit, 3-week course is offered every year in Ecuador. Once students arrive in Ecuador, they are accompanied by Dr. Walla and a handful of guides to several remote tropical habitats. These include the lowland rainforest, the cloud forest, and the paramo. Depending upon the availability, students may also travel to the Galapagos Islands. As students learn the natural histories of the organisms that are found in each area, they also learn how to establish and test hypotheses. Group and independent projects enable students to hone their skills in the process of science. Journaling and oral presentations allow students to communicate their thoughts and their findings to their instructors and peers. This course can also be taken at the graduate level (BIOL 507).

For more information on the undergraduate or graduate-level sections of this course, please e-mail or call Dr. Tom Walla at 970.248.1146.

Marine Invertebrate Communities (BIOL 433 & BIOL 533)

Next offering: To be Determined

Instructor: Dr. Aparna Palmer

BIOL 433 is an intensive, one-week course is offered every other year on the Oregon coast. Students live at a marine station and spend their days and evenings exploring various habitats, examining the collected organisms in the lab, and attending short lectures on the various communities of invertebrates. Rocky intertidal, mudflat, sandy beach, estuarine, and sub-tidal communities are surveyed during the course. Students are asked to specialize on organisms of their interest and give oral presentations to introduce their peers to the natural history of their invertebrates of choice. They are also required to write short papers on each of their organisms upon returning to the Colorado Mesa University campus.

This course can also be taken at the graduate level (BIOL 533). In addition to completing the fieldwork, students in the graduate level course are required to complete a scientific study and write a scientific paper on their research. Students will be work individually with Dr. Palmer to become familiar with techniques in experimental design, hypothesis testing, data collection, and data analysis. Dr. Palmer will also work closely with students in the writing of their papers.

For more information on this course or the graduate-level equivalent, please contact Dr. Aparna Palmer at