Defining key island systems, both natural and human, and how they interface is the focus of this marine and terrestrial program. Through field observations and research, students identify the pressures on the environment and social systems, and evaluate the responses by local stakeholders and policymakers. Interviews with residents reveal local livelihood strategies, approaches to surviving in a tourism-based economy, and use of natural resources, which help students to assess the sustainability of terrestrial and marine resource use. The program provides a foundational knowledge of the interdependence of the livelihood strategies of island residents, population structure of key species, and habitat arrangements and conditions. Equipped with this, students then apply sustainability principles to identify potential management strategies. Lectures by Panamanian and international researchers, government officials, and community stakeholders provide additional social, economic, and policy context for environmental management in the region.
November 15, 2017