September 21, 2007 2:27 AM

Moorea Program Details

Erin Martin asked 1) what program I'm in Moorea with, and 2) how I found out about this opportunity.

I'll answer the 2nd question first:
You find out about cool study abroad opportunities like this one while attending CNR's Welcome Week new student orientation. Someone in the CNR staff mentioned the program, and I thought, "I need to look into that."

Now for that 1st question:
I'm here in Moorea through a class offered under the course title ESPM 107 and IB 158. It's a semester of research in French Polynesia, 13 units of coursework that can typically count as the bulk of your elective units. Check out the past semester of blogs under "Tina" in the categories, to find a few more entries that give background on the program and a couple different tours of the Gump Research Station.

In the meantime, here are some more photos....

The Maharea estuary: we took a transect of this portion.

Kerry Wininger finds a great shelf fungus in the forest.

Juan asked if he could study EEP in Moorea. While the program is geared toward biology and geology, it's quite possible that you can come up with an environmental economics problem to address within a two-month timeframe on a tropical island. Let your mind run wild with ideas (ie- hypotheses to address) and apply in March for the program. If you convince them in the interview that the work you'll do in Moorea is applicable to your degree and future aspirations, chances are, you'll fit in fine.

Here are some testimonials from former Moorea class members, from the Spring 2006 issue of Breakthroughs Magazine:

Tropical education: biology and geomorphology of tropical islands


* Treasure Island - Breakthroughs Feature Spring 2006
* Course website

The Gump Research Station on the island of Moorea is more than a living laboratory for some of the world’s best scientists. It's also home to one of UC Berkeley’s most exotic courses for undergraduates, Biology and Geomorphology of Tropical Islands, in which students learn field research methods and conduct their own projects.

What's it like?

"My semester on Moorea was one of the greatest experiences of my undergraduate career. Living in another culture was an eye-opener, and it has left me with an urge to continue such adventures. The Moorea class not only teaches students about the biology and geomorphology of tropical islands, the science of nature, and the Polynesian culture; it also teaches students the nature of science and scientific investigation."

– Stephen Hatosy '06, Molecular Environmental Biology

"Spending 10 weeks on an island with little to do aside from conducting research, we perfected the art of time-filling: some surfed, some played cards, and some took bi-weekly trips to the nearby Juice Factory for free samples of rum. But throwing ourselves into our projects provided the best way to stay busy and avoid island fever. I investigated the physiological effects of a parasitic vine (Cassytha filiformis) on one of its hosts (a shrub called Pemphis acidula that Tahitians call 'mikimiki')."

– Sara Lopus '05, Environmental Science

"The independence and diligence required to turn out a successful research project while in the most beautiful place in the world has definitely carried over to life after visiting Moorea. I feel more capable to tackle my classes and less stressed out about the minutia of everyday life. Living at the Gump station is calming and relaxing. I think I managed to bring this practicality and calm independence, though greatly diluted, back to Berkeley."

– Nicole Baltrushes '06, Integrative Biology

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