Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ashland microbiology professor teaches this summer in Taiwan

Paul Hyman, Associate Professor of Biology, is spending five weeks this summer teaching in Taiwan as part of the ONPS Summer School, an independent Chinese education program. ONPS provides Chinese students studying at American universities during Fall and Spring with summer school classes while they are home. He is teaching an Introductory Biology course (in English) in Taipei, Taiwan to students from schools ranging from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to the University of San Francisco. There is a student from the Ohio State University and even one high school student from Taipei.

His adventures began even before arriving as a class five typhoon caused his first flight to be cancelled and the rescheduled flight diverted to Okinawa, Japan for a day. But since arriving in Taipei he has completed his first week teaching and exploring the city. He writes “Taipei is a fascinating mix of familiar city sights and a totally different approach to life. Because food is plentiful and inexpensive, many people prefer to eat out for most or all meals. Supporting this are a vast number of small restaurants, food stalls and night markets – streets blocked off each day to set up food and store booths that are then taken down at the end of the day. One of the teaching assistants tells me that some apartments do not even have kitchens.“

“People are friendly and very forgiving of someone who can barely manage a poorly pronounced “hello” and “thank you” in Chinese. Some people speak English, at least a few more words than I speak Chinese. We manage to get by pointing to pictures, gestures and smiles. And numbers are universal. The streets are as full of scooters as of cars. Perhaps because of the many scooters, I haven’t seen many bicycles although there are usually a couple each day. Besides the many food shops are small hardware stores, mini-marts, beauty salons, mechanics (especially for the scooters), all along the same street in no particular order. Many of them appear to be family businesses. “

Dr. Hyman will be teaching through the second week of August and then it is back to Ohio with just a few weeks before classes start at AU. Just enough time to readjust to a 12 hour time change.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Ashland Biology in Costa Rica

Boat trip for snorkeling on the Pacific coast
Ashland University has hosted a foreign languages summer program in Costa Rica for many years.  But this summer was the first time that we have offered a natural science course as part of the AU in Costa Rica program.

Students in Biology Professor Merrill Tawse's BIO 202: Organisms, Adaptation, and Diversity course spent this summer at the biologically rich campus setting of Conversa Language Center, a Spanish language school situated in a lush mountain setting overlooking the Santa Ana Valley.  Students did weekend field work in the tropical cloud forest of Monteverde and the marine park in Manuel Antonio while learning Spanish.  For additional cultural experiences, students live with families and participate in excursions.

Professor Tawse reports that
This is the first time that the Ashland University Biology/Toxicology Department has led
Hiking in the rain forest with Professor Tawse
students into this part of the world where they were surrounded by some of Earth's most biologically diverse ecosystems. Students were in awe as they observed first-hand the richness of plant and animal species surrounding them as they were snorkeling in coral reefs, hiking through mountain cloud forests, and when comparing upland and lowland tropical forests of Costa Rica. Student lab experiences included measuring and comparing the biological diversity in select habitats, night hikes, mist netting of birds and bats, encountering lizards and snakes along the park and preserve trails and visiting a local animal refuge center. For many, being able to watch a sea turtle foraging in a coastal reef, discovering Howler and White-faced Monkeys moving through the canopy above them, and observing sloths sleeping in the trees will become some of the lifetime memories of their Ashland University experience.
Here are some more pictures from this summer's trip:

Snorkeling with sea turtles
Setting up a mist net to collect birds
A rufous capped warbler