[Coral-List] Field Methods in Marien Biology class in Belize

Mario J. Mota mario.mota at yahoo.com
Wed Apr 13 15:10:50 EDT 2011

Field Methods in Marine Biology June 6-13, 2011

Join us for an eight-day adventure in Belize studying the theory and methods involved in marine biology field research. This class offers students the opportunity to gain hands on experience with field project design, data collection, analysis and reporting in a stunning tropical reef setting.

This course will exposed students to a variety of sub disciplines in tropical marine biology while giving them insight into and experience with skills which can lead to a future in marine biology. Some of the research topics covered will be:

-Natural history of Belize, Drowned Cayes, and Turneffe Atoll
-Surface water quality sampling and monitoring
-Mangrove and seagrass health and monitoring 
-Coral reef identification and monitoring 
-Fish biology, identification and behavior 
-Bottlenose dolphin biology, anatomy and behavior 
-Manatee evolution, biology and behavior 
-Sea turtle biology and species distribution 
-Data analysis and GIS mapping

This is an intense course and will consist of daily, lectures, field work, research design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation and a final project presentation. Students and faculty will live and work out of a private island resort in the Drowned Cayes in Belize.

Daily routine will include an early breakfast, morning lectures, morning recreation, lunch, and afternoon field sessions which take place on-boat and in-water (snorkel). Afternoon sessions also include surveying habitat quality, collecting coral reef data and making behavioral observations and surveys of manatee, sea turtle, and/or dolphins. We wrap-up each day with a fresh and nutritious traditional Belizean dinner followed by an evening program or lecture.

A full day-trip to the Great Blue Hole (made famous by Jacques Cousteau) will include snorkeling and surveying of coral, reef fish, and sea turtles. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Blue_Hole) During recreational time, students will be able to kayak, beach comb, snorkel the local lagoon, relax on the hammocks, or explore the mangroves.

Optional activities available at an additional cost include SCUBA instruction and diving the Great Blue Hole (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Blue_Hole) and an optional day-trip inland to the Belmopan area to visit either the Xunantunich Mayan city or zip lining and cave tubing, (http://jaguarbelize.com/overview.html)

Research accomplished during the course is part of a long-term project to study the habitat quality and species distribution of coral reef fish, manatee, turtles, and dolphins in Drowned Cayes and throughout Turneffe Atoll. Students will use GIS to analyze data collected during the class and will prepare and present a final report. Our data will contribute to a final report proposing to protect this region as a world heritage site.

Location: Spanish Bay Conservation & Research Center at Hugh Parkey's Belize Adventure Lodge, http://belizeadventurelodge.com/ Cost: for 8Day/7Night Student Package: US$1,360 Includes: 
Meet & greet at the airport 
Roundtrip land transfers from Belize international airport to Belize City 
Roundtrip boat transfers from Belize City to Spanish Look-Out Caye 
Seven nights accommodations at Hugh Parkey’s Belize Adventure Lodge in bunkhouse. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily 
Four lectures and half-day boat activities 
Full-day Great Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef snorkel trip 

Does not include tuition (if any) and air travel 
Optional: Full-day cave tubing & zip line tour or visit the Xunantunich Mayan city. Cost: US$170.00, including roundtrip land and boat transfers. 
Credit hours: In desired, this course has ~40 contact hours and can be taken as a 2 credit hour university course. You must make arrangements in advance with both your advising faculty and Dr. Mota for credit to be given through your home university or the University of Central Florida. Credit hour fees must be paid directly to your school and you must fulfill all study abroad requirements of your school. Deadlines: Registration and 25% deposit due by April 24th, 2011. Balance due by May 2nd, 2011. Late registration (after 5/2--if space available) incurs a late fee. If you are registering through your home university, earlier deadlines may exist; please check with your academic advisor.

Minimum/maximum class size: 10-15 students


Mario J. Mota, PhD

University of Central Florida

Seminole State College of Florida

Oceanic Society

East Coast Biologists, Inc


The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: What good is it? - Aldo Leopold

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