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Belize Program

TROPICAL MARINE BIOLOGY FIELD STUDY (L342)


The Department of Biological Sciences, in cooperation with Office of International Programs, is offering a unique opportunity to learn about our marine environment and then experience it first hand in Belize.

Marine biology covers a range of complex environments and a diverse assortment of plants and animals adapted to them.  While it is possible to discuss these environments in a lecture course, there is really no substitute for experiencing them in person.  The aim of this course is to introduce participants to a variety of habitats, including coral reefs, grass beds, soft and hard bottom communities, intertidal zones, sandy beaches, mangrove swamps and estuaries.  A student who completes this course will have observed and learned about the structure and function of a variety of tropical marine ecosystems and their inhabitants, as well as experienced Belize culture firsthand.

While in San Pedro, Ambergis Cay, Belize, we will use the Belize Marine TREC (Tropical Research and Education Center) facility as a base of operations to explore tropical marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Along with daily field trips, the course will include lectures, group activities and projects used to integrate information learned in lecture courses to what the students observe in the field

Instructors
Dr. Peter Bushnell, who also teaches Marine Biology (L304), earned a Master's degree in Marine Biology from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Hawaii. He has an on-going, active research program in the area of fish physiology, studying the ways in which fish have adapted to life in a marine environment, and spends summers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Wachapreague, Virginia. 

Dr. Ann Grens holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California, San Diego and performs research in the area of developmental biology using a simple cnidarian (an animal related to sea anemones and jellyfish) as her study system. She also teaches a survey course in zoology (Z301 - Introduction to the Animal Kingdom) for Biology majors.  Together with Dr. Bushnell, she has co-instructed the undergraduate course Tropical Marine Biology Field Study three times in Jamaica and twice in Belize.