Wilson Students Investigate Diverse Ecosystems in Belize Over J-Term

Byline: Alyse Lynch

Posted: November 21, 2010

Asst. Prof. Laura Altfeld and Assoc. Prof. Bradley Engle, both of Biology, will travel to Belize for January term. Twelve students will join them.

BIO 270, Tropical Ecology of Belize, will explore how cultural diversity affects conservation. The class spends one week in the classroom and two weeks on site. The course covers typical Belizean ecosystems such as broad-leaf forests, mangrove forests, sea grass beds, tropical riparian corridors and coral reefs through field study.

A Hands-On Experience for Students

The class focuses on biodiversity and ecosystem characterization. They also study the diverse culture of Belizean inhabitants and how the various cultures' values and ethics impact conservation.

In their studies, members of the class participate in activities such as snorkeling in the coral reef and sea grass beds, hiking and camping in the rainforest, kayaking in the sea and rivers and hiking ancient ruins. Additionally, the class plans to visit the Belize Zoo. The class also receives a nocturnal tour to ensure viewing all of the rare animals the zoo offers. They will learn the challenges of caring for animals not normally kept captive.

Interested in This Course?

Nine current students and three alumnae are enrolled in the course. The course fulfills a natural science lab (NSL) requirement and an environmental science lab (ESL) requirement. While there is no room for additional students to participate this semester, the class will be offered again in 2013.

Last Updated: September 21, 2011

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