Ecology of the Belize Barrier Reef

Course Numbers:   OCMB - 8100

Learning Objectives

This is a field course to be held at South Water Caye, Belize.  This course will be an intensive hands on learning experience at the magnificent barrier reef system of Belize.  We will spend a majority of our time actually diving on the reef and waters of the lagoon and back reef.  Students will experience first hand the great natural biodiversity of the pristine reef system of Belize.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • identify local fish, invertebrates and plants typical of Caribbean reef ecosystems
  • describe patterns of larval recruitment for fish and invertebrates as it applies to reef dynamics
  • observe and document the biological interactions among members of these communities (competition, predation, symbioses)
  • explain how abiotic factors regulate populations and communities, and affect ecosystem dynamics
  • learn and Perform field techniques, including sampling procedures, estimation of population density, and community diversity
  • compare methods used to study coral reef community ecology
  • identify major benthic and nektonic coral reef components including fish, invertebrates, and benthic algae
  • conduct and compare monitoring and census techniques in several reef community types
  • synthesize and incorporate information from articles in peer-reviewed journals into your individual project, presentation, and report

Prerequisites: Invertebrate zoology, marine ecology, or equivalent.  Students will need passports and will be required to pass a swim test prior to departure.

Preparation: The class will meet three times before departing for Belize to provide written material and background on the course. Attendance is mandatory. 

Trip Dates : March 29 - April 4, 2014

Textbook:

None

Winter 2014 Syllabus