BIO 2144 Tropical Ecology
A study of why the tropics experience a unique climate, how this creates a variety of unique habitats such as rain forests, cloud forests, savannas, and coral reefs, and the structure and dynamics of these habitats. The class also investigates a variety of other topics including structure of tropical soils, nutrient cycling, tropical forest dynamics, tropical species diversity, and conservation. Lecture, laboratory, and travel.
Arrive in Belize at the International Airport. Meet and greet at the airport by Programme for Belize representative and naturalist guide. Three-hour bus ride to La Milpa Ecolodge and Research Center. Welcome and settling into living quarters. Orientation to La Milpa Ecolodge and Research Center.
Early morning birding. Presentation on Programme For Belize. Tropical forest observation. Introduction to the tropics and ecological life zones. Mahogany Trail; self exploration. Presentation on Belizean fauna. Night hike/spotting.
Early morning birding. Introduction to field botany, tree identification, field exercise on sampling methodology. Bajo Trail; self exploration. Presentation on forest types and use. Night walk.
Visit to Maya/Mestizo village. Cultural and medicinal presentation: Craft Centre. Swimming. Maya/Archaeology presentation.
Visit to Lamanai Maya site. Swimming. Discussion on the importance of the rain forest. What you can do to protect them.
Optional birding. Tour of La Milpa archaeological site. The amazing leafcutter ants. Gift shop. Pre-departure cleanup. Belizean dance.
Day 7: Depart for Belize City/Transfer to the International Airport.