Ecology, Behavior, and Conservation of Manatees & Dolphins

A Unique Field Course in the Belize Barrier Reef Lagoon System

2012 Session I ~26 May - 8 June  |  Session II ~16 June - 29 June  |  Session III ~7 July - 20 July

Lead Instructor & Principal Investigator: Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D.1,2

Co-PI: Katie LaCommare, Ph.D. 2,3  |  Visiting Faculty:  TBA

1Nova Southeastern University, 2Sirenian International, 3Lansing Community College


Want to be a Conservation Biologist, Behavioral Ecologist or Marine Mammalogist?  Here's your chance to join our research team for two intense weeks of total immersion into the world of animal behavior, ecology & conservation, Antillean manatees, bottlenose dolphins, coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds in Belize!


Course Overview:  This is an experiential learning field course where you will live, work, and study from a marine science field station on a pristine, private island off the coast of Belize.  Additionally, you will visit one or more Community Conservation Sites in Belize.  Data collected during the course will contribute to our long-term manatee/dolphin research project.  You will learn through a variety of learning activities, literature review and discussion, independent research projects, and actual field research.  Be prepared to rise with the sun and spend 8-10 hours outdoors, including 3-4 hours on the water each day learning about the tropical Caribbean environment as we explore a maze of mangrove islands, seagrass beds, and coral patches searching for elusive manatees and charismatic dolphins.


Location: Spanish Bay Conservation & Research Center at Hugh Parkey's Belize Adventure Lodge, and Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation & Development,  Passport required, immunizations as recommended by CDC


Your Share of the Costs:  US$2995 includes housing, meals, ground & water transfer fees, research & materials fees; DOES NOT include airfare, books, tips, and credit hours.


Optional Credit Hours: The course provides 100 experiential learning and lecture hours in the field, plus approximately 35 hours of pre-field reading, research, and preparation; at least 50 of the 135 total hours include direct instruction by faculty.  This is comparable to a 3 credit hour university course and meets the US DOE criteria in 34 CFR, SS600.2.  You must make arrangements IN ADVANCE with BOTH your advising faculty and Dr. Self-Sullivan for credit to be earned through your home university.  Credit hour fees must be paid directly to your school and you must fulfill any study abroad requirements of your school.  This course is divided into 4 major components: lectures and learning activities (~1 hour per day), independent reading and assignments (~2 hour per day), data collection in the field (~3 hours per day), project development & implementation (~2 hours per day), presentation of pre-field research (~1 hour per day), and debate/group discussion of reading materials (~1 hour per day).


Deadlines:  Early registration & and deposit due February 1st, 2012; regular registration & deposit due March 1st, 2012; balance due at least 60 days prior to field dates.  Late payments and late registrations (if space available) incur a $100 late fee. 




Contact:  Caryn Self-Sullivan, Ph.D.  |  cselfsullivan at sirenian dot org  |  +1.540.287.8207


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