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Tropical Field Studies in Belize

  • Course dates: May 22 - June 2, 2017 
  • Application & deposit ($500) deadline: January 2018
  • Estimated course fees: $3,200 - $3,600* (plus airfare) 
  • Prerequisites: completion of the spring course Tropical Biology (BI221) and permission to register by instructor

*Final cost will depend on number of students enrolled and price of airfare.

BI 222: Field Studies in Tropical Biology 

Tropical Biology (BI 221) and Field Studies in Tropical Biology (BI 222) constitute a four-credit, two-course sequence that introduces students to the biological complexity of tropical ecosystems. BI 221 is a 2-credit course offered during spring semester (odd years) that examines the fundamental scientific concepts and theories that describe tropical systems. Course work will cover a variety of topics, including the natural history of tropical biota, patterns of species diversity, rainforest ecology and conservation, coral reef ecology, and Belizean history and culture. BI 222 is a 2-credit course offered in the summer (odd years) that complements the understanding of tropical biology students have gained in the classroom by providing a hands-on field experiences in the ecologically diverse Central American country of Belize. Throughout the trip, Saint Anselm faculty (Dr. Eric Berry and Dr. Lori LaPlanteand local experts will lead field exercises in two of the most species-rich ecosystems on the planet, the neo-tropical rainforest and coral reef.  With its emphasis on Belizean ecosystems and travel within the country, this course provides students a unique opportunity to learn about and then experience the ecology and culture of a different country.    

Watch a short video from previous classes in the rainforest or out on the coral reef. See pictures at our Facebook site.
Note to Biology majors: completion of both BI221 and BI222 are necessary to count as one of your major elective laboratory courses.


Dr. Eric Berry earned his Ph.D. in Botany studying a threatened palm species in the cloud forests of northeastern Mexico and has nearly 15 years of teaching and research experience in tropical forest ecology. In addition to regularly teaching the Belize course, Dr. Berry has travelled extensively throughout the tropics, visiting tropical forests and savannas within the Bahamas, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, and Panama. He is an active member of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation and is SCUBA certified.

Dr. Lori LaPlante earned her Ph.D. in Ecology studying the reproductive biology of fish in Long Island Sound (CT), the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), and Okinawa Japan. She has nearly 20 years teaching and research experience in tropical marine ecology. Dr. LaPlante is an experienced world traveller having spent the last 20 years travelling on unbeaten paths in countries like Australia, Belize, Ecuador (Galapagos), Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Spain, and South Africa. She is a Master Scuba Diver with additional certifications in rescue diving, dry suit diving, night diving, scientific diving, scientific nitrox diving, wilderness first aid, and CPR.   

Trip Includes


  • This course is open to all majors who have taken one semester of college-level biology
  • Participation is limited to 12 students, priority is given to students who completed BI221
  • A $500 deposit (nonrefundable) is due with application. The deposit will be credited against course fees.
  • For information on immunizations for Belize, visit the Centter for Disease Control Web site.
  • Additional supplies/gear will be required for the course. Review the packing list (114 KB) for details.


To apply, contact either of the faculty instructors.

Financial Aid

You may be able to use monies from your financial aid package toward this course. Contact the Office of Financial Aid by clicking here.

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