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Tropical Field Studies in Belize

October 01, 2010

Story by Doug Minor

Saint Anselm College students studied in Belize last summer. The neotropical rainforests and coral reefs of the Central American country are two of the most species-rich ecosystems on earth. It was the third year that professors Lori LaPlante and Eric Berry offered Field Studies in Tropical Biology, introducing students to the biological complexity of the tropics. (Last year's class also learned a bit about geology, when a 7.3 earthquake struck just off the shore of Honduras.) Using canoes and snorkel gear, students learned to measure coral diversity, survey tropical species, and observe fish behavior.

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Quotes From Participants

First-hand experiences stay with them for a long time. I am amazed how often I'll meet students who had taken the course in the past and still seem to remember every detail. If I could get my regular classes on campus to remember half of what the Belize students learn from their course, I'd be ecstatic. - Eric Berry, associate professor

I was able to conquer some of my previous fears on this trip. Never did I think that I would have the courage to hold a snake. I swallowed my fears and ended up actually liking it! - Caitlin Heneghan '11, natural science

The enthusiasm I see in our students reminds me of why I was attracted to field biology in the first place. - Lori LaPlante, associate professor

I finally opened my eyes and there was this little frog sitting on my head. - Lauren Morse '11, psychology

We did a lot of exercises in a coral reef and I learned a lot about the research that they do there in order to conserve their marine lige. I would really love to be able to do that one day.--  Heather Ronan '11, biology