Tropical Ecology and Conservation Science
Education "A Tropical Learning Experience"

We offer 3 unique ecology & conservation courses and internships for credit for both undergraduate and graduate students through the University of Florida (UF) that are open to students from any school. Additional information, course syllabi, and applications can be found at: http://www.wec.ufl.edu/belize/.

Wildlife Ecology & Conservation

In this course, students will actively experience wildlife, habitats, peoples, and conservation issues, solutions, practices, and practitioners in the tropics, with Belize as a case study. Belize has a wide variety of unique wildlife found in diverse habitats, including montane and lowland pine and broad-leaved forests (including "rainforest"), savannah, shrubland, fresh and saltwater wetlands, and coastal, marine (including reefs), lacustrine, riverine, and subterranean systems. Many of these areas fall under some form of protection, with Belize having a greater proportion of its area under some form of protection and conservation management than any other country, and employing a variety of unique conservation strategies. Belize also has a diverse assemblage of peoples whose history and culture often influence wildlife, habitats, and conservation. These include Maya, Garifuna, Creole, Mennonites, and others. By experiencing these areas and peoples, students will receive a focused understanding of wildlife ecology and conservation in the tropics. Lectures and field activities are led by Dr. Giuliano and local experts.
Course Syllabus

Marine Ecology & Conservation

In this course, students will actively experience marine organisms and habitats, peoples, and conservation issues, solutions, practices, and practitioners in the tropics, with Belize as a case study. Belize has a diversity of coastal and marine ecosystems, the second largest barrier reef system in the world, and is renowned for its marine life and conservation practices. Marine life and habitats in these areas compete with many uses such as ecotourism, aquaculture, natural resource extraction, and others that have the potential to both positively and negatively affect them. Many of these areas fall under some form of protection, with Belize having a greater proportion of its area under some form of protection and conservation management than any other country, and employing a variety of unique conservation strategies. By experiencing these areas and peoples, students will receive a focused understanding of marine ecology and conservation in the tropics, and have the opportunity to participate in a long-term marine research project in Belize. Most of the activities for the course take place in the water via snorkeling. Optional scuba activities are available for an additional fee. All lodging, food, and activities will take place through the Belize Marine Tropical Research & Education Center (MTREC). Lectures and activities will be led by Dr. Giuliano, Dr. Ken Mattes (renown marine scientist with 20+ years' experience in the tropics), and others.
Course Syllabus

Wildlife Veterinary Medicine

In this course, students will actively experience wildlife veterinary medicine at the Belize Zoo. The Zoo is regarded as the best of the West outside of the U.S., and has all native species including the largest collection of jaguars. Students will work with Instructors and Zoo Staff providing annual examinations of 1-5 species and treatment, as needed. Students will receive a focused understanding of zoo wildlife veterinary medicine. All students will complete a Risk Assessment for Animal Contact through UF at their own expense prior to participating in the course, and those wishing to contact mammals during the course are required to obtain rabies vaccinations at their own expense. All lodging (dormitory style), food, and activities will take place at the Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Center (BZTEC) and Belize Marine Tropical Research & Education Center (BMTREC); these, the cost of all local travel, and tuition are included in the course fee. Lectures, activities, and safety and animal contact training at BZTEC will be led by Dr. Darryl Heard and Dr. Wellehan (renown Zoological Medicine Faculty), and at BMTREC will be led by Dr. Ken Mattes (renown Scientist with 20+ years' experience in Belize), and others. Students wishing to experience the barrier reef while at BMTREC are required to bring their own snorkeling equipment.
Course Syllabus

Internships in Ecology & Conservation

Internships are arranged as needed with students working on PTECS faculty research, outreach, and extension projects and with various partners such as the Belize Zoo, Tropical Education Center, Belize Audubon Society, Marine Tropical Education & Research Center, and others. Course fees will vary by internship. Multiple internships can be combined. See Internships.


"I cannot say thank you enough for your guidance on the trip. It was an amazing experience and I know it will benefit my future sevenfold."
- Brooke 2013