ENV 122 - Coral Reef Conservation Lab
Course Description: Coral reefs are said to be the “rainforests of the ocean”, and are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Their delicate ecological balance and health are affected by local, regional, and global environmental problems. Therefore the study of reef ecosystems encourages people to think beyond their own familiar point of view and to consider solutions to complex environmental issues with a global perspective. Methods of marine resources management and the economic value of the reefs in present day Belize are examined. The importance of the reefs in Belizean culture both present and past are studied and experienced. The course will involve a 3-hour in-class planning session in Bedford and 14 days of field work in Belize, Central America. As with all International Studies programs at Middlesex, upon completion of the course students are expected to share what they have learned with the college community.
Prerequisite(s): Acceptance into the International Studies Fellowship Program for Belize (Spring application cycle) and all prerequisites contained therein. Priority is given to certified SCUBA divers, but seats for non-divers (snorkelers) are also available.
Course Student Learning Outcomes:
- Analyze and properly document scientific field data collected in accordance with the survey protocols of the Reef Check global coral reef health study (reefcheck.org).
- Evaluate the steps that the Belizean government, people, and industry are taking to conserve Belize’s coral reefs.
- Analyze the similarities and differences in environmental challenges faced by the Mayans and modern Belizeans.
- Analyze their experience in Belize in relation to scientific concepts such as sustainability, the ecological impact that industry, society, and individuals have on coral reef ecosystems, and global and local stresses on the world’s reefs.
- Formulate an environmental worldview after immersion into Belizean culture that reflects their values and underlies how they make ethical decisions.
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