Coral Reef Management in Belize

Coral Reef Management in Belize — About

About Coral Reef Management in Belize

Belize encompasses not just a tropical safe haven for wildlife in the Central American jungles, but also an alluring underwater world. Straddling on the coast of Belize, is the world’s second longest barrier reef that is home to a large diversity of animals and plants.

This underwater world is undoubtedly a main attraction in Belize offering a blend of sailors skimming across the sea, windsurfers breezing through the surfs, and snorkelers gazing at the picturesque Mesoamerican Reefs. With its natural and nautical attraction, seaside city sites like Belize City embodies Belize’s translucent seas and cultural vibrancy.

Course Description

Coral reefs support nearly half the gross domestic product of tropical coast counties. Tourism, fishing, and protection are just some of the reasons millions of people rely on coral reefs for survival. But coral reef health is endangered by many influences, including overfishing, unsustainable tourism, pollution, and climate change.

This seminar will examine the living laboratories of the Mesoamerican Reef System—specifically the Belize barrier reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. Learn from local experts, engage with local community action plans, and explore the reef's biodiversity firsthand to develop a complex understanding of reef environment management. During this seminar you will inquire about and discuss societal goals for coral reef management, ways to translate goals into policy and practice, and methods for restoring damaged reefs.

No previous coral reef management or marine biology experience is required.

You will spend a great deal of time physically engaging with the reef's biodiversity, so an ability to swim is required, and desire to learn is encouraged.

Housing & Meals

You will live in shared accommodations with fellow program participants. All meals are included in the program fee. 


While in Belize, the surroundings will become your classroom, and you will explore and experience the seminar coursework through site visits. Your time will be spent at Monkey Bay and Tobacco Caye research stations. Activities and excursions may include: canoeing on the Sibun River; Whale Shark watching at South Water Caye Marine Reserve; snorkeling at Tobacco Caye Marine Station to experience corals, fish, sea grass, invasive lionfish, sea fans, tarpon, barracuda and more; night snorkeling to see lobsters, squid, lionfish, phosphorescence, millions of tiny neon blue fish, and the resident Moray eels; visiting Bird Island and Glover's Reef Atoll; and working on relevant projects.

Group Flight

All program participants will be taking the coordinated group flight to and from the program site. The cost of the group flight is included in the program fee that will be posted to your student account. Do not book your own flight. You will receive information from the Learning Abroad Center regarding your seat on the group flight once your participation has been confirmed.

Learning Outcomes

Faculty & Staff

This seminar is taught by Professor Jim Perry.

Professor Jim Perry is a professor of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology within the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences.

About the Learning Abroad Center

Learning Abroad Center programs are:

General Freshman Seminar Abroad Information Sessions

Wednesday, November 14th
3–4 p.m.
Blegen 155

Thursday, November 15th
3–4 p.m.
Blegen 155