Lamanai Field Research Center
On the banks of the New River Lagoon, the Lamanai Research Center and Lodge provide classroom facilities and comfortable accommodations for students after a day of field research.
About the Courses and Activities
Courses include on-campus meetings and course work.
During these classes and travel to Belize, you will:
- Learn and practice systematic methods for sampling behavioral data in natural environments
- Study howler monkey behavior.
- Interact with field researchers from Belize and a variety of U.S. universities.
- Engage in daily contact with the diverse cultural groups of Belize. (See Belize cultural groups.)
- Learn about sustainable development projects to balance rain forest preservation and human needs.
- Visit a grass-roots conservation project.
- Visit a village elementary school.
This course will take you to the Lamanai Mayan Reserve in the small English-speaking country of Belize, just south of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Belize, as well as southern Mexico and Guatemala are the only places black howler monkeys are found. In order for conservation efforts to be effective, information is needed on howler monkey habitat needs, social behavior and distribution.
Individuals will actively participate in daily walking excursions in the forest and around ruins, surveying areas where troops of howler monkeys are known to reside. All aspects of the research are under the direction of a researcher and site naturalist. The research site, a 20-30 minutes walk, is over mostly level ground.
A Typical Day of Research Conducted
Small teams of students will take part in morning and afternoon data collecting sessions to:
- Scan the forest with binoculars during systematic transects.
- Record howler monkey behaviors on data sheets.
- Conduct acoustic recordings.
- Collect ecological information.
- Identify individual monkeys by their natural markings.
Interested students will also be able to help with data analysis. Evenings will be devoted to slide presentations by the researcher and site naturalist on subjects such as howler monkey biology, rainforest ecology and cultures of Belize.
Free time activities include searching for crocodiles and jabuiru storks by excursion boat, visiting a nearby village and Mayan ruins, bird watching, swimming, canoeing or simply enjoying the view from your veranda.