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McGill University Bellairs Research Institute

Photographs compliments of Dr Karen Cheney

Permission requested to use information from McGill University

Bellairs Research Institute is Canada's only teaching and research facility in the tropics. Located in Barbados (13°10' N, 59°35' W), it plays host to students and scientists from around the world for field courses, workshops and research projects involving both marine and terrestrial environments. Close association is also maintained with several scientists based at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies.

Photographs compliments of Dr Karen CheneyThere is access to a wide range of marine habitats, including intertidal sand and rock, coral reefs, estuaries and mangroves, algal and seagrass beds, and deep oceanic water close to shore. As the only non-volcanic island in the Lesser Antilles, Barbados provides opportunities for unique studies in such disciplines as geology, geography, archaeology, climatology, as well as biology.

Field work is seldom interrupted due to inclement weather. Barbados lies outside the principal hurricane zones and the climate is healthy and pleasant, tropical but tempered with trade winds. The annual temperature normally ranges between 24ºC and 30ºC, rarely falling below 20ºC or rising above 32ºC. More than 3,000 hours of sunshine are recorded annually.

Facilities include large wet and dry labs, holding tanks, a small library, computers with Internet access and much more. Accommodation and meals can be provided for 30. Subject to room availability, holiday guests are also welcome at Bellairs. See the Facilities section for more information.

The Bellairs Research Institute of McGill University is a Canadian research and teaching laboratory in the tropics. The Institute was founded and endowed in 1954 by the late Commander Carlyon W. Bellairs to provide a facility through which staff at McGill might develop a scholarly interest in the tropics.

Although the Institute feels a special obligation to support Canadian research in Barbados, it also encourages the participation of scientists and students from around the world. As a consequence, an open-door policy to all researchers with academic interests in tropical terrestrial and marine environments is maintained. Because of Barbados' advantageous position as an oceanic island, the research interests of the Institute were historically directed towards the marine sciences. In recent years, however, interests have broadened to include a wide spectrum of disciplines in science and the humanities.


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