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  • Locations: Multiple Cities, Multiple Sites; Woods Hole, United States
  • Program Terms: Fall
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: SEA Semester 
  • Restrictions: Middlebury applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Other Program Options Program Sponsor: Externally-sponsored program
Other Program Option Type: Externally-sponsored Program Language of Instruction: English
Housing Type: University Residence Hall Advisor: Stacey Thebodo
Subjects Offered: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, History, International Studies
Program Description:
SEA Header 2018

Who Should Apply?

This hands-on coral reef study at sea program is ideal for students with an interest in conservation policy and/or marine ecosystems. Students will approach solutions to effective reef management in the context of history, policy, and science. We welcome students of all majors to apply.

Program Highlights

  • Develop and refine snorkel-based reef survey techniques
  • Conduct research at a field station in the Virgin Islands
  • Contribute to marine conservation policy efforts
  • Assess effectiveness of reef management strategies

Program Description

Thriving, successful island communities depend on healthy oceans – and healthy coral reefs. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Caribbean. Throughout history, reefs and their linked ecosystems have protected islands and provided food for growing human populations. Today, they also attract tourists and drive economic development.

But coral reefs face many threats, including overfishing, reduced water quality, and rising temperatures and lower pH caused by climate change. Effective solutions require an understanding of the economic, political, and cultural landscape, as well as ocean and climate science.

Through fieldwork in Woods Hole and the US Virgin Islands, followed by a research voyage at sea, students in this semester will study tropical marine ecosystems, their diverse marine life inhabitants, and the impact of human actions upon them. Through this lens, you’ll examine how local, academic, governmental, and international organizations and businesses are working together to conserve and sustainably manage Caribbean coral reef ecosystems.

Academic Coursework & Credit

SEA Semester: Caribbean Reef Expedition offers 18 credits from Boston University. Courses are as follows:

Leadership in a Dynamic Environment (300-level, 3 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Be an effective leader while leveraging the individual strengths of a team. Use leadership theory and case studies to understand how decisions affect outcomes. Participate as an active member of a ship’s crew, progressively assuming full leadership roles.

Marine Environmental History (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor.
Employ methods and sources of historians and social scientists. Examine the role of human societies in coastal and open ocean environmental change. Issues include resource conservation, overfishing, pollution, invasive species, and climate change.

Ocean Science & Public Policy (300-level, 3 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Culture, history, political systems and science can shape ocean policy. Practice current strategies to build, analyze, and communicate about diverse policy issues. Examine the power, use and limitations of science and the scientist's voice in determining ocean policy.

The Ocean & Global Change (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Ocean ecosystem change in the anthropocene: warming, acidification, fisheries depletion, and pollution. Review principles of circulation, seawater chemistry, nutrient dynamics, and biological production to understand causes and consequences of change. Conduct field measurements for contribution to time-series datasets.

Your Choice of Research Courses:

Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
Design and conduct original oceanographic research. Collect data and analyze samples. Compile results in peer-reviewed manuscript format and share during oral or poster presentation session. Emphasis on development of research skills and written/oral communication abilities.

-- OR --

Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Introduction to oceanographic research. Design a collaborative, hypothesis-driven project following the scientific process. Collect original data. Conduct analysis and interpretation, then prepare a written report and oral presentation.



Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall 2021 02/15/2021
03/20/2021 09/01/2021 12/31/2021
NOTE: These are not actual program dates: Do not purchase a plane ticket until official program dates are available directly from the program.

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.