A Summer of Study in Bermuda

Participants in the Coral Reef Ecology course at BIOS in 2019 learned about transects, used for taking measurements or making observations. Applications for the 2021 summer courses are due May 15.

This summer, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) is offering courses in coral reef ecology and marine larval ecology, with applications due May 15. These three-week-long courses provide opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience using state-of-the-art research methods while studying Bermuda’s unique marine ecosystems.

Courses at BIOS offer access to a diverse array of subtropical marine habitats and are taught in engaging formats that integrate lectures, fieldwork, and laboratory exercises.

Coral Reef Ecology: Functional Ecology of Coral Reefs will be held June 28 to July 16 and August 9 to 27 with instruction by BIOS faculty members Eric Hochberg and Yvonne Sawall. This course will focus on how the environment affects reef benthic communities and the fundamental processes of photosynthesis and calcification.

Students will gain a solid understanding of coral reef ecology and functional processes by using instrumentation and techniques for collecting and analyzing reef community and environmental data. These will include building underwater photo-mosaics, measuring current profiles, characterizing the underwater light field, determining nutrient concentrations, and quantifying rates of primary production and calcification.

“What impressed me the most was the attitude of the teaching team, not only those on the coral reef course but indeed it was a common atmosphere throughout BIOS, that everyone was willing to take the time to talk to you and help you,” said Helen Ford, a Bangor University student who attended the coral reef ecology course in 2019.

During a past Marine Larval Ecology course, students examined the developmental stages of many marine invertebrates, as well as their ecology and evolution. Students gained hands-on experience collecting marine invertebrates from local habitats, such as mangroves, coral reefs, and pelagic open water, during boat and shore-based excursions.

Marine Larval Ecology: Responses to a Changing Ocean Environment will be offered July 5 to 23 and will be led by instructors Justin McAlister of College of the Holy Cross and Scott Santagata of Long Island University-Post.

The course will examine the ecology, evolution, and development of marine invertebrate larvae, their roles as part of the meroplankton, and their responses to environmental stressors at different biological scales. Modern physiological, molecular, and microscopy-based methods will be used throughout the course. Students will also gain experience collecting various marine invertebrates from local habitats during boat and shore-based excursions.

“I was surrounded by students and scientists interested in marine biology and oceanography and was able to learn techniques to further my research,” said Leigh Fletcher, a Johns Hopkins University student who participated in a 2019 summer course at BIOS. “I hoped to learn about the connection between plankton and the broader marine food web and what that means for reef and offshore ocean conservation and restoration. I did achieve my goal.”

Students of all nationalities may apply to BIOS for scholarships to assist with course fees, which include tuition, accommodation and meals. Students may obtain academic credit for these courses, subject to approval from their home institution.

Course descriptions, prerequisites, example schedules, and application instructions are available here: /education/summer-courses

Course logistics for participants in the Coral Reef Ecology course include readings, lectures, discussions, presentations, and extensive laboratory and field work.