Dalhousie and BIOS Announce New Collaborative Program

A scientist watches the CTD rosette submerge off the back deck of the research vessel Atlantic Explorer

After years of collaborating on a variety of education programs, Dalhousie University and BIOS have taken a significant step in formalizing and expanding their partnership: the launch of new opportunities through the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund. This fund, established in 2011, was designed to strengthen ties between these two leading ocean research institutions and create a continual flow of students from Dalhousie to BIOS. While many Dalhousie students have taken classes or conducted internships at BIOS over the years, there was no formal program supported by the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund…until now.

As of this year, the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund will be used to support two education opportunities for Dalhousie students at BIOS:

  • The newly created Sea Experience in Shipboard Oceanography (SESO) internship will provide Dalhousie graduate students with the opportunity to participate in a 5-day Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) research cruise aboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer. For aspiring oceanographers, experience aboard a working research vessel offers a foundation in the more practical aspects of conducting science at sea. This shipboard experience allows students to fully participate in field methods and provides unparalleled insight into the logistics required to plan and execute a research cruise. The internships last 7-8 days, allowing for the 5-day BATS cruise, and up to 3 additional days of pre- and post-cruise activities.
  • Summer courses at BIOS will provide Dalhousie undergraduate students in Marine Biology or Oceanography with hands-on learning experiences to complement their regular courses of study. The Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund will provide a limited number of scholarships for students interested in expanding their educational experience to include topics in tropical marine science. Each course comprises lectures, laboratory exercises, and field components to help students build upon what is learned in the classroom. Through the BIOS summer courses, Dalhousie students have the opportunity to study topics in marine science that are not offered within the standard Dalhousie curriculum, as well as the chance to explore coastal and open ocean tropical environments unlike any they would experience on Canada’s Atlantic coast.

Dr. Penelope Barnes, BIOS Education Director for University Programs said, “The Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund has enabled the two institutions to work closely together to design an internship, providing experience aboard BIOS’s research vessel, Atlantic Explorer, that meets the specific needs of Dalhousie graduate students in oceanography.  Furthermore, Dalhousie undergraduates will have increased opportunities to take marine science courses, taught by BIOS faculty, that will not only provide them with experience in a tropical environment but also earn them academic credit.  The partnership between BIOS and Dalhousie provides a very successful model for additional BIOS-university partnerships in the future.”

Sandra Walde, Associate Dean Academic, Faculty of Science, and Professor in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University, said of the new programs, “I believe the programs are going to be really popular. SESO provides an opportunity for Oceanography graduate students to gain valuable shipboard experience, and the summer courses provide a great opportunity for undergraduate students to gain field experience in the tropics. Needless to say, the students are ecstatic.”