Dalhousie-BIOS Sea Experience in Shipboard Oceanography

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, funded by the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund, allows students to fully participate in field methods and provides unparalleled insight into the logistics required to plan and execute a research cruise. The partnership between Dalhousie and BIOS provides Dalhousie graduate students with the opportunity to participate in an internship that includes a 5-day Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study (BATS) research cruise aboard R/V Atlantic Explorer.

The Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study

The focus of the BATS program is to continue to improve our understanding of the "time-varying" components of the ocean carbon cycle, related biogenic elements of interest (e.g., nitrogen, phosphorus, silica), and identifying the relevant physical, chemical, and ecosystem properties responsible for this variability. Initiated in October 1988, the BATS data record now spans 25 years, with over 300 monthly cruises, and can readily be examined for direct responses to natural modes of climate variability that oscillate with a 5-10 year frequency (e.g., North Atlantic Oscillation, or NAO, and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC). Further, at 25 years, we are at the threshold of understanding sustained and long-term impacts of climate change on the ocean ecosystem, though many important questions relating to biogeochemical paradigms still remain. For example: Why is there a discrepancy between biological and geochemical estimates of carbon export production? What supports the seasonal drawdown of carbon dioxide in the absence of detectable nutrients? What are the sources of the elevated nitrate to phosphate ratio in the seasonal thermocline? The BATS program continues to play an important role in providing scientists and students around the world with oceanographic data for both regional and global studies.

Dalhousie-BIOS Sea Experience in Shipboard Oceanography

The Dalhousie-BIOS Sea Experience in Shipboard Oceanography (SESO) internship will last 7-8 days, allowing for arrival in Bermuda, the 5-day BATS cruise, and up to 3 additional days of pre- and post-cruise activities. The BATS program can accommodate 2 students per cruise, and 6 cruises are available each year for student participation. Applicants should be aware that, in the (unlikely) event that an NSF-funded scientist provides short notice of the need to go on the next available BATS cruise, the student may be bumped to the next available cruise.

How to Apply

Dalhousie graduate students conducting thesis research in Oceanography, Ocean Sciences or Marine Biology are eligible to apply for a Sea Experience scholarship. Dalhousie students and their supervisors should:

  • Contact the Head of the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund Committee, Dr. Leanne Stevens (ADAScience@dal.ca), or the Dalhousie contact person for Sea Experience Internships, Dr. David Barclay (dbarclay@dal.ca) to determine funding availability. Two or three scholarships will be available each year
  • Contact Dr. Rod Johnson at BIOS (rod.johnson@bios.asu.edu) to determine cruise availability and to discuss the student's potential participation in the cruise
  • Submit an application for funding support to the Dalhouse-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund Committee at Dalhousie (Dean's Office). Applications should be submitted at least 4 months prior to the potential cruise date
  • After the cruise date has been confirmed and notification of funding has been received, the BIOS Education Department will send the student an information package via email. This package includes a number of forms which the student should complete and return via email (bios.education@bios.asu.edu) as soon as possible. If the student is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, the BIOS Education Department will assist the student in determining if any additional travel documents are required for their visit to Bermuda
  • The Dalhousie application form is available here


    The Dalhousie BIOS Sea Experience in Shipboard Oceanography costs $2,000, excluding travel and shipment of equipment. Shore-side accommodations and food are provided by BIOS for up to 3 days/nights surrounding the cruise. Applicants wanting longer shore-side stays should contact the BIOS Education Department for information on additional costs. The fee, along with the costs of shipping equipment to BIOS and travel, should be included in the student’s budget and submitted as part of the proposal. The budget will be reviewed, and scholarship funds awarded, by Dalhousie’s Experiential Learning Fund Committee.

    For more information contact the BIOS Education Department. The Dalhousie contact for Sea Experience scholarships is Dr. David Barclay. Click here for the Dalhousie application form.

    Program Contact

    Dr. Andrew Peters
    Director of Education for University Programs & Associate Scientist

    Tel: 441-297-1880 x240


    Dr. Rod Johnson
    Assistant Scientist

    Tel: 441-297-1880 x699


    Related Items

    Dalhousie University
    Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund