Applications for 2024 Summer Courses are now open, apply here.
Each summer, ASU BIOS offers a suite of courses for both undergraduate and graduate students that capitalize upon the expertise of our faculty and visiting scientists. These courses, outlined below, provide many students the opportunity to study topics in marine science that might not be offered within the curricula of their home institutions. Each course comprises lectures, laboratory exercises, and complementary field components that build upon what is learned in the classroom.
The Research Diving Methods (RDM) course aims to familiarize participants with the fundamentals of scientific diving, both theoretical and practical. Research methods and practices are taught in class and then subsequently rehearsed on SCUBA during open-water sessions in the field. Underwater research techniques include: navigation, search and recovery procedures, rescue diving, proper usage of lift bags and mapping techniques. A series of introductory science lectures provide the basic understanding of why and how marine scientists study communities using SCUBA. These lectures are integrated with field work to practice data acquisition using a range of methods and equipment, such as: underwater surveys to measure coral communities, coral condition monitoring to measure coral bleaching and disease, coral recruitment surveys, reef fish counts, seagrass surveys, common restoration techniques and underwater cementing, blue water diving to study planktonic communities, and marine archaeology. By the end of the course, participants will be trained to the standards defined by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, of which ASU BIOS is an organizational member. Future renewals will be subject to AAUS requirements. During the course, participants will also have the option to elect into further specialist PADI qualifications, such as Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver.
This course is aimed at all SCUBA enthusiasts who are looking to expand their experiences and skill sets whilst being immersed in marine science. In addition, given the usefulness and increasingly common employment of SCUBA as a research tool for marine science, undergraduate students possessing underwater research training will enjoy a competitive advantage. The course syllabus and further information can be found here.
Prerequisites: Participants must already be SCUBA certified (minimum at the PADI Open Water Diver level, or internationally recognized equivalent). A minimum of 12 dives, including at least one dive in the six months prior to the course, is highly recommended. Per AAUS guidelines, participants are expected to provide all of their own equipment as well as proof of recent gear servicing (regulators and BCD) within the 12 months prior to the course. To be permitted to dive at ASU BIOS, you must complete, and return to the Dive Safety Officer, various forms and meet certain medical safety standards, which will require a physical examination from a health practitioner prior to arrival in Bermuda. The student dive information package (SDIP), including all such forms and supplemental information, will be provided after notification of acceptance to the course.
Coral Reef Ecology: Functional Ecology of Coral Reefs
July 15 – August 2, 2024
Instructor: Dr. Eric Hochberg (ASU BIOS)
The overall aim of this Coral Reef Ecology (CRE) course is to study how environment impacts reef benthic communities and the fundamental processes of reef metabolism. Production of organic and inorganic carbon underpins growth and maintenance of the reef ecosystem. These processes are strongly influenced by environmental parameters including water chemistry, hydrodynamics, light availability/capture, and temperature, as well as the taxonomic composition of the community itself. Reef geomorphological and ecological zonation demonstrates that benthic communities have adapted to (and influence) their prevailing environmental conditions. At the same time, conditions are never static, and communities must acclimate to short- and long-term changes in their environment. A vitally important question is how global change will impact this baseline of reef function. This course provides fundamental background in reef functional ecology, as well as training in the measurement and interpretation of reef processes and environmental parameters.
This is an intensive course—a semester of material condensed into three weeks. Course logistics include readings, lectures, discussions, presentations, and extensive laboratory and field work. Next to gaining a solid understanding of coral reef ecology and reef functional processes, students gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques for collecting and analyzing reef community and environmental data, including building underwater photomosaics, measuring current profiles, characterizing the underwater light field, characterizing water quality, and quantifying rates of primary production and respiration using traditional and advanced approaches.The course syllabus and further information can be found here.
- University-level biology and ecology; marine science and oceanography desirable.
- The course will require boat work and the ability to work comfortably in the water with a mask and snorkel. SCUBA certification is highly recommended, as those who are SCUBA certified* (minimum at the PADI Open Water Diver level, or internationally recognized equivalent) will be able to undertake fieldwork underwater and learn scientific diving skills.
* To be permitted to dive at ASU BIOS, course participants must complete and return to the Dive Safety Officer, various forms and meet certain health safety standards, which will require a physical examination from a health practitioner prior to arrival in Bermuda. The student dive information package (SDIP), including all such forms and supplemental information, will be provided after notification of acceptance to the course. A minimum of 12 dives, including at least one dive in the six months prior to the course, is highly recommended.
Application Instructions & Scholarship Information
The Summer Course application form is available here. The deadline for receipt of completed applications and required supporting documents is April 30. All complete applications received by the closing date will be considered in the first round of admissions and scholarship allocations. Late applications will be considered until the courses are full.
Summer course fees are $5,000 (which includes 3-weeks of tuition, campus accommodation and meals).
Partial scholarships are available to all applicants to assist with course fees. Scholarship funds do not cover travel expenses or medical/travel insurance. To apply for a scholarship please fill out the appropriate sections of the application form, including your statement of need. Please note that full scholarships are only awarded in exceptional circumstances, with preference given to students from low- and middle-income countries.
All U.K. students (U.K. citizens and non-U.K. students attending a U.K. university/college) who apply for financial support will be considered for U.K. Associates of BIOS summer course scholarship assistance. All Canadian students are likewise eligible for scholarship support from the Canadian Associates of BIOS.
Dalhousie University students may apply for scholarships to attend BIOS summer courses through the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund; please contact the Head of the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund Committee, Dr. Leanne Stevens (ADAScience@dal.ca), for further information and application instructions.
Please refer to the Summer Course FAQs for answers to common questions prior to contacting us. Please note that ASU BIOS may cancel a summer course if there is insufficient enrollment.
Course Dates, Travel and Insurance
Advertised course dates are the first and last days of the course, which begin on a Monday and end on a Friday. Participants should plan to arrive the day before the course starts and depart on the day after the course ends. Participants who need to arrive or depart outside of the course dates should contact our Accommodation Manager (Jane Burrows, firstname.lastname@example.org) to enquire about the availability and pricing of accommodation. Space, if available, will be allocated on a first come first serve basis and will be at the participant’s expense. Reservations must be confirmed prior to flight purchase. Please note that the type and location of accommodation available for additional nights may be different from that provided during the course.
All visitors to Bermuda must have a return (outgoing) ticket, proof of which may be requested by immigration officials upon arrival at the airport. All visitors must also possess a passport valid for at least 45 days after their planned date of departure from Bermuda.
Foreign nationals travelling to Bermuda do not require an entry visa. However, proof of residency or a valid transit/multi re-Entry visa (MRV) for the U.S., U.K., or Canada may be required for non-U.S./U.K./Canadian citizens, depending upon your country of citizenship. If required, participants, must be in possession of this upon arrival. Please review Immigration Information to check Bermuda Department of Immigration requirements prior to purchasing flight tickets.
Medical and travel insurance are not covered by BIOS - medical insurance is required for the duration of your stay and is the sole responsibility of the participant. All those visiting ASU BIOS must ensure that they have (or can obtain) sufficient insurance to cover any potential emergency medical costs while in Bermuda.
“My experience at BIOS has been pivotal in reaffirming my passion for ocean research and diving, solidifying my determination to pursue these fields further. The comprehensive and hands-on nature of the program provided me with a profound understanding of the intricacies involved in marine exploration.” Luca Bucknall, 2023
“I met so many amazing like-minded people, inspiring me to continue working in marine biology. The course was both challenging and enjoyable, making me even more passionate about marine life. I have made lots of connections and life-long friends which has opened up multiple opportunities for me in the future." Mia Hoejbjerg, 2023
“While studying tropical marine ecology at BIOS, I was immersed in an astonishing amount of research, learning and skill development over the three weeks, the quality of which far exceeded my already high expectations. As a whole, the course provided me with an invaluable, deeper understanding of my chosen field of interest.” Amber Hutchinson, 2023
“The entire BIOS experience has, without question, made me a better marine scientist." Anwen Jones, 2023