Study Coral Reefs or Research Diving Methods in Bermuda

This summer BIOS will offer two sessions of the popular Coral Reef Ecology course and, new this year, a course on Research Diving Methods. These intensive programs provide participants with an opportunity to gain hands-on experience using state-of-the-art research methods while studying Bermuda's unique marine ecosystems.

BIOS offers participants access to a diverse array of subtropical marine habitats through fieldwork, as well as through faculty and staff lectures and laboratory exercises.

“BIOS summer courses typically attract a vibrant international cohort of participants from varied backgrounds and disciplines, which adds to the richness of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences,” said Audrey Pope, the University Programs internship coordinator at BIOS.

Research Diving Methods (June 13 to July 1) will be led by BIOS dive safety officer Kyla Smith and BIOS marine ecologist Samantha de Putron. Participants will learn the fundamentals of scientific diving, both theoretical and practical. Underwater research techniques will include navigation, search and recovery procedures, rescue diving, and mapping.

During open water field work, participants will practice data acquisition at coral communities using a range of methods and equipment, such as underwater videography and photography. They will monitor coral condition to measure coral bleaching and disease, conduct coral recruitment surveys, count reef fish, survey seagrass, learn common coral restoration techniques, and study planktonic communities.

Attendees of this course must be SCUBA certified. The program is geared for diving enthusiasts who are looking to expand their experiences and qualifications while becoming immersed in marine science.

By the end of the course, participants will be qualified science divers, as defined by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences. Students can also elect into further specialist PADI qualifications, such as Advanced Open Water and Rescue Diver.

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Coral Reef Ecology: Functional Ecology of Coral Reefs (two identical courses available July 4 to 22 or August 8 to 26) will be led by BIOS reef systems ecologist Eric Hochberg and marine benthic ecologist Yvonne Sawall. This course will focus on how the environment influences reef benthic communities and the fundamental processes of coral photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification.

Participants will receive training in the measurement and interpretation of reef processes and environmental parameters to help them understand how global change will impact this baseline of reef function and how reef communities may adapt. Students will gain an understanding of coral reef ecology and reef functional processes along with hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation and techniques for collecting and analyzing reef community and environmental data.

These will include recording underwater photomosaics, measuring water current profiles, characterizing the underwater light field and water quality, and quantifying rates of primary production, respiration, and calcification using traditional and advanced approaches.

This intensive program is aimed at upper-level undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral students.

Partial scholarships are available to assist with course fees, which include three weeks of tuition, campus accommodation, and meals. Scholarship funds do not cover travel-related expenses or medical/travel insurance.

Applications for all courses are due April 30. For application instructions, syllabi, prerequisites, and further information, visit