Each summer, 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.
Coral Reef Ecology: Functional Ecology of Coral Reefs
July 4 - 22, 2022
August 8 - 26, 2022
The overall aim of this course is to study how the environment influences reef benthic communities and the fundamental processes of photosynthesis, respiration, and calcification. 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, aimed at upper-level undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs. 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, respiration, and calcification using traditional and advanced approaches.
Prerequisites include satisfactory standing in university-level biology and ecology; introductory marine science and oceanography is desirable. The course will require boat work and the ability to work comfortably in the water with a mask and snorkel. Those who are SCUBA certified will be able to undertake fieldwork underwater and learn scientific diving skills. The course syllabus and further information can be found here. An example of the course schedule can be found here.
Research Diving Methods
June 13 - July 1, 2022
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 imparted include: navigation, search and recovery procedures, rescue diving 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 whilst underwater using a range of methods and equipment, such as: underwater video and photographic 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, and blue water diving to study planktonic communities. By the end of the course, participants will be qualified Science Divers, as defined by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, of which BIOS is an organizational member. 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 qualifications whilst being immersed in marine science. In addition, given the usefulness and increasingly common employment of SCUBA as a research tool for marine science, students, graduate students and professionals possessing underwater research qualifications will enjoy a competitive advantage.
Participants must already be SCUBA certified at the PADI Open Water Diver level (or internationally recognized equivalent) prior to arriving at BIOS. In order to be permitted to dive at BIOS you must complete, and return to the Dive Safety Officer, various forms and meet certain medical safety standards which will require physical examination from a health practitioner. The student dive package, including all such forms and supplemental information, can be downloaded from the BIOS website. The course syllabus and further information can be found here.An example of the course schedule can be found here.
Application Instructions & Financial Aid Information
The Summer Course application form is available here. The deadline for receipt of completed applications and required supporting documents is April 30. Late applications will be considered until the courses are full.
Summer course fees are $4,900 (which include 3-weeks of tuition, campus accommodation and meals). Partial scholarships are available 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.
Dalhousie University students may apply for scholarships to attend BIOS summer courses through the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund; please refer to the Dalhousie-BIOS Application for Undergraduate Scholarships for further information and application instructions.
Please read the note about Course Dates and Academic Credit before making your travel plans. Foreign nationals traveling to Bermuda do not require an entry visa. However, proof of residency or a valid Multi Re-Entry Visa for the U.S.A., U.K., or Canada may be required for non-U.S./U.K./Canadian citizens, depending upon your country of origin. Please review Immigration Information to check the Bermuda Department of Immigration requests.
Please note that BIOS may cancel a summer course if there is insufficient enrollment.
“It was an incredible experience. I am so grateful to have received the opportunity to attend the CRE course at BIOS. It was inspirational to be surrounded by like-minded and talented peers as well as distinguished researchers.” Nicole Burt, University of Southampton, 2021.
“The CRE course at BIOS was an invaluable experience, in not only academic and career oriented terms, but also life experience. It provided a potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for gaining field experience with coral reef ecosystems, and was vastly enlightening on the topic. This is all facilitated by the extremely knowledgeable and supportive faculty at BIOS.” Adam Hopper, University at Buffalo, 2021.
“This course gave me so much confidence in my own ability - I developed confidence in the lab and assurance that I could learn new techniques and be independent. Going forward I am more keen than ever to continue this journey.” Annalise Spahr, University of Liverpool, 2021.
Monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The health and well-being of everyone involved in BIOS’s educational programs is our top priority. Due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, only fully vaccinated students are able to participate in BIOS programs.
If you have questions that relate to the coronavirus disease as it concerns your plans for studying at BIOS, including application deadlines, the potential for cancellations, rescheduling, and refunding, please contact the Education Department.