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, listed 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
June 28 - July 16, 2021
August 9 - 27, 2021
The overall aim of this course is to study how environment impacts reef benthic communities and the fundamental processes of photosynthesis 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. These complex and dynamic interactions between reef communities and their ever- changing environments comprise the topics covered by this course.
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, determining nutrient concentrations, and quantifying rates of primary production and calcification.
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. Some experience with scientific programming is beneficial for data analysis, although this is not mandatory. More information and an example schedule can be found here.
Course fee: $4,900 (tuition, room and board). Students can apply to BIOS for scholarships to assist with the course fee.
Marine Larval Ecology: Responses to a Changing Ocean Environment
July 5 - July 23, 2021
The larval developmental stages of many marine invertebrates are highly diverse in form, function, and life history, and effectively link benthic and pelagic ecosystems because they are the dispersive stage for many organisms, and can be particularly sensitive to environmental change. These environmental variables may include elevated ocean temperatures, increased ocean acidity, patchily distributed phytoplankton food, as well as exposure to pollutants like petroleum, heavy metals, and micro plastics. Larvae respond to stress exposure at molecular, physiological, and morphological levels. For many organisms, “normal” developmental patterns are not well known, let alone how development may vary in response to single or multiple interacting environmental stressors.
This course will examine the ecology, evolution, and development of marine invertebrate larvae, their roles as members of the meroplankton, and their responses to environmental stress at different biological scales. Students will gain hands-on experience collecting marine invertebrates from local habitats (mangrove, coral reef, pelagic open water) during boat and shore-based excursions. In the laboratory, students will learn to spawn adults, obtain and fertilize gametes, culture larvae, and conduct empirical studies of larval development under conditions of current and potential future environmental stress. Modern physiological, molecular, and microscopy-based methods will be used throughout the course. Lectures and laboratories will cover a broad range of topics and principles relevant to larval biology. More information and an example schedule can be found here.
This course is structured for upper level undergraduate and graduate students. Prerequisites include satisfactory standing in marine biology (or other relevant) courses. Snorkeling and diving opportunities will be available to those students having moderate swimming abilities and training. Course fee: $4,900 (includes tuition, room and board). Students can apply to BIOS for scholarships to assist with the course fee.
Application Instructions & Financial Aid Information
The Summer Course Application Form, along with complete instructions, can be found here. Please download the form to your computer (e.g., save it to your desktop), complete it, save it, and send it along with all supporting documents as listed on the application to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15 in order to receive full consideration. Letters of reference should be sent directly to the BIOS education email by referees. Late applications will be considered until the courses are full. Forms filled out in browser mode (i.e., in preview) may not save appropriately.
Partial scholarships are available for summer course fees. We do not award scholarships toward travel costs. To apply for a scholarship please fill out the appropriate section at the end of the application form and submit a statement of need along with the core application documents. All students accepted into a BIOS summer course are eligible to receive a partial scholarship from BIOS scholarship funding. Information on summer course scholarships, generally, as well as eligibility for specific scholarships, can be found on the scholarships page. Dalhousie 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 the deadline, more information and how to apply.
Please read the Course Payment Schedule & Refund Policy, as well as 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.
Monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The health and well-being of everyone involved in BIOS’s educational programs is our top priority.
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.