Summer Courses at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)
March 4, 2021
St George's, Bermuda
Job Type
Closing date
15th May 2021


Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences offers a suite of summer 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. Our courses provide high quality experiential learning opportunities to university students from around the world engage them directly with scientists at our world-class research institute.

Students of all nationalities are eligible to apply for scholarships towards course fees which include tuition, accommodation and meals (we do not award scholarships towards travel expenses, visas or medical/travel insurance). Students may obtain academic credit for these courses, pending approval from their home institution.

Course Cost: US$4,900 (includes tuition, campus accommodation and all meals)

How to Apply: Application form and scholarship information are available on the summer courses web page


Instructors: Dr. Justin McAlister (College of the Holy Cross) and Dr. Scott Santagata (Long Island University - Post)

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, which is structured for upper level undergraduate and graduate students, 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.


Instructors: Dr. Eric Hochberg (BIOS) and Dr. Yvonne Sawall (BIOS)

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: building underwater photomosaics, measuring current profiles, characterizing the underwater light field, determining nutrient concentrations, and quantifying rates of primary production and calcification.

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