Summer Courses at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)
February 24, 2020
St George's, Bermuda
Job Type
Closing date
30th April 2020


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 Dates: June 24 - July 14
Instructors: Dr. Rod Johnson (BIOS), Ruth Curry (BIOS), Dr. Maureen Conte (BIOS and MBL), Dr. Damian Grundle (BIOS), Dr. Amy Maas (BIOS)

Modern oceanography combines increasingly large and diverse datasets to further our understanding of biogeochemical and physical processes in the marine environment. How are these data obtained and used?

The aim of this course is to provide students with a broad introduction to and practical experience in the field of observational oceanography utilizing a variety of state-of-the-art technologies and methods.

During the 3-week course, a combination of lectures, laboratory training and fieldwork will introduce students to current research questions and observational methods used to investigate them. Themes will include carbon and nutrient cycling and the processes that affect biological production in the ocean, ocean-atmosphere interactions, and the spatial/temporal scales of physical ocean processes. Students will develop a practical understanding of both the science topics and techniques used to study them through participation in a range of activities, including: a 2-day research cruise aboard the UNOLS vessel R/V Atlantic Explorer, working with Oceanic Flux Program sediment trap data, piloting autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) deployed offshore of Bermuda in conjunction with zooplankton tows, and learning about ocean observations collected by the commercial container vessel Oleander.

Throughout the course, students will work with real data sets, participate in round-table discussions, give presentations and produce a short report – all of which will provide opportunities for hands-on learning and a basis for evaluating student progress and performance.


Course Dates: June 29 – July 17

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 unique to organisms that effectively link benthic ecosystems with pelagic ecosystems. Larvae are highly diverse in form, function, and life histories and can be particularly sensitive to various kinds of environmental stressors. Developmental plasticity can occur at both molecular and morphological levels in response to natural and anthropogenic stressors such as elevated ocean temperatures, increased ocean acidity, and patchily distributed phytoplankton food resources, as well as from exposure to pollutants like petroleum, heavy metals, and microplastics. 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 part of the meroplankton, and their responses to environmental stressors at multiple biological scales. Students will gain hands-on experience collecting various marine invertebrates from local habitats (mangrove, coral reef, pelagic open water) during boat and shore-based excursions. In the laboratory, the focus of the course will be on learning 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 and developmental plasticity.


Course Dates: August 3 - 21

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.

Application Closing Date (for all courses): April 30, 2020

Location: Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences

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

Contact email:

Application Instructions: Application form and scholarship information are available on the summer course webpage

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