[Coral-List] Fall/Winter Semester Program in the Caribbean 2013

CCMI manager at reefresearch.org
Fri Oct 5 17:53:55 EDT 2012

Fall/Winter Semester Program in the Caribbean

Global Change and Coral Reef Stress

Little Cayman Island, Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI)

About the program

One of the most significant issues today revolves around the effects that global climate change will have on our world.  This program is a semester-long opportunity for undergraduate students in the sciences and in liberal arts to earn 15 credits in the sciences while also gaining internship and field research experience.  Students will be engaged in the ongoing climate- related research at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute’s field station in Little Cayman. The field station has recently been awarded a major grant from the National Science Foundation to build a brand new wet laboratory facility to “Enhance the Capacity for Climate Change Research” and students in the program will have the opportunity to work both in the field and in the laboratory during their semester internship.

HIGHLIGHTS for the students.

n  Earn 15 college credits and learn about a topic that is of the highest relevance to science and society

n  Applied Field and Laboratory Experience

n  Have an Internship at a field station under the mentorship of the faculty

n  Gain experience in the maintenance, calibration, and use of NOAA instruments

n  Get advanced SCUBA experience and certifications

n  Topics for learning and research include Climate Change including Ocean Acidification and Coral Bleaching, Marine Invasions including Lionfish, Ecological Interactions between major species, EDGE species research, Marine Protected Area and Conservation.


Program Details

Location:              Little Cayman Research Centre, North Coast Road, Little Cayman, Cayman Islands
Language:            English
Program Dates:                  Fall 2013:   Sept 9 – Dec 13
Pre-Trip Reading and Assignments, Equipment Preparations (Sept 9 – 29)
Field component (Sept 30 – Dec 6)
Post-trip Final Papers (Dec 7- 13)  
Deadline:             March 1, 2013.  Early submissions are encouraged. 
Late submissions may be considered based on space availability.
Program Cost:   $12,000  US (includes all field expenses, dorm-style accommodations, board, on-island transportation, field trips).  Excludes airfare to/from Little Cayman, DAN insurance for scuba divers and transcript fees (if needed).  Student travel/health insurance is also required.  Students wanting a transcripts from Kean University will pay an addition fee of $300.
Prerequisites:   One semester of college-level earth science, biology, or ecology. 
18 years of age. 
Comfortable in ocean and outdoor settings.
Credits:                  15 credits
Curriculum:         Global Change and the Ocean (3 credits)
                                    Marine Resource Management (4 credits)
                                    Field Methods & Directed-Independent Research (4 credits)
                                    Research Internship (2 credits)
                                    Scuba for Researchers (2 credits)
About The Little Cayman Research Centre

This semester-long study abroad program is for students who are interested in the adventure of remote island living and in advancing their knowledge of how global climate change is impacting our coral reef ecosystems. 

Research at the Little Cayman Research Centre (LCRC) includes an active program examining climate change and the associated stresses to coral reef ecosystems.  Little Cayman is a  small- 10 mile long island with a population of ~200 people, which allows a unique opportunity to study marine and coastal habitats that are minimally exposed to anthropogenic impacts.  Surrounding habitats for study include seagrass beds, hard bottom communities and some of the most spectacular coral reefs and walls in the Caribbean. 

CCMI has partnered with NOAA Research in a Coral Reef Early Warning System – CREWS pylon which is located adjacent to the field station, within the Bloody Bay Marine Park.  Instruments have been continually collecting a broad range of local atmospheric and oceanic conditions, including temperature, photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), ultraviolet radiation (UVR), wind speed and direction, salinity, barometric pressure, currents, and dissolved oxygen levels.

The new Climate Change and Coral Reef Stress Wet Lab, funded by the National Science Foundation, is designed to help study the variable responses to ocean acidification across habitats and by different calcifying organisms. The facilities and ongoing research at LCRC make Little Cayman an ideal learning environment. 

The facility is a fully equipment field station with staff offices, classroom, student living quarters, 6 wet/dry labs, including the new Coral Reef Stress Wet Lab pavilion (Jan 2103), a fully-equipped scuba equipment shack and dive operation, and an off-the-grid environmentally sustainable bath house.  LCRC has three boats for scuba and research activities around the island.  LCRC is directly on the ocean’s edge within the boundaries of the Bloody Bay Marine Protected Area.
Student Preparation, Logistics, and Day to Day Operation

Because we are remote, it is important to come into the field prepared and with appropriate expectations.  LCRC is an excellent facility, but it is a field station and NOT a resort. You will be involved in the day-to-day upkeep and care of the field site. We will spend most of each day outdoors and will be in the ocean frequently.  We are in the tropics so the weather may be hot – the only air conditioning is in the climate controlled labs -- and there will be bugs and critters (mosquitoes, sand fleas, spiders, crabs, lizards, iguanas, etc).  We sometimes need to adjust field work schedules due to inclement weather.  The mail is very slow but the main facility has wireless internet access so you can stay in touch with friends and family quite easily.

All meals are served in the dining area.  A continental-style breakfast is provided every morning.  Lunch and dinner are served buffet-style.  If you are a vegetarian or have food allergies, please let the station manager know in advance of your arrival and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.  However, as this is a remote location, certain special requirements such as vegan, kosher, or halal may significantly limit the food options available to you.  Our food supply arrives once per week by barge and special orders are not possible.  You may bring non-perishable snacks or food supplements with you.  We will make periodic trips to the general store, but items can be expensive so you should bring whatever you need for the duration of your stay with you.  We will provide participants with a detailed list of recommended items to bring.

We love our little island and want to keep it in as pristine health as possible.  We ask that you pack-out whatever plastics and batteries that you pack-in as the island’s waste disposal facilities are limited.  We also suggest that you bring eco-friendly personal care products with you, especially anything that will go down the drains or be disposed of as solid waste. 

Program Courses

Global Change and the Ocean (3 credits)
This course investigates the ocean’s role in regulating climate and the interaction between the ocean, global change, and society.  Students examine oceanographic records of change which illustrate the natural variability of ocean circulation, sea-level, ocean acidification, organism migrations, invasions and mass extinctions through geologic time.  Students visit Little Cayman’s Ironshore Formation, which are fossilized coral reefs from 125kya when sea level was 6m higher than it is today.  Other topics of discussion include evidence of anthropogenic forcing, future predictions, and potential solutions for society. 
Marine Resource Management (4 credits)

This course is designed to examine the science and politics involved in protecting the world’s ocean’s resources and the role of marine protected areas (MPAs) in conserving living marine resources.  Students learn how a healthy ocean system is an economic and societal concern.  Topics of discussion include the rapidly developing science, rationale, and controversies surrounding MPAs; fisheries management; ecosystem-based management strategies; and the collective societal impacts of protection.  Students assess the effectiveness of the Little Cayman MPAs as well as other MPAs around the world.

Field Methods & Directed-Independent Research (4 credits)
This course teaches students the theoretical and practical methods required to conduct independent research projects under the guidance of CCMI faculty and scientists.  Classroom content includes the scientific method, experimental design, quantitative data analysis, and scientific writing. Students learn hands-on techniques to identify marine and coastal organisms (e.g. fishes, corals, invertebrates, seagrasses, macroalgae, mangroves); conduct underwater surveys; process ocean water samples, and conduct environmental data analyses.  Students will be responsible for a research project from start to finish – hypothesis development, project planning and logistics, training classmates on data collection methods, data analysis and interpretation, oral poster presentations, and written research papers.  Final products include posters, abstracts and papers which could ideally be submitted to scientific conferences or symposiums.
Past student groups have conducted research in the following areas:
·       Ocean acidification effects on the growth rates of Porites divaricata
·       Prevalence of Trididemnum solida, a competitor to corals for space and resources
·       Marine debris impacts around Little Cayman Island
·       Coral health surveys on disease, bleaching and growth anomalies
·       Lionfish sexual dimorphism
·       Potential habitat sites for juvenile Nasaau Grouper
·       Acropora palmata and A. cervicornis surveys as indicators of reef regeneration
·       Long term monitoring of commercially important island fisheries - lobster, conch and whelks
Research Internship (2 credits)
This course allows students the opportunity to intern with the CCMI scientists who are conducting important research related to global climate change and coral reef stress.  Ongoing projects include Ocean Acidification; Reef Restoration; Long Term Monitoring of Corals, Mangroves, Seagrass Communities and Their Inhabitants; Invasive Species (e.g. Lionfish); Threatened and Endangered Species (e.g. Nassau Grouper, Acropora corals); and Island and Field Station Sustainability.  Interns will assist with building equipment, deploying scientific instruments, collecting field data, taking underwater photos and videos, processing data, and other project-specific tasks. 
Scuba for Researchers (2 credits)
 Some of the most important work on global climate change and coral reef stress is conducted underwater.  In this course, students will develop the scuba skills required for effective research.   Students will become proficient in buoyancy control, underwater navigation, diving from boats and shore, night diving, and deep diving (to 100 ft/30 m).   Classroom topics will include the effects of diving on human physiology, dive planning using tables and computers, diving equipment, safe diving practices and emergency response.  Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Oxygen First Aid and First Aid for Marine Life Injuries certifications may be earned in this class. 

For additional information: kfoster at reefresearch.org

To Register complete our online-registration form: http://reefresearch.org

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