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.
Research Diving Methods
June 26 – July 14, 2023
Instructor: Kyla Smith (BIOS Dive Safety Officer)
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 include: navigation, search and recovery procedures, rescue diving, proper usage of lift bags 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 using a range of methods and equipment, such as: underwater 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, blue water diving to study planktonic communities, and marine archaeology. By the end of the course, participants will be trained to the standards defined by the American Academy of Underwater Sciences, of which BIOS is an organizational member. Future renewals will be subject to AAUS requirements. 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 skill sets 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 possessing underwater research training will enjoy a competitive advantage. The course syllabus and further information can be found here.
Prerequisites: Participants must already be SCUBA certified (minimum at the PADI Open Water Diver level, or internationally recognized equivalent). Per AAUS guidelines, participants are expected to provide all of their own equipment as well as proof of recent gear servicing (regulators and BCD) within the last 12 months prior to arrival at BIOS. To be permitted to dive at BIOS, students 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 information package (SDIP), including all such forms and supplemental information, will be provided after notification of acceptance on this course.
Tropical Marine Ecology
June 26 – July 14, 2023
Instructor: Dr. Samantha de Putron (BIOS)
The Tropical Marine Ecology (TME) course covers the ecology, physiology, and behavior of a wide variety of marine organisms in a series of tropical habitats. The course begins with an introduction to the tropical marine environment and life in the open ocean and then focuses on the dynamic and diverse coral reef, seagrass and mangrove habitats, as well as marine ponds and tropical rocky shores. Field work explores the Bermuda platform, our ‘natural laboratory’, with easy access to all these habitats that are within close proximity of each other. The biology and ecology of the dominant inhabitants are examined, with a focus on invertebrates and fish communities, as well as their interactions, trophic levels and energy transfer within and between these habitats. Marine ecological principals are taught combining lectures and discussions with hands-on surveys and laboratory experiments. The essential services provided by these marine environments and their inhabitants are discussed, as well as threats and conservation biology.
This is an intensive course including lectures, readings, discussions, extensive field work and laboratory exercises. The laboratory and field work provide experience in commonly used marine ecological sampling and analysis techniques and equipment. The class data are synthesized into group presentations to provide experience in communicating science. The course syllabus and further information can be found here.
Prerequisites: University Introductory-level Biology and Ecology. The course will require boat work and the ability to work comfortably in the water with a mask and snorkel.
Coral Reef Ecology: Functional Ecology of Coral Reefs
July 17 – August 4, 2023
Instructor: Dr. Eric Hochberg (BIOS)
The overall aim of this Coral Reef Ecology (CRE) course is to study how environment impacts reef benthic communities and the fundamental processes of reef metabolism. 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 - a semester of material condensed into three weeks. 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 and respiration using traditional and advanced approaches. The course syllabus and further information can be found here.
Prerequisites: University-level biology and ecology; marine science and oceanography 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* (minimum at the PADI Open Water Diver level, or internationally recognized equivalent) will be able to undertake fieldwork underwater and learn scientific diving skills.
* To be permitted to dive at BIOS, students 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 information package (SDIP), including all such forms and supplemental information, will be provided after notification of acceptance on this course.
Application Instructions & Scholarship Information
The Summer Course application form is available here. The deadline for receipt of completed applications and required supporting documents is April 30. All complete applications received by the closing date will be considered in the first round of admissions and scholarship allocations. Late applications will be considered until the courses are full.
Summer course fees are $5,000 (which includes 3-weeks of tuition, campus accommodation and meals).
Partial scholarships are available to all applicants 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.
All U.K. students (U.K. citizens and non-U.K. students attending a U.K. university/college) will automatically be considered for a U.K. Associates of BIOS scholarship. All Canadian students are likewise eligible for scholarship support from the Canadian Associates of BIOS.
Dalhousie University students may apply for scholarships to attend BIOS summer courses through the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund; please contact the Head of the Dalhousie-BIOS Experiential Learning Fund Committee, Dr. Leanne Stevens (ADAScience@dal.ca), 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.
“The course itself was exceptional and exceeded all of my expectations. The course was a perfect balance of lectures, lab work, and field work, and the instructors created a wonderful learning space, encouraging students to take charge while still providing guidance and expertise. Overall, this was a once in a life-time opportunity and one I will never forget.” Mackenzie Jones, Fleming College, 2022
“The experience has been widely enriching and very helpful to advance my career as a marine scientist.” Jonathan Jung, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, 2022
“The CRE course at BIOS was one of the most rewarding and interesting programs I have been a part of. The course content was engaging, and getting hands-on experience using the equipment I would be expected to use if pursuing a job in this field has really given me an advantage.” James Sneddon, University of Edinburgh, 2022
Dr. Andrew Peters
Director of Education for University Programs & Associate Scientist
Tel: 441-297-1880 x240
Summer Course Application Form
Research Diving Methods Further Information
Tropical Marine Ecology Further Information
Coral Reef Ecology Further Information
Course Dates and Academic Credit