Fourty UNC-Chapel Hill students got first-hand experience in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet – coral reefs. As part of their Coral Reef and Ecology and Management (ENEC 259) course, students learned about basic reef ecology, threats to coral reefs and how various organizations and government entities manage and protect coral reefs for future generations. The course culminated in a week-long trip to the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands where students experienced reef ecology first-hand. They snorkeled in a variety of reef-related ecosystems, including patch reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves, and learned how to identify fish, coral and underwater creatures commonly found on Caribbean reefs. The trip is co-led by IE’s Associate Director for Education Greg Gangi and Lecturer Brian Naess.