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For 2021, this course will be offered through Study Abroad in May

Time: TBD

Place: TBD


This is a one-hour class that is a combination of lecture, reading of primary material and experiential learning. The course will explore key physical and chemical characteristics of the coral reef environment, topics in coral reef ecology, and strategies available for protecting and managing the reef environment. The course will also familiarize students with the identification of the principal corals and fishes found in the Caribbean.

Starting in the Spring of 2013, the students began to put together a comprehensive Wiki-based resource about coral reefs at It is a work in progress, but is now used as the class textbook. It is also our hope that the general public will find it to be a useful resource.

The Institute for the Environment (IE) places a strong emphasis on field-based learning. We run a number of semester-long field site programs, so this is intended at one level to be an introduction to field based learning and we hope students will consider engaging in further such experiences in the future.

Finally, we find it important to nurture a strong sense of community amongst our students, so we hope this experience will help build strong bonds of camaraderie and contribute to the intellectual environment within IE.

Goals and Learning Outcomes

  • Identifying important Caribbean reef organisms
  • Understanding the basic ecological processes and roles of coral reefs, mangroves, and sea grass beds
  • Educating students about the various threats to coral reefs around the world and exploring management options that can offer some protection to coral reef communities.

This course has a non-refundable $225 course fee. See the Costs page for a detailed description of costs associated with this course before you register, and make sure you review the Trip Details page and What to Bring page for all the important details about the trip.

What is the Trip Like?

What’s it Like to Snorkel in St. John?