This course will use a hands-on approach to give students a better understanding of the marine ecology and conservation in Saint Lucia as well as research & monitoring techniques used by field marine biologists. This course is a field-intensive experience based in Soufriere, Saint Lucia. The group will spend a significant amount of time underwater observing and investigating coastal ecosystems. Lectures and traditional assignments will supplement the field work to provide the necessary background for students to understand important ecological principles at play in the ecosystems, and to analyze field data to answer ecological questions about these ecosystems. Before departure, students will complete training to receive scientific diver-in-training status from the American Academy for Underwater Science (AAUS), which is necessary for those wishing to dive in the course. In Saint Lucia, students will have the opportunity to log enough scientific dives to earn full scientific diver credentials through AAUS. Those students who do not dive will be able to carry out field exercises in shallower water using snorkel.
This course includes an integral Service-Learning component by working with multiple community partners, including the Soufriere Marine Management Area, the Canaries Ridge to Reef Project, the Department of Fisheries and the Soufriere Fishermen Evaluations. The specific monitoring work that will be carried out will be determined largely based on current management questions at the SMMA and the Department of Fisheries. Field work will be done in partnership with the SMMA. Results of coral reef surveys will be analyzed by students and presented to the SMMA and Department of Fisheries. Actions to mitigate coral reef stressors will be done in partnership with the Ridge to Reef Project and may include planting vetiver grasses and analyzing the impact of unpaved roads on coastal erosion. Students will also interact with local fishermen, scientists and managers to better understand how the results of this work can be applied, and some of the complexities of effective management of marine ecosystems.
How to complete the REQUIRED Course Approval Form:
Upload your completed course approval form to the Course Approval Form Questionnaire in your application.
BSC4933 - Tropical Marine Ecology and Conservation (3 credit hours) will count for biology majors credit. Pre-requisite - BSC 2011
Students will need to complete an online module prior to doing the 2-week portion in Saint Lucia
This course includes an integral Service-Learning component and students will work with various community partners.
Total Program Cost: $2,010 + tuition
Approximate tuition cost: $520.17 (after waiver is applied)
Included in the program:
-Lodging, in Soufriere, St Lucia
-All transportation within St. Lucia
-Airport pick-up and drop-off in St. Lucia
NOT included in the program:
-travel to or from St. Lucia
-costs of open water scuba certification and AAUS accreditation (the latter necessary to become a scientific-diver-in-training and be allowed to scuba dive with a USF course)
-meals during travel to and from St. Lucia
Health and Safety
Health and safety concerns in Saint Lucia include the following:
The Zika virus is present in Saint Lucia. Women who are pregnant should not travel to Saint Lucia. All travelers should strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites and sexual exposure to Zika virus during and after the trip
CDC recommends the hepatitis A vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Saint Lucia, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Saint Lucia. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
Rabies is present in bats in Saint Lucia. However, it is not a major risk to most travelers. CDC recommends rabies vaccine for only these groups: Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving) and people who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers). Since one of our survey site is near a cave with a bat colony, we recommend students get the rabies vaccine.
Chikungunya and dengue fever, diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, are both present in Saint Lucia. CDC recommends that travelers to the Caribbean protect themselves from mosquito bites.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity is illegal under indecency statues which carry a maximum penalty of five to 10 years in prison. No legislation protects persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport that is valid for 6 months following your departure date. No visa is required if you have an onward or return ticket, confirmation of accommodation, and can produce evidence of your ability to maintain yourself.
Crimes, including murder, rape, armed robbery, petty street crime, automobile break-ins and burglary, do occur. Do not leave valuables unattended in public areas, unsecured hotel rooms or in rental homes.
Students will be staying in double accommodations at Alfred's Diamond Villas. It is close to the marine park and to downtown Soufriere. Follow this LINK for more details about the hotel.
This course will be most interesting to students majoring in biological and environmental science but it is open to any student that has completed the BSC 2011 pre-requisite.
Faculty and Contacts
Chantale Bégin: spent 4 years as a marine scientist and dive instructor in the eastern Caribbean, visiting Saint Lucia several times a year. She also conducted part of her PhD research on the coral reefs of Saint Lucia, to better understand the links between land development, increased sedimentation, and reef well-being. She has dived extensively at all the sites that will be surveyed during this field course. She has led similar field courses with USF students to the Curacao and the British Virgin Islands. She is very familiar with Caribbean culture. She is a PADI dive instructor with extensive experience supervising divers of all levels, and is a AAUS scientific diving supervisor. She holds captain’s licenses from the US Coast Guard and the British Maritime Coastguard Agency.
Boomer Baumeister: Baumeister is currently the captain of the R/V Weatherbird II, the flagship research vessel of the Florida Institute of Oceanography. Before he came to FIO, Captain Baumeister spent several years as the master of a circumnavigating training vessel teaching college students nautical science and diving. Captain Baumeister spent 4 years based in the eastern Caribbean and knows Soufriere and the local reefs very well. He holds a 1600 ton Master Oceans captain’s license from the US Coast Guard and a 200 ton Yachtmaster Oceans license from the British Maritime Coastguard Agency. He is a PADI Master SCUBA Diver trainer, has been involved in multiple field courses in the Caribbean with USF and has extensive experience leading new divers underwater.
Dr. Chantale Bégin firstname.lastname@example.org
Program Manager for Education Abroad:
Nancy Di Bella email@example.com