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Short-Term Programs Abroad

Coastal Biology – BIOL 483

Scuba diving

BIOL 483: Coastal Biology in Curaçao

Travels over Spring Break

3 Credits

Prerequisite: BIOL 110

Recommended Preparation: BIOL 220W or GEOSC 40

Corequisite: BIOL 482


BIOL 483 is the intensive field travel experience for BIOL 482: Coastal Biology to the beautiful island of Curacao, part of the Netherland Antilles in the southern Caribbean. The course reinforces content from BIOL 482, introducing students to the Caribbean coral reef biome and other near-shore environments such as rocky shores, mangroves, and seagrass beds. Students will learn through theoretical and practical exercises how environmental and biological factors interact to sustain near-shore ecosystems. We will discover and describe the amazing diversity of coral reef systems, explore the physiological and behavioral adaptations that enable organisms to live in this environment, and deduct the basic ecological principles that underlie the function of near-shore ecosystems. Topics may include but are not limited to connectivity among marine populations, metapopulations-dynamics, adaptation to climate change, and conservation genetics. While in Curacao, we will study these topics through snorkeling and other field experiences. The colonial past and economic realities in Curacao provide an instructive backdrop to understand the complexity of marine conservation issues today. Students will accordingly interact with local researchers as well as local residents throughout their time in Curacao, exploring the local populations' differing cultural backgrounds and current concerns. This course requires strong participation and thus is most suited for highly motivated students. All participants must pass a swimming test before leaving for Curacao. Participants will be charged a fee to cover the trip costs to Curacao and have to bring their own snorkel gear. Trip limited to 10 students.



BIOL 483 students are eligible to apply for the following scholarships (among many other financial opportunities), some depending on students' individual circumstances:



Contact Dr. Mónica Medina at

Next offered over Winter Break 2024


Dr. Mónica Medina, Professor of Biology