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  • Locations: Falmouth, United States
  • Program Terms: Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: Sea Education Association 
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Housing Options: Residence Hall or Dormitory Click here for a definition of this term Areas of Study: Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Environmental Studies, Geology, Independent Study, Marine Science, Sciences
Program Type: Study Abroad Language of Instruction: English
Click here for a definition of this term Class Year: 3. Junior, 4. Senior
Program Description:
This study at sea semester attracts upper-level science students interested in complementing marine science research with the wisdom, concepts and skills necessary to effectively operate within the world of public policy. To be eligible, students must have taken at least three lab science courses (one at 300-level or higher) or received permission from SEA faculty.

Program Highlights

  • Develop skills in molecular ecology
  • Present at a culminating professional symposium
  • Use scientific data to inform conservation efforts
  • Explore real-world interactions between science, policy, conservation, and law

Program Description

Marine biodiversity is the cornerstone of ecosystem resilience and stability, and is key to ecological health. However, it’s threatened by pollution, habitat destruction, overfishing, and climate change. Areas of particular concern include regions of the high seas beyond national jurisdiction and lacking regulatory, political, or legal protection. One such area is the Sargasso Sea ecosystem at the center of the North Atlantic gyre. This region harbors a uniquely diverse ecosystem associated with floating seaweed known as Sargassum, flourishing amidst the ‘blue desert’ of this nutrient-poor area.

Original research conducted by students during this project-based applied science and policy study abroad at sea program has directly contributed to international efforts to conserve the Sargasso Sea. You’ll continue that research, conducting a hands-on assessment of marine biodiversity using cutting-edge morphological, molecular, and statistical analyses. Beyond gaining knowledge and practical skills in conservation science and policy, you’ll be introduced to the career paths available in ocean stewardship, from marine science to conservation law to public outreach. This semester offers direct interaction with experts in the fi eld through which you will begin to form professional relationships; potential internship mentors, graduate school advisors, employers, and colleagues.

On Shore I - Preparation in Woods Hole
Students will build a conceptual framework in marine ecology, governance and conservation while honing practical skills. Place-based conservation planning begins understanding how to identify and value important "natural capital" and "ecosystem services" that link humans to the ocean environment. Training in morphological, molecular and statistical techniques for measuring biodiversity as well as practical seamanship will prepare students for the research cruise.

At Sea in the Sargasso
The Key West, FL to New York, NY research cruise allows for first-hand exploration of this abstract open ocean environment. In addition to measuring biodiversity for their research projects, students will collect archive samples for the global marine biodiversity assessment effort. A weeklong port stop in Bermuda also provides essential context and access for conservation policy research.

On Shore II - Analysis & Symposium in Woods Hole
Students will complete scientific data analysis and synthesis of conservation approaches. The program concludes with a capstone experience. Students will share their scientific research and conservation strategies for the Sargasso Sea high seas region with 10-12 experts in national and international marine conservation science and policy during a one-day professional Sargasso Sea Symposium convened on the SEA campus.

Beyond building content knowledge and practical skills in conservation science and policy, a critical goal of this program is to introduce undergraduates to the breadth of career paths available in ocean stewardship, from research science to natural resource economics and policy to public outreach. Students connect directly with a wide array of conservation professionals through guest lectures at SEA, visits to research facilities and institutions in Cape Cod, Bermuda and New York City, and through participation in the Symposium. These encounters provide opportunities for students to begin to form professional relationships with potential internship mentors, graduate school advisors, employers, and colleagues.

Skills Gained:

Students will acquire practical science and policy research skills, including:

  • Ecological statistics
  • Conservation planning
  • Microscopy and morphological taxonomy
  • DNA extraction
  • PCR
  • Fingerprinting [ARISA, RFLP]
  • Phylogenetic probes [Fluorescence In-Situ Hybridization; FISH]
  • Sequencing
  • Natural resource economics
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Stakeholder research

Academic Coursework & Credit

SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation offers 18 credits from Boston University. Courses are as follows:
 

Advanced Topics in Biological Oceanography: Biodiversity (400-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
In-depth treatment of a single topic in biological oceanography.  Extensive review of classical and contemporary literature.  Introduction and practice of current laboratory techniques.  Oral presentation and written research proposal required.  Topics may include marine plankton ecology, marine biodiversity, and satellite oceanography.

Ocean Science and Public Policy (300-level, 3 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Culture, history, political systems and science can shape ocean policy. Practice current strategies to build, analyze, and communicate about diverse policy issues. Examine the power, use and limitations of science and the scientist's voice in determining ocean policy.

Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.
Design and conduct original oceanographic research. Collect data and analyze samples. Compile results in peer-reviewed manuscript format and share during oral or poster presentation session. Emphasis on development of research skills and written/oral communication abilities.

Advanced Ocean Policy Research (400-level, 4 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Junior standing or consent of instructor.  
Advanced policy research focusing on a topic of current importance (may include fisheries, biodiversity, marine spatial planning, and cultural heritage). Emphasis on theoretical concepts, research methods, and communication skills. Requires critical review paper, original research, final report and presentation.

Nautical Science (200-level, 3 credits)
Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester.
Learn the fundamentals of sailing ship operation, in preparation for direct application at sea. Navigation (piloting, celestial and electronic), weather, engineering systems, safety, and sail theory. Participate as an active member of the ship’s crew on an offshore voyage.




Further information about SEA Semester programs specific to Wheaton College students


Wheaton College is committed to providing students with opportunities to broaden their understanding and vision beyond the borders of this campus and this country. We work in collaboration with carefully selected partner institutions around the world to support our students as they prepare to study abroad and while they are overseas. Students must apply to Wheaton's Center for Global Education as well as the institution through which they plan to study abroad. The most up-to-date information can be found on the program provider's website above.       

Courses & Credits:
Each 12-week SEA Semester program offers 17-18 semester hour credits through Boston University, SEA's school of record, which earns each student 4 credits at Wheaton College. 

Housing & Meals:
Students live in student housing on the SEA campus in Woods Hole during the shore component and student rooms aboard the ships. While at sea, three meals per day are provided. Prepaid grocery cards are provided for use during the shore component.
 
Budget Information:
Students studying abroad will continue to pay Wheaton tuition. Students are not charged Wheaton room and board, or the Wheaton technology, laundry, or student activities fees while on a study abroad program. Wheaton will, in turn, pay the program for all tuition and academic fees and international insurance. Students will pay costs directly to SEA Semester. Please note that this may or may not include a meal plan. Students will book and pay for their own flights.

Fees billed by Wheaton will be charged to students on their regular Wheaton College student account during regular billing cycles (July/December). 

Federal, state, Wheaton need-based and merit scholarships will be applied to these charges for Wheaton-approved programs. Students must consult with the Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) for a comprehensive review of their aid. If a student receives aid beyond the cost of Wheaton tuition, they can request a refund through SFS. This can in turn be used to pay their program for room and board charges.

Please do your research as housing and meal costs vary greatly from program to program. This Budget Worksheet can help you estimate the total costs of your program. Refer to your program website for an overview of all additional expenses, which may include visas, international cell phones, and discretionary expenses.

 For Wheaton specific questions contact:                                    
 Center for Global Education
 5  Howard Street
 Wheaton College

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.