State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Study Coral Reef Ecology in Bermuda

Bermuda is a world leader in marine conservation and the perfect place to experience the wonder of coral reefs. Let Columbia University’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation (CERC) and the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) be your guides to the world of corals through lecture, lab, and fieldwork.

You’ll participate in snorkel tours and trips to various islands.

Spring Break: Wednesday, March 14 – Sunday, March 18, 2012

Coral reef ecosystems around the world contain some of the highest biodiversity on our planet. Not only are coral reefs home to thousands of marine species but are important to our daily lives through tourism, fisheries, carbon sequestration and coastal protection, just to name a few.

The decline of coral reefs has become a pressing concern for scientists and managers alike as environmental and human threats to these ecosystems increase. Understanding the complex ecological relationship of coral reefs is a cornerstone to understanding how they will respond in the coming decade. Bermuda is an ideal location for an introduction to Coral Reef Ecology because it is the northern most tropical reef in the world and on the cutting edge in research on the effects of climate change on coral reefs.

The course will be an introduction to the coral reef as an ecosystem and some of the many organisms that inhabit and sustain the reef. Students will be taught about the basics of corals and their growth, reproduction and recruitment.

Accompanying lectures are hands on snorkels to see up close what the coral species and reef ecosystems of Bermuda look like. Additionally laboratory demonstrations will allow for students to become the scientist and learn techniques that marine biologists use to analyze corals and food chains.

Students will also get an opportunity to visit the Bermuda Aquarium where they will learn more about the various projects being studied on the islands. Students will get exposed to the many threats to these ecosystems and some of the ways that conservation efforts have aided their preservation.

This course is open to anyone (Certificate courses are non credit-bearing). Course tuition is $720. There is also an additional $750 fee for room and board. Students meet at our field site at BIOS on the first day of the program (airfare is not included – flights are to be booked on an individual basis after CERC sends you additional information regarding arrival and departure times for the program).

If you are interested in signing up for this course please contact Desmond Beirne at or 212-854-0149.

– – –

Coral Reef Ecology: Bermuda is part of CERC’s Certificate Program in Conservation and Environmental Sustainability.

For more information on the Certificate Program please visit our website and download our program brochure.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Grace Sevilly
12 years ago

Coral reefs are the most important parts of the marine ecosystem. Take them away and that would be equivalent to the burning of New York City. I think this will be a great venue for talking about this certain topic, but the course tuition is something that I can’t afford.. sad.

12 years ago

I have seen a documentary on tv once about the decline of coral reefs and it is absolutely alarming. Coral reefs are home to our most important marine species and we should always learn how to protect them if we still want our next generation to see them.