Programs : Brochure
- Locations: Lagun, Curacao
- Program Terms: Summer
- Budget Sheets: Summer
This program introduces students to coral reef environments, past and present. It describes the processes that control the distribution, growth, and morphology of reefs and introduces students to the complexity of the coral reef ecosystem. The course emphasizes the role that reefs play in the natural environment and examines their importance to society both globally (e.g. in terms of biodiversity and its potential benefits) and locally (e.g. in terms of food supply and tourism). We then look at the natural disturbances (such as disease, storms, and sea surface temperature variations) that affect the reef, as well as ways in which reefs are threatened from human impacts, with an emphasis on global climate change and the long-term outlook for reef survival.
Students will work in groups to research elements of the system, first at a global scale, and then focusing specifically on one region -- the Caribbean Sea. Students will look at the history of the Caribbean Sea and its relationship to the present nature and distribution of coral reefs. They will then examine these in the context of their social, cultural, and economic importance to local communities. A third component of the course will concentrate on the identification of vertebrate and invertebrate species and substrate conditions that are important indicators of reef health. Reef surveys will be performed in Curacao following the Reef Check protocol (a volunteer, community-based monitoring protocol designed to measure the health of coral reefs on a global scale).
The coral reef surveys will be conducted on SCUBA or snorkel, and the field trip and participation in the surveys are required elements of the course. Students who are not scuba certified will be given the opportunity to obtain open water scuba certification as part of the course, though the pool and classroom elements of the training must be completed during the previous semester. All SCUBA diving activities will be performed under the auspices of Penn State's Science Diving Program and its standards (the PSU Science Diving Program is a member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences). There will be an additional charge for the scuba certification course.
Summer: Please note this program will not run in Summer 2019. Check back at a later date for future iterations of the program!
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. For faculty-led freestanding programs, there is a specific withdrawal penalty schedule.
Education Abroad makes every attempt at keeping the program and administrative costs to a minimum. However, when you commit to participating in a program, Education Abroad begins to make financial commitments on your behalf. In case of withdrawal, the following fees will be charged to your Bursar account
Upon Commitment - 90 Days Prior to Departure: 25% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
30 - 89 Days Prior to Departure: 50% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
29 Days - Departure Date: 100% Program Fee + EA Admin Fee
Following the start of the summer semester, any adjustment of tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. More information can be found on the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.