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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Charlottesville, VA, United States; San Salvador, Bahamas;
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Description:
Students Snorkelling

Join a unique marine biology/coral reef ecology course taught at the island of San Salvador, Bahamas

The course is designed to introduce students to the plants and animals found in the marine and terrestrial environments of the Caribbean and to study their adaptations in the context of community ecology. Fishes, invertebrates, reptiles and marine algae will be the major groups encountered and snorkeling will be used for observation and collection. (SCUBA certification is not required.) Field work will be the main activity and attention will be given to collection methodology, identification, sampling techniques, research design and other useful field skills.

Lectures, lab work, discussions and readings will supplement the field work, as will an independent research project during the second week. The coral reefs at San Salvador are very rich, quite accessible and easily studied. A typical day's work may include visits to two or more field locations.

A three or four day orientation session in Charlottesville just prior to departure will be used for lectures, discussions and to introduce the observation, collection and identification techniques to be employed in the course. A local field trip may be scheduled. During the first week of the 15 days spent on San Salvador the emphasis is on visiting all of the 12 or more ecological sites on the island and to observe the organisms in situ. Following the site visits there are discussions about adaptations seen in the field and the significance of these adaptations in the context of morphology, anatomy, physiology, behavior, development and ecology. Another major focus of the course is on the variety of organismal interactions that occur on the reefs and their ecological/evolutionary implications.

Although the major theme of the course is biological, it seems appropriate that attention be paid to the significant social, cultural, and historical attractions found on the island. To this end, interactions with the local culture are encouraged. Also, students come in contact with individuals conducting current research projects at San Salvador in the fields of geology, anthropology, archaeology, pathology, and conservation. Visiting scientists working at the Gerace Research Center are invited to speak about their areas of expertise when appropriate.

Announcements IconAnnouncement

This program will not run in 2021; information for future years will be published when available.

Location IconLocation

The island of San Salvador, easternmost island in the Bahamas. The San Salvador program is housed at the Gerace Research Center, a science laboratory/field station chartered by the Bahamian Government and operated under an American director. Facilities include vehicles for class trips, labs with running sea water, air-conditioned lecture rooms, specimen repository, library and canteen. Food and lodging are provided at the station. Clear water and spectacular field sites with abundant, shore-accessible coral reefs for serious study are the major attractions. Accommodations at the Center are rustic, but quite adequate.

Bahama Marine group photo Corals

Courses IconCourses

Marine Biology and Coral Reef Ecology in San Salvador
(BIOL 3660/EVSC 3660; 4 credits)

Course Information

BIOL 2010-2020 and 2040 or EVSC 3200 or permission of the instructor.

Faculty IconFaculty

David Smith |


Cost and Financial Aid

The program cost and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. Students with identifiable financial need are encouraged to apply for fellowships, scholarships, and financial aid.

Bahama Marine class

Accessibility IconAccessibility

The University of Virginia believes in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual basis. If you believe that you would require adjustments in order to fully participate in this program, please contact the Student Disability Access Center at 434-243-5180 as early as possible in order to begin this dialogue.


Passport IconPassport and Visa

All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will NOT need a visa to participate in this program. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.


Health Info IconHealth and Safety Information

All students considering Education Abroad should consult the Students Abroad section of the U.S. Department of State’s web-based travel resources and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Traveler’s Health web resources to research health, safety, and security conditions; visa requirements; immunization requirements; and recommendations on staying healthy and safe in their target destination(s). Students should also carefully review the UVA Education Abroad Health & Safety Abroad web page. Parents and guardians are strongly advised to review all of these resources, as well. UVA students and visiting students enrolled in UVA Education Abroad programs are subject to the University of Virginia’s Policy on Student International Travel.

This program is currently not accepting applications.