SEA Summer Session

Protecting the Phoenix Islands

Journey to "Underwater Eden"... Sail throughout the last coral wilderness on Earth in order to preserve its future. Join a limited group of students alongside world-renowned experts for an unprecedented scientific research voyage to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Explore the world’s largest – and deepest – UNESCO World Heritage Site while creating a policy plan to ensure its protection. An incredible learning opportunity with amazing networking possibilities.

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Overview: Summer 2014 | Phoenix Islands Protected Area

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What?

This 8-week summer session welcomes students to explore one of the last coral wildernesses on earth through one of two academic tracks: science or policy.

Where?

Cruise Track: Honolulu, HI to American Samoa
Destinations: Honolulu > Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) > American Samoa

When?

June 16 – August 11, 2014

June 16 – 27: Woods Hole
July 1 – August 11: At Sea

Who Should Apply?

This program is ideal for students with an interest in conservation policy and/or marine science. Students may choose a policy or science track, offering flexibility in project topics and transfer credit. We welcome students of all majors to apply.

Program Description

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This 8-week summer session welcomes students to explore one of the last coral wildernesses on earth through one of two academic tracks: science or policy. The Phoenix Islands comprise the Pacific’s largest marine protected area (MPA) and were recently named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Students will join marine scientists from SEA, the New England Aquarium, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on an unprecedented research voyage to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA), a region of the world which remains largely unexplored and unvisited.

During the first two weeks in Woods Hole, students will begin a survey of large-scale marine conservation efforts around the world. They will use PIPA as a case study for the state of current international ocean conservation efforts while developing their own research project in either ocean science or conservation policy.

Students will then join the SSV Robert C. Seamans for a six-week research voyage from Hawaii to American Samoa. They will first cross the Equator in a 2-week, 1,600 mile voyage to the Phoenix Islands. The next three weeks will be spent in PIPA, documenting the oceanic ecosystem around this archipelago: something that has never been done before. Working side by side with experts, students will provide real-time data that will lay the groundwork for an effective conservation plan.

A final leg to American Samoa will round out the voyage.

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Academic Credit

Protecting the Phoenix Islands carries 11 semester hour credits from Boston University for successful completion of the program.

Course Descriptions

The Ocean & Global Change (300-level, 4 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Ocean ecosystem change in the anthropocene: warming, acidification, fisheries depletion, and pollution. Review principles of circulation, seawater chemistry, nutrient dynamics, and biological production to understand causes and consequences of change. Conduct field measurements for contribution to time-series datasets.

Toward a Sustainable Ocean: Conservation & Management (300-level, 3 credits)

Prereq: Admission to SEA Semester. Sophomore standing or consent of instructor. 
Comparative and issue-driven introduction to managing human uses and conserving coastal and ocean places and resources.  Explore concepts of technology, governance, sector and ecosystem management, and marine protected areas through expert content lectures, topical seminars, and field trips.

Research Course Options (choose one):

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.

-- OR --

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.

Syllabi

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"SEA Semester was the perfect environment to learn about a vastly important but often overlooked part of our world, the oceans. The classroom time was very engaging and I learned a great deal in this more traditional academic environment. Of course, the sea component will probably be the most memorable aspect of my undergraduate education."

Evan Oleson
Economics Major
Williams College