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Environmental Studies in Woods Hole & at Sea 1


Who We Are & School of Record


Our Faculty


Programs & Voyages


Student Experience & Academics Course Descriptions

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Guided Field Experiences


Research at SEA


Ships & Research Equipment


Opportunities for Collaboration




The SSV Robert C. Seamans at anchor off the shores of the newly formed volcanic island of Hunga Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai in the Kingdom of Tonga, October 2018.


Dear Colleague, In most every student orientation held before a SEA Semester class departs Woods Hole for their sea component, we conclude with the quip, “And if you find a new island – claim it for SEA!” We never really expected that to happen, but this year it did as our students visited the newly formed island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai (HTHH) with collaborators from the Kingdom of Tonga and NASA. It is exciting and a rare privilege to visit and study new, unexplored land in the 21st century. One of only a handful of new islands created in the past century, HTHH was formed in 2015 through volcanic eruptions which joined nearby older islands into a single land mass. Planet Earth is in a process of continuous change; on a global scale, this change is slow and over wide areas. HTHH offers the

opportunity to observe and study processes of change on a micro scale and at a greatly accelerated rate. It offers our students and collaborators the opportunity to observe, describe, and possibly help shape the future of this new island world. Created quickly from volcanic ash, the island is in the process of destruction through erosion. Sterile at the time of creation, the island now hosts a flourishing vegetative community, a community of birds, and a microbial community only just now becoming understood. Although uninhabited, our students found evidence of camp sites and associated garbage and cleaned up a large amount of plastic debris that had washed ashore from the surrounding Pacific Ocean. All of these changes occurred in just a very few years. As our students approached HTHH on Zodiacs through the surf, they were prepared with knowledge of the formation of volcanic islands, of climate and sea level change, of island biogeography and biodiversity. While on site, they worked side by side with NASA scientists and representatives of the Kingdom of Tonga,

expanding the meaning of “undergraduate research.” They set GPS reference points, collected samples to answer questions of erosion and microbial biodiversity, and created maps of the island and the submerged caldera. They wrote blogs, told stories, took photos, and asked questions about the management of a new and ephemeral land. Not every SEA Semester class visits unexplored islands, but all SEA Semester students take on questions of change, visit fragile and evolving areas, and work with international collaborators to understand and describe ocean health and sustainability from the basis of a strong scientific foundation. Entrust your students to us – we will take them to new places and return them with the ability and drive to become agents of local, national, and global change, prepared to claim and protect their own new worlds. Sincerely,

Paul Joyce, PhD Dean, Sea Education Association


NATIONAL SCIENCE BOARD PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD Honoring service in promoting public understanding of science and engineering in the United States.



Sea Education Association (SEA), a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education. Since 1971, we have equipped over 8,500 undergraduates with the tools to become environmentally literate leaders prepared to address the defining issue of the twenty-first century: the human impact on the environment. SEA Semester is the leading off-campus environmental studies program focused on the ocean. While the academic focus varies, each program offers an interconnected suite of courses designed to explore a specific ocean-related theme using a cross-disciplinary approach. We look for motivated undergraduates of all majors who are passionate about learning, inspired to tackle and address real-world problems, and eager to become part of an unparalleled living and learning community. SEA is based on Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts.



SEA Semester programs are multidisciplinary learning communities that address the critical environmental issues of our time:

Every SEA Semester program begins with a preparatory shore component at our residential campus in Woods Hole. This unique shoreto-sea model promotes learning by doing: a powerful element of SEA’s approach to education. Students take what they learn in the classroom and then immediately apply it in the field, participating fully in the scientific mission and sailing operations of one of our two tall ship research vessels.

• • • • •

Climate change Sustainability Biodiversity Human impacts on the environment Environmental justice

Acknowledging that human actions underlie environmental change, we realize that these issues must be approached from multiple disciplines, including science, history, cultural studies, and policy.

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Each 12-week SEA Semester program offers 17-18 semester hour credits through Boston University, SEA’s school of record. SEA Summer Sessions offer between 3 and 11 semester hour credits. All SEA Semester programs are designed to fit seamlessly into undergraduate coursework as major, minor, or elective credit. Many programs’ courses are offered as a set curriculum. However, some programs offer electives to allow students flexibility based on interests or academic needs.

We believe strongly in learning communities, and I see SEA Semester as the embodiment of community.”

of this type

ROBERT DUGAN, PH.D., Professor of Computer

Science, Stonehill College

I am awed by the many skill sets that are actively employed aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer and I delight in knowing that our students who participate in SEA Semester are honing these valuable skills. In particular, I am thinking of quantitative reasoning skills, critical thinking skills, oral presentation skills, communication skills, and teamwork, which is to me the skill that

the SEA experience develops to an extraordinary degree.� CORRI TAYLOR, PH.D., Director, Quantitative Reasoning Program,

Wellesley College



All SEA Semester programs offer courses that have been submitted to and approved by Boston University (BU) through its internal course evaluation process. They are subject to the same approval process as any other BU course and are therefore equivalent to courses taught at BU. A formal Academic Advisory Board made up of representatives from institutional affiliates including BU convenes on an annual basis to review all SEA Semester programs and courses. All students are registered at Boston University for the duration of their SEA Semester program unless their home institution grants direct credit for participation. This registration process allows students to receive an official BU transcript upon successful completion of the program.

American University Barnard College Boston University Carleton College Colgate University College of Charleston Connecticut College Cornell University Drexel University Eckerd College Evergreen State College Franklin & Marshall College George Washington University Hamilton College Hawaii Pacific University Ithaca College Knox College Lafayette College Lawrence University Longwood University

Macalester College McDaniel College Northeastern University Oberlin College Oregon State University Purdue University Reed College Rice University Ripon College Rochester Institute of Technology Roger Williams University Sewanee: University of the South Stonehill College SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Syracuse University University of Denver

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth University of New Hampshire University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill University of Northern Colorado University of Pennsylvania University of Rhode Island University of San Diego University of Washington, Seattle Ursinus College Utica College Villanova University Warren Wilson College Whitman College

SEA Semester enrolls an average of 210 students per year and regularly draws from over 150 colleges and universities nationwide and internationally. However, we maintain formal affiliations with the institutions listed here. For a full list of our sending and affiliated institutions, visit academics/ affiliates. If you are interested in information about affiliation with SEA Semester, please contact your institutional representative or email admissions@



DR. BEN HARDEN Assistant Professor, Oceanography. PhD (Meteorology and Oceanography) University of East Anglia, UK; MSci/BA (Natural Sciences) University of Cambridge, UK. SEA Faculty appointed 2015. Research Areas & Interests: Physical oceanography; meteorology; climate dynamics; air-sea interactions; radio storytelling. DR. KARA LAVENDER LAW Research Professor of Oceanography. PhD (Physical Oceanography) Scripps Institution of Oceanography/UCSD; BS Duke University. SEA Faculty appointed 2003. Research Areas & Interests: The abundance, distribution, behavior, degradation and fate of plastic debris in the ocean. DR. AUDREY WRIGHT MEYER Professor, Oceanography. PhD (Earth Sciences) University of California, Santa Cruz; BS Stanford University. SEA Faculty appointed 1995. Research Areas & Interests: Marine geology; paleoclimatology; coastal evolution in response to natural and human-induced changes. DR. HEATHER PAGE Assistant Professor, Oceanography, PhD (Oceanography), MS (Oceanography), Scripps Institution of Oceanography; BS University of North Carolina, Wilmington. SEA Faculty appointed 2019. Research Areas & Interests: Effects of environmental change, particularly ocean acidification, on coastal ecosystems; coastal carbon biogeochemistry; marine science; environmental education. DR. JEFF SCHELL Associate Professor, Oceanography. PhD (Aquatic Ecology) University of Wisconsin, Madison; MS (Marine Environmental Studies) State University of New York at Stony Brook; BS College of the Holy

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Cross. SEA Faculty appointed 2003. Research Areas & Interests: Ecology and conservation of marine and freshwater ecosystems; the Sargasso Sea; environmental history; natural history illustration. DR. KERRY A. WHITTAKER Assistant Professor, Oceanography. PhD (Oceanography) University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography; BA Colby College. SEA Faculty appointed 2017. Research Areas & Interests: Marine microbial ecology; molecular ecology; phytoplankton diversity, dispersal, and evolution; experiential place-based education. DR. JAN WITTING Professor, Oceanography. PhD (Marine Biology) Northeastern University; BS Northeastern University. SEA Faculty appointed 2001. Research Areas & Interests: Coral reef ecology; designing and constructing autonomous underwater vehicles.


ERIN J. BRYANT, ESQ. Assistant Professor, Ocean Policy. JD Roger Williams University School of Law; MMA University of Rhode Island; MEd Simmons College; BA Bryn Mawr College. SEA Faculty appointed 2012. Research Areas & Interests: Ocean resource management and valuation; coastal hazards mitigation; environmental justice; science communication. DR. MARK H. LONG Associate Dean, Academic Partnerships; Associate Professor, History and Social Science. PhD (History) Loyola University, Chicago; BA Auburn University. SEA Faculty appointed 2015. Research Areas & Interests: The intersections between maritime, economic and environmental history and policy, especially focused on frontier and borderland areas.

DR. CRAIG MARIN Assistant Professor, Maritime Studies. PhD (History) University of Pittsburgh; BA Carleton College. SEA Faculty appointed 2013. SEA Semester alumnus. Research Areas & Interests: Atlantic world rebels and revolutionaries; radicalization and mobility; sustainability in modern maritime settings. DR. JEFF WESCOTT Assistant Professor, Anthropology. PhD (Anthropology) University of California, San Diego; BA State University of New York, Buffalo. SEA Faculty appointed 2015. Research Areas & Interests: Political, ethical, and cognitive dimensions of human-environment interactions in island societies; social-ecological systems in ocean research and education.


CAPTAIN JAY AMSTER Assistant Professor, Nautical Science. BS/BA (Business Administration/Music), Northeastern University. SEA Faculty appointed 2016. SEA Semester alumnus. Research Areas & Interests: Leadership training; group dynamics; cartography; celestial navigation. Licenses & Certifications: Master 1600 Tons of Steam, Motor, and Auxiliary Sail Vessels upon Oceans; Wilderness First Responder; STCW Compliant. CAPTAIN CHRIS NOLAN Assistant Professor, Nautical Science. PSM (Fisheries & Wildlife Management) Oregon State University; BS U.S. Coast Guard Academy. SEA Faculty appointed 2015. Research Areas & Interests: Celestial navigation; fisheries management; organizational leadership. Licenses & Certifications: Master 1600 Tons of Steam, Motor, and Auxiliary Sail upon Oceans; Radar Observer (Unlimited); STCW Compliant.

CAPTAIN JASON QUILTER Instructor, Nautical Science. Sailing with SEA since 2003; SEA Faculty appointed 2010. Research Areas & Interests: Naval architecture; ships’ stability; meteorology; marine engineering. Licenses & Certifications: Master 1600 Tons of Steam, Motor, and Auxiliary Sail Vessels upon Oceans; Radar Observer (Unlimited); STCW Compliant. CAPTAIN ELLIOT RAPPAPORT Professor, Nautical Science. MS (Science Education) University of Maine; BA Oberlin College. SEA Faculty appointed 2002. SEA Semester alumnus. Research Areas & Interests: Weather; marine safety; leadership; wilderness medicine. Licenses & Certifications: Master 1600 Tons of Steam, Motor, and Auxiliary Sail Vessels upon Oceans; Radar Observer (Unlimited); STCW Compliant. Certified Wilderness EMT.



FALL CARIBBEAN REEF EXPEDITION Survey several Caribbean islands to chronicle the state of their coral reef ecosystems in response to environmental change and human impacts. SUSTAINABILITY IN POLYNESIAN ISLAND CULTURES & ECOSYSTEMS


Confront challenging questions of colonial conflict, cultural identity, and environmental


justice in the South Pacific. CLIMATE & SOCIETY Explore the impacts of a changing global


climate on human lives through this humanities-based approach to climate science, policy, challenges, and solutions.




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COLONIZATION TO CONSERVATION IN THE CARIBBEAN Investigate the legacy of European colonialism in the history, culture, and marine environment

Atlantic Ocean

of the Caribbean, alongside modern issues of environmental change and sustainability. THE GLOBAL OCEAN


Explore the environmental and historical influences that have shaped New Zealand while CARIBBEAN REEF EXPEDITION

examining the relationships between different cultural groups and their marine environment. MARINE BIODIVERSITY & CONSERVATION Apply modern biodiversity research to place-based resource management in the coastal and open ocean environments. (Prerequisites) OCEANS & CLIMATE Examine the role of the oceans in one of the most significant scientific dilemmas of our time – global climate change – in this upper-level research semester. (Prerequisites)

SUMMER PACIFIC REEF EXPEDITION (2020 ONLY) Investigate the changing Pacific Ocean environment, including a rare chance to study and compare remote, pristine coral reef ecosystems up close. PROTECTING THE PHOENIX ISLANDS Take part in a rare scientific research voyage to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, one of the last coral wildernesses on Earth.



SEA Semester welcomes students from any major to join us for an adventure with a purpose. Our programs provide an experiential opportunity to gather firsthand knowledge that will influence their lifelong relationship with the ocean. Moving beyond the textbook toward practical application, hands-on research, and personal experience, SEA Semester prepares students to take a more active role in solving today’s environmental problems. We do this by combining classroom learning on shore in Woods Hole with a transformative hands-on experience at sea. At the beginning of every program, up to 25 students from all over the U.S. (and often, the world) come together on SEA’s residential campus in Woods Hole, a small seaside village that has become a world-renowned hub of oceanographic research and discovery. While coursework and time on shore varies by program, the ultimate goal remains the same: to prepare students intellectually and practically for the second half of their experience at sea. After forming a living and learning community in Woods Hole, students join one of our two tall ship oceanographic research vessels to put their newfound classroom theory into real-world practice, embarking on an academic research expedition in the Atlantic, Caribbean, or Pacific. Some students sail thousands of miles across the open ocean for a truly blue-water experience. Others investigate a smaller area of

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the marine environment, engaging with coastal communities through a variety of port stops. Regardless of the program, all students become integral members of the ship’s company at sea, fully participating in the scientific mission and sailing operations of the vessel. Guided by SEA faculty and professional crew, students are exposed to every aspect of shipboard life including celestial navigation, the collection and analysis of oceanographic samples, sail handling, and even meal preparation. A phased leadership approach allows students to assume the majority of shipboard responsibilities under the watchful eye of the crew. The confidence, skills, and teamwork that are developed at sea will serve them well throughout their lives. STUDENT HEALTH AND SAFETY

SEA fully recognizes the significant responsibility of training and housing young people on our campus and aboard our ships. Since 1971, SEA has continuously and thoughtfully honed its safety policies and procedures to minimize risk to program participants and personnel while achieving programmatic goals. The safety of all SEA Semester students and staff is among our highest priorities. To this end, SEA is committed to not exposing students, staff or others to undue risk either ashore or at sea. This is accomplished by an ongoing assessment of risk for activities either ashore or at sea.

While we take pride in our safety record, SEA regularly monitors and assesses our personnel qualifications, training practices, safety policies, and material condition of our equipment to maintain safety as a priority within our programs and operations. We operate under a philosophy of prevention but prepare for and are capable of a broad spectrum of response. For more information about our commitment to risk management, as well as detailed information about our medical screening and clearance process, safety training, and shipboard communications, visit safety.

The SEA program forces students to go both broad and deep into complex subjects and to come to grips with the fact that in order to do this, they must get both their minds and hands dirty. It is an academic experience that they simply cannot get at their college campus, and one that changes how they approach the world. I want my students to have that experience.” JODI SCHWARZ, PH.D., Associate Professor of

Biology, Vassar College (SEA Semester Alumna)





SEA Semester: Caribbean Reef Expedition 18 credits, 200-300 level

CORE • The Ocean & Global Change • Marine Environmental History • Ocean Science & Public Policy • Leadership in a Dynamic Environment

SEA Semester: Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems 17 credits, 200-300 level

SEA Semester: Climate & Society 18 credits, 300-400 level

CORE • Climate, Society and the Humanities • Environmental Communication • The Ocean and Global Change • Leadership in a Dynamic Environment

ELECTIVES (CHOOSE ONE) • Directed Oceanographic Research • Practical Oceanographic Research

ELECTIVES (CHOOSE ONE) • Advanced Research Topics • Directed Research Topics

SEA Semester: Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean 17 credits, 200-300 level

• • • • •

Maritime History & Culture Marine Environmental History Maritime Studies Nautical Science Oceanography

SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation 18 credits, 200-400 level Prerequisites apply

• Advanced Topics in Biological Oceanography: Biodiversity • Advanced Ocean Policy Research • Directed Oceanographic Research • Nautical Science • Ocean Science & Public Policy

SEA Semester: Oceans & Climate 18 credits, 200-300 level Prerequisites apply

• • • • •

Advanced Oceanographic Field Methods Directed Oceanographic Research Nautical Science Oceans in the Global Carbon Cycle Data Communication & Visualization

SEA Semester: The Global Ocean 17-18 credits, 200-300 level

SEA Summer: Pacific Reef Expedition 7 credits, 200 level

SEA Summer: Protecting the Phoenix Islands 11 credits, 300-400 level Prerequisites may apply

COURSES • Maritime History & Culture • Marine Environmental History • Cultural Landscapes & Seascapes: A Sense of Place • Nautical Science • Oceanography

CORE • Leadership in a Dynamic Environment • Maritime History & Culture • The Ocean & Global Change ELECTIVES (CHOOSE TWO) • Cultural Landscapes & Seascapes: A Sense of Place • Data Communication & Visualization • Directed Oceanographic Research - ORPractical Oceanographic Research • Toward a Sustainable Ocean: Conservation & Management

• Practical Oceanographic Research • Nautical Science

CORE • The Ocean & Global Change • Toward a Sustainable Ocean: Conservation & Management ELECTIVES (CHOOSE ONE) • Advanced Ocean Policy Research • Directed Oceanographic Research



400-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 460 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. ADVANCED OCEANOGRAPHIC FIELD METHODS

300-level, 4 credits, BU XAS NS 324 Prereq: Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor. Tools and techniques of the oceanographer. Participate in shipboard laboratory operations to gain experience with deployment of modern oceanographic equipment and collection of scientific data at sea. Emphasis on sampling plan design, advanced laboratory sample processing methods, and robust data analysis. ADVANCED RESEARCH TOPICS

400-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 433 Advanced humanities and social science seminar focusing on contemporary climaterelated issues including urban/coastal resilience, poverty and justice, clean energy, human displacement, and national security. Emphasizes case study analysis and research methods. Requires field data collection, research paper and symposium presentation.


400-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 450 Prereq: 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. CLIMATE, SOCIETY, AND THE HUMANITIES

300-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 331 Survey of climate literature across humanities and social science disciplines. Explores interpretive and comparative approaches to understanding human-climate interactions in maritime contexts and identifies collaborative potential with the natural sciences. Requires interdisciplinary research, field journal writing, and team projects. CULTURAL LANDSCAPES & SEASCAPES: A SENSE OF PLACE

300-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 327 Field-intensive analysis and documentation of dynamic relationships between nature and culture in specific coastal, island, and ocean places. Apply cultural landscape and related interdisciplinary bio-cultural approaches to place-based environmental studies.


300-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 330 Information visualization strategies and associated software, emphasizing communication to diverse audiences. Select between geospatial (GIS) and qualitative data foci. Develop graphics and/or multimedia products supporting research projects in concurrent courses. Compile iterative digital portfolio. DIRECTED OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

300-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 330 Prereq: 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. DIRECTED RESEARCH TOPICS

300-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 333 Seminar exploring humanities and social sciences approaches to understanding and resolving contemporary climate-related issues. Development of research and writing skills through analyses of case studies and guided seminar exercises. Requires field data collection, research paper and presentation of results. ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION

300-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 332 Seminar focusing on communication skills development for environmental scholars. | 10


Introduces the field of environmental communication, examines environmental attitudes and behaviors, and develops a toolkit of communications strategies. Includes projects in data visualization, multi-media presentation and digital storytelling. LEADERSHIP IN A DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT

300-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 329 Be an effective leader while leveraging the individual strengths of a team. Use leadership theory and case studies to understand how decisions affect outcomes. Participate as an active member of a ship’s crew, progressively assuming full leadership roles. MARINE ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY

300-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 323 Employ methods and sources of historians and social scientists. Examine the role of human societies in coastal and open ocean environmental change. Issues include resource conservation, overfishing, pollution, invasive species, and climate change. MARITIME HISTORY & CULTURE

300-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 322 Explore impacts of European maritime ventures on the societies they contacted in the Atlantic or Pacific, with focus on the resulting social, political, economic, and cultural changes. Investigate responses documented in the post-Colonial literature of indigenous people.

heritage. Ships as agents of contact change. Political and economic challenges of contemporary marine affairs. Destination-specific focus. NAUTICAL SCIENCE

200-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 223 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. OCEAN SCIENCE & PUBLIC POLICY

300-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 320 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. OCEANOGRAPHY

200-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 221 Explore how interconnected ocean characteristics (bathymetry, seawater chemistry, biological diversity) and processes (plate tectonics, surface and deep-water circulation, biological production) shape global patterns across multiple scales. Discuss destination-specific environmental issues and hot topics in marine research. OCEANS IN THE GLOBAL CARBON CYCLE


200-level, 3 credits, BU CAS NS 222 Relationship between humans and the sea. History, literature, and art of our maritime

300-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 321 Prereq: Three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or consent of instructor.

Ocean as carbon source and sink. Examine global-scale flux patterns and carbon storage mechanisms, from solubility/ biological pumps to geo-engineering. Explore buffering capacity and mitigation strategies in the face of anthropogenic carbon cycle perturbations. Oral presentation and written research proposal required. PRACTICAL OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

200-level, 4 credits, BU XAS NS 226 Introduction to oceanographic research. Design a collaborative, hypothesis-driven project following the scientific process. Collect original data. Conduct analysis and interpretation, then prepare a written report and oral presentation. THE OCEAN & GLOBAL CHANGE

300-level, 4 credits, BU CAS NS 326 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, BU CAS NS 328 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. 11


SEA Semester students visit the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Māori meeting grounds outside Auckland, New Zealand.

As a study abroad professional, I am always looking for where the ‘study’ is put into the abroad experience. SEA Semester’s SSV Corwith Cramer certainly

does do the study and experiential component well.”

KEVIN FITZGERALD, M.A., Senior Study Abroad

Advisor, Miami University of Ohio

Students use a photo-quadrat to document coral biodiversity in the Central Pacific’s Karoraina Atoll.

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A visit to BIOS, the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

SEA Campus, Woods Hole, MA, USA

Learning the traditional practice of processing cacao fruit on a Grenadian spice plantation.


During the shore component in Woods Hole, students participate in a number of guided field experiences. Destinations include Mystic Seaport, New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. Students might also conduct surveys of the Boston waterfront, examine beach erosion at nearby coastlines, or collect marine science specimens at Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

reefs, or the colonial history of the Caribbean, port stops offer students an opportunity to experience first-hand what they have studied in the classroom in Woods Hole. They also provide a critical academic and research component, allowing students access to primary sources in their various areas of study.

Students begin their experience on SEA’s residential campus in Woods Hole for an intensive schedule of multi-disciplinary coursework, typically six weeks in length. This time on shore is an integral part of the student experience and prepares them to be successful as researchers, observers, and shipmates at sea. SEA Semester students are regularly welcomed at lectures and presentations sponsored by the local community, including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Biological Laboratory, National Marine Fisheries Service, United States Geological Survey, and Woods Hole Research Center. These events allow invaluable access to the world’s foremost scientists and institutions addressing leading scientific and environmental issues.


Just as the littoral zone links land and sea, SEA Semester’s port stops link the classroom with cultures and communities around the world.

During this guided time in port, SEA Semester students meet with local politicians, naturalists, and scientists, and visit historical museums and scientific institutions to form critical connections between ocean science, policy, history, and culture.

Whether it’s Māori culture in New Zealand, the impact of climate change on Polynesian



Undergraduate research is a cornerstone of SEA Semester, with an emphasis on fieldbased study in marine and social sciences. Our students work closely with SEA faculty and staff who are active in their respective fields through grant-funded research projects, participation in professional conferences, and publication in scholarly journals. Faculty encourage SEA Semester students to contribute new aspects to ongoing research or to develop their own avenues of inquiry, as they guide students through the entire research process from defining the scope of study to final presentation of their work. Many students continue their research upon return to their home institutions, using the scientific methods learned and field data collected at SEA as the basis of capstone or senior thesis projects. Others remain involved in the research they contributed to during their time at SEA, and are subsequently invited as co-authors on presentations and publications resulting from their work.

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FEATURED RESEARCH CONTINUED BY SEA SEMESTER ALUMNI GEOFFREY GILL College of Charleston SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation Description of research: Genetic fingerprinting study of Sargasso Sea microbes Project resulting: Senior thesis

SOFIA GIORDANO Loyola University New Orleans SEA Summer Session: Pacific Reef Expedition Description of research: Collected and analyzed marine debris between Hawaii and Tahiti Project resulting: Senior capstone

“I built upon my SEA research performing a genetic fingerprinting study of Sargasso Sea microbes, with a year-long ‘Bachelor’s Essay’ (independent research) project using the samples I extracted at sea. The study utilized Illumina miSeq high-throughput DNA sequencing methods to characterize bacterial communities in the Sargasso Sea and adjacent regions of the North Atlantic down to the genus and species level. I submitted the manuscript for my bachelor’s thesis requirements at school, and my advisors and I (and SEA oceanographer Dr. Kerry Whittaker) are working on preparing it for publication.”

“My oceanography project was focused on marine debris. By the end of the voyage I was amazed by the abundance of microplastics we found, and how little it was studied in the scientific field. Through my SEA experience I found a topic I was truly passionate about. Upon returning, I was taking a GIS course for my semester project and I used my SEA data on microplastics. Additionally, this summer I’ll be working alongside the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to complete my senior capstone, also focused on microplastics.”


DANI HANELIN Mount Holyoke College SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation Description of research: Used molecular data to better understand Sargassum inundation events Project resulting: Senior thesis “The opportunity to continue my research with SEA allowed me to simultaneously expand and refine my project, making me an aficionado of pelagic Sargassum. Developing this project over the course of a year also helped me solidify my academic and career goal of becoming a professor of marine biology.”


Pieper, C., L. Amaral-Zettler, K. L. Law*, C. M. Loureiro and A. Martins, 2019. Application of matrix scoring techniques to evaluate marine debris sources in the remote islands of the Azores Archipelago. Env. Poll. 249, 666-675. Green, H., S. Fuller*, A. Meyer*, P. Joyce*, C. Aeppli, R. Nelson, R. Swarthout, D. Valentine, H. White and C. Reddy, 2018. Pelagic tar balls collected in the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from 1988 to 2016 have natural and anthropogenic origins. Marine Pollution Bulletin 137, 352-259. Håvik, L., K. Våge, R. Pickart, B. Harden*, W.-J. von Appen, S. Jónsson and S. Østerhus, 2017. Structure and variability of the shelfbreak East Greenland Current north of Denmark Strait. Journal of Physical Oceanography 47, 2631-2646. Whittaker, K.* and T. Rynearson, 2017. Evidence for environmental and ecological selection in a microbe with no geographic limits to gene flow. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 114, 2651-2656. Amaral-Zettler, L., N. Dragone^, J. Schell*, B. Slikas, L. Murphy, C. Morrall and E. Zettler*, 2017. Comparative mitochondrial and chloroplast genomics of a genetically distinct form of Sargassum contributing to recent “Golden Tides” in the Western Atlantic. Ecology and Evolution 7, 516-525. ^ SEA Semester alum * SEA Semester faculty/staff

Identifying Sargassum in the shipboard lab.

One thing about research is that you can never be quite sure how the data collected may be used. SEA Semester has contributed to our understanding of human impacts on the oceans through the long-term data set they have collected on plastic in the ocean waters, which came about through regular plankton tows and other sampling. This is crucial data that is being applied to help find solutions. Students working with the SEA Semester scientists and crew have the

opportunity to make real contributions to ocean science, quite a thrill!” SIOBHAN FENNESY, PH.D., Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Kenyon College



SEA owns and operates the SSV Corwith Cramer and the SSV Robert C. Seamans, certified by the United States Coast Guard as Sailing School Vessels (Subchapter R) for Ocean Service. As SSVs, both ships are required to meet stringent safety standards that differ from those of a passenger vessel on a comparable route. Unlike some other programs that take students to sea, our ships are U.S. flagged, inspected, and regulated, and were custom designed and built specifically for SEA. SSV CORWITH CRAMER

The SSV Corwith Cramer, named after SEA’s founding director, was designed specifically for SEA and was constructed in 1987 in Bilbao, Spain. She is a 134-foot steel brigantine built as a research vessel for operation under sail, and is home to SEA Semester students in the Atlantic and Caribbean.

Rig: Brigantine Displacement: 280 Tons Construction: Steel; built 1987 ASTACE Shipyard Bilbao, Spain Length Overall: 134 feet Length on Deck: 98 feet Draft: 12.5 feet Beam: 26 feet Sail Area: 7,500 Sq. Ft. Auxiliary Engine: 500 horsepower Cummins diesel Complement: 38 persons


The SSV Robert C. Seamans, SEA’s newest vessel, was designed by Laurent Giles of Hampshire, England, and built in Tacoma, Washington. Named after a former Trustee and Chairman of SEA’s board, the Robert C. Seamans is a 134-foot steel brigantine and is the most sophisticated sailing oceanographic research vessel ever built in the United States. The Seamans is home to SEA Semester students in the Pacific.

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Rig: Brigantine Displacement: 350 Tons Construction: Steel; built 2001 J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding, Tacoma, WA Length Overall: 134.5 feet Length on Deck: 111.4 feet Draft: 13.9 feet Beam: 25.5 feet Sail Area: 8,554 Sq. Ft. Auxiliary Engine: 455 horsepower Caterpillar diesel Complement: 40 persons

SSV Corwith Cramer

SSV Robert C. Seamans


• Markey Electric Hydrographic Winches with 3000-5000m 1/4” 3x19 wire rope • Markey Auxiliary “enhanced BT” Winches with 1/8” wire rope • Overboarding systems that include hydraulic J-frames, sheaves (Dynacon on Robert C. Seamans | Rugged Controls on Corwith Cramer), displays (LCI-90 on Robert C. Seamans | LCI-90i on Corwith Cramer), and associated sensors capable of monitoring wire payout, speed, tension, and angle.

• • • •

RBR XR420 towed CTD YSI-30 and YSI-85 handheld meters Orion 3-star benchtop pH meter Ocean Optics USB2000 digital spectrophotometers • Secchi Disk • Star-Oddi centi-TD (temperature/depth) loggers for accurate depth readings on towed net deployments • Full complement of wet-chemical capability (e.g. titrations, column reductions, filtration, etc.)


• Shipek Sediment Grab • Gravity Corer


• Knudsen Model 3260 Chirp sub-bottom profiling systems (2-7 kHz) with TR-109 transducers (8 on Corwith Cramer | 9 on Robert C. Seamans) PHYSICAL/CHEMICAL OCEANOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT

• Water sampling Carousel SBE 32SC capable of carrying the following instrumentation package: - Seabird Electronics (SBE) 90208 1 Auto Fire Module - SBE “SEACAT” Conductivity, Temperature 1 and Depth (CTD) Profiler - Biospherical PAR sensor - Sea Point in-vivo chlorophyll-a 1 Fluorometer - Wetlabs CDOM Fluorometer and 1 Transmissometer - SBE-43 oxygen sensor - 12 x 2.5-L Niskin Water Sampling Bottles • Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (RDI Ocean Surveyor 75kHz) • Octans fiber optic gyro-compass on Corwith Cramer; Ashtech ADU-5 on Robert C. Seamans

• Aquabotix Hydroview ROV (200ft rating, color cameras and HD video) • Turner Designs Model 10-AU Benchtop Fluorometers • Sea-Gear 200, 333, 1000 μm mesh Plankton nets • Sea-Gear 333 μm mesh Neuston nets (1m wide by 0.5m high) • Sea-Gear 63 μm Phytoplankton nets • Tucker Trawl multiple opening/closing net • Phantom 3 Pro UAV Quadcopter for aerial observations • McLane Large Volume Water Transfer System (WTS-LV) SHORE-TO-SEA MOLECULAR LAB

• Eppendorf Centrifuge 5424 • (2) Microcentrifuges • BioRad Thermocycler - Mini Opticon Real-Time PCR System • NanoDrop 1000 Spectrophotometer • (2) E-Gel Precast Agarose Electrophoresis Systems • Rainin pipets • (2) Benchmark Scientific Mini Dry Baths


• Zeiss Stemi 305 Stereo Dissecting Microscopes • Zeiss Axiolab A1 LED Fluorescence Mircroscopes • Zeiss Axiocam microscope camera for digital photomicrographics


Clean-flowing seawater system with SBE-45 thermosalinograph, in-vivo chlorophyll and CDOM fluorometer, and transmissometer. System logs surface seawater salinity, temperature, in-vivo chlorophyll fluorescence, beam attenuation, CDOM fluorescence, as well as GPS position once per minute while underway. OTHER

Laboratory equipment (centrifuges, stir plates, adjustable micropipets, etc.), Milli-Q lab water, aquaria, PAR reference sensor, hydrophone, plankton splitter, handheld GPS.




Firmly established in the academic and oceanographic communities, SEA has long benefited from the participation of scholars and experts visiting from other colleges, universities, and research institutions. During both the shore and sea components, there are frequent opportunities for faculty members from outside institutions to interact with our student body. Guest educators may give a single lecture ashore, spend six weeks working with our students in Woods Hole, go to sea with a SEA Semester class for one leg of a voyage or an entire sea component, or any combination of the above.

One of the best ways to help colleagues understand the nature of our programs is to take them to sea. Each year, we invite sending institution faculty, advisors, and administrators to sail aboard the Corwith Cramer or the Robert C. Seamans on a short Colleague Voyage. These 2- to 5-day voyages offer the chance to learn more about our programs while experiencing firsthand what makes SEA Semester a leader in field-based education and research.

Please contact Dr. Paul Joyce, Academic Dean, for more information about these opportunities. SEA FACULTY LECTURERS

SEA faculty are available to lecture at your institution throughout the year. Our faculty have given both college-wide and classroom-specific presentations at various sending institutions on a wide range of topics, from microplastics in our oceans to the critical role of the humanities in addressing climate change. Our oceanographers, historians, and social scientists are engaged in teaching our programs and continuing their research agendas and would be delighted to share the results of their work with your academic community. Please contact Dr. Mark Long, Associate Dean for Academic Partnerships, if you are interested in inviting an SEA faculty member to your campus.

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While at sea, colleagues participate in the 24/7 deck and lab operations of the vessel. They stand watch, attend class, deploy oceanographic equipment, process data, and handle sails. They also experience the combination of theoretical and practical education that is the hallmark of our programs, and that creates such a powerful living and learning community for students. One or more members of the SEA faculty and administration join each voyage to answer questions and facilitate the experience. There are no fees associated with these voyages; colleagues simply provide their own travel to and from the ship, as well as any accommodations outside of the program dates. Please contact your institutional representative or Dr. Mark Long, Associate Dean for Academic Partnerships, for more information about these opportunities. SHIPS OF OPPORTUNITY

SEA’s vessels serve as “ships of opportunity” to deploy instruments, provide valuable open ocean samples, and supply data to collaborators

from institutions around the world. Our vessels routinely travel through regions not frequented by other research vessels, providing the opportunity to collect data in observation-sparse or remote areas, and to build long-term data sets on annually-repeated cruise tracks. The SSV Corwith Cramer, operating in the North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and the SSV Robert C. Seamans, operating in the North and South Pacific Oceans, are equipped with sophisticated oceanographic instrumentation and laboratory equipment that allow students, faculty, and visiting researchers alike to collect high quality oceanographic data. SEA routinely submits data to national and international archives for use by the broader oceanographic research community. RECENT COLLABORATIONS INCLUDE:

• Argo network of profiling CTD floats, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory - Routinely deploy Argo floats on Pacific 1 and Atlantic Ocean cruise tracks • Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ), a program of the Census of Marine Life - Contributed zooplankton samples from 1 Atlantic and Pacific Oceans • Government of Kiribati - Collected bathymetric data for redefinition 1 of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) 1 boundaries • NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Research collaboration to pioneer 1 exploration of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai • Ocean Genome Legacy - Contribute marine tissue samples and 1 genomic information to a genome bank

• Waitt Institute - Provide platform for student exchanges 1 and data collection in coastal ecosystems 1 of Montserrat and Barbuda • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution - Facilitate Ocean Twilight Zone Project 1 research aboard SSV Corwith Cramer

aboard an SEA vessel. Sophomore EPS students take advantage of the state-of-the-art research tools available aboard the ship while participating in all aspects of running a sailing research vessel. The shipboard experience provides a real-world framework for their Harvard coursework.

For more information on SEA’s research, education and outreach collaborations, as well as resulting publications, visit



In addition to running our own summer and semester programs, SEA has limited availability to support institutional faculty-led programs. Below are a few examples of both short- and long-term collaborative programs. STANFORD@SEA

A trimester-length program offered exclusively to Stanford undergraduates, Stanford@ SEA begins with five weeks of coursework team-taught by Stanford and SEA faculty at Hopkins Marine Station in Monterey, California. The program continues with a five-week research cruise aboard SEA’s Pacific research vessel, the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Students develop an independent scientific research project while ashore and carry out the research at sea.

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania offers annual MBA Leadership Ventures to facilitate self-discovery, leadership, and character development. One such Venture takes place aboard SEA’s Pacific research vessel, the SSV Robert C. Seamans. This program is a continuous sailing expedition near New Zealand that draws on participants’ endurance — mental and physical — and teamwork skills to achieve the team’s goals in the face of challenging, often unfamiliar obstacles and natural elements. Wharton MBA students build skills in teamwork, decision-making, adaptability, and leadership. OTHER RECENT PARTNERSHIPS HAVE INCLUDED:

Boston University Colgate University College of Charleston Eckerd College Ithaca College Massachusetts Institute of Technology Miami University of Ohio Pennsylvania State University University of Chicago University of San Diego


At the beginning of specific academic semesters, the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) offers a field trip

Please contact Dr. Mark Long, Associate Dean for Academic Partnerships, for more information about these opportunities.

Students deploy an Argo float aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans. The instrument collects temperature and salinity data for transmission via satellite to NOAA scientists.



Q: How does the admissions process work?

Q: Which students are a good fit for SEA Semester?

A: SEA Semester operates on a rolling admissions basis. We review all applications on a first-come, first-served basis until each program is full. Programs are limited in capacity with a maximum of 24 or 25 students per class. Therefore, we encourage students to apply early to ensure placement in their preferred program.

A: We look for motivated undergraduates of all majors who are passionate about learning, inspired to tackle real-world problems, and eager to translate classroom learning into hands-on experience. Students should possess a sense of adventure; a willingness to work hard, both academically and physically; and the skills necessary to live and work productively as part of a 35-person crew at sea. There is no GPA requirement, and no sailing experience is required. Q: Is SEA Semester just for science majors? A: No. We offer a broad range of interdisciplinary summer and semester programs for any student interested in the oceans. In fact, 50% of our students represent non-science majors. Students studying English, journalism, and studio art join those majoring in biology, geology, and environmental science to create a truly interdisciplinary learning community where everyone brings something to the table. For many non-science majors, SEA Semester provides an approachable, hands-on research experience that goes beyond an academic exercise. Similarly, science majors have the unique opportunity to place scientific inquiry in the larger context of culture, society, and technology.

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Q: How much does it cost? A: Programs range from $11,300 to $31,700 and include tuition, room and board, lab and book fees, and all shore-based excursions. Only travel and personal expenses are not included, making the SEA Semester experience much more accessible than the sticker price may indicate. Q: Is there financial aid available? A: Yes! SEA Semester awards more than $1 million in aid every year and is currently meeting all semester students’ demonstrated need. A variety of need-based and merit scholarships are available. Last year, the average semester award was $13,600. SEA is committed to making our programs affordable for all qualified and motivated students. Q: Who are your faculty? A: SEA has an outstanding and involved full-time faculty with a strong commitment to teaching. All science and social science faculty have the highest professional degrees in their fields, and some are even alumni of the program. With a maximum student-teacher ratio of 8:1 (3:1 at sea), SEA Semester students work more closely with our faculty than at almost any other academic institution.

Q: Does SEA only offer undergraduate programs? A: No! In addition to our flagship SEA Semester undergraduate study abroad programs, we also offer high school summer programs; fall semester programs for gap year and winter admit students; and a number of short- and long-term collaborative programs (see p. 19 for some examples). We also regularly enroll post-graduate students and welcome applications from international applicants seeking a semester’s worth of U.S. academic credit.

As Dean for International Education one of my goals is for my students to put themselves in unfamiliar situations where they are required to adapt to different ways of thinking and being; where they are required to learn new communication techniques and forms of expression. I must admit that, while I have always admired and supported SEA Semester programs, it wasn’t until I lived on the ship for a few days and experienced this new world that I recognized exactly how it is the ideal study abroad experience. It may not be what we traditionally imagine as a different culture but in adapting to it students learn the same skills. In being at sea, students cannot avoid learning new ways of being, speaking, seeing the world and reacting to it.” GRETCHEN YOUNG, M.A., Dean, Center for International Education, Wheaton College


OUR MISSION SEA is a global teaching, learning, and research community dedicated to the exploration, understanding, and stewardship of marine and maritime environments. SEA empowers students with life-changing sea voyages of scientific and cultural discovery, academic rigor, and personal growth. Our SEA Semester program features an interdisciplinary curriculum and dynamic leadershipdevelopment experience – at sea aboard tall ships and on shore. Sea Education Association | P.O. Box 6 Woods Hole, MA 02543 800-552-3633 x770 800-977-8516 fax Sea Education Association admits students of any race, color, gender, orientation, and national or ethnic origin to all programs and activities made available to students at SEA. SEA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, orientation, or national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational programs, admissions policies, or financial aid.

Design: Fyfe Design Photo credits: SEA alumni, faculty, staff, and friends

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