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Environmental Studies in Woods Hole & at Sea | 2018-2019

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you us

Adventurer. Scholar. Ocean enthusiast.

You have a passion for the environment. You’re ready to gain hands-on experience. You want to influence change. You’re looking for a challenge.

Educators. Leaders. Ocean stewards.

SEA Semester is the leading off-campus environmental studies program focused on the oceans. Since 1971, we’ve educated more than 8,000 undergraduates on shore in Woods Hole and aboard our sailing research vessels at sea. We develop ocean scholars, stewards, and leaders: people who are passionate about making a difference. We’re dedicated to empowering students with life-changing sea voyages of scientific and cultural discovery, academic rigor, and personal growth.

Make an impact with your study abroad experience. Set sail with SEA Semester.


Adventure with a purpose. We’ll go from classmates to shipmates, form a tight-knit crew, and cross oceans to engage with the critical environmental issues of our time.


Why SEA Semester?

about us

OUR vision

The ocean covers nearly three-quarters of Earth,

Sea Education Association (SEA) is a global teaching,

SEA educates and inspires ocean scholars,

yet 90% is largely unexplored. It provides half of the

learning, and research community dedicated to

stewards, and leaders. SEA fosters and enhances

oxygen in the atmosphere, regulates the planet’s

the exploration, understanding, and stewardship of

knowledge about the state of the oceans and coastal

climate, and delivers food security for the world’s

marine and maritime environments. Since 1971, we

communities. We also help shape public dialogue and

population. However, multiple threats jeopardize its

have educated more than 8,000 ocean scholars,

policy through long-term environmental research,

health and sustainability.

stewards, and leaders.

global partnerships, and the continued impact of our

We all depend upon the ocean. The future of the

Our flagship study abroad program, SEA Semester,

ocean depends upon you.

offers students access to multidisciplinary learning

students, faculty, and alumni worldwide.

communities that address the critical environmental

Be different. Make a difference.

issues of our time: • • • • •

Climate change Sustainability Biodiversity Human impacts on the environment Environmental justice

Acknowledging that human actions underlie environmental change, SEA Semester programs approach these issues from a variety of disciplines including science, history, culture studies, and policy. If you’re looking to make a difference with your study abroad experience, SEA Semester may be for you.

Welcome aboard… Within these 40 meters, the 32 of us will live, work, and study for five weeks with nothing but blue in sight. You will repeat to yourself, “Ship, shipmate, self.” Most of all, you will gain a kind of strength and appreciation for life not attainable on dry land. Jana Maravi, Rochester Institute of Technology, Biomedical Photographic Communications Major | 2

SEA Semester is the sailing adventure of a lifetime grounded in academic purpose.

Fast Facts Transferable academic credit from Boston University Summer and semester programs addressing a variety of topics Based in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts SHORE component + SAILING research voyage Students are ACTIVE CREWMEMBERS, participating in all science & deck operations at sea Two U.S.-flagged, custom designed & built sailing RESEARCH VESSELS ALL MAJORS, from all over the WORLD NO SAILING EXPERIENCE required

Photo: Dr. Rob Dunbar, Stanford@SEA

The Student Experience

Your Adventure Begins on Shore…

with coastal communities through a variety of port stops.

At the beginning of every program, up to 25 students come together on SEA’s residential campus in Woods

Regardless of your program, you’ll become an

Hole, Massachusetts, a world-renowned hub of

integral member of the ship’s company at sea, fully

oceanographic research and discovery located on

participating in the scientific mission and sailing

beautiful Cape Cod.

operations of the vessel.

With your fellow classmates, you’ll build a living and

You‘ll be exposed to every aspect of shipboard life,

learning community, and undertake coursework

including celestial navigation, the collection and

designed to prepare you personally and intellectually

analysis of oceanographic samples, sail handling, and

for the second half of your experience at sea.

even meal preparation! A phased leadership approach will allow you to

… And Continues at Sea

gradually assume the majority of shipboard responsibilities under the watchful eye of faculty and crew.

Following your shore component, you’ll join one of our two sailing research vessels on an academic

When you step off the ship, you’ll take away with

expedition in the Atlantic, Caribbean, or Pacific to put

you academic credits, newfound confidence,

classroom theory into real-world practice.

skills, knowledge about yourself and the world, and a sense of direction that will serve you well

Depending on which program you choose, you might

throughout your life.

sail thousands of miles across the open ocean for a truly blue-water experience, or you might investigate

Check out a day in the life at SEA Semester at

a smaller area of the marine environment engaging

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Life on board is a balance between academics and ship operations. Off the coast of Puerto Rico, Dr. Craig Marin and students talk about an upcoming port stop.

From classmates to shipmates.



Ocean Exploration Fall 2018 Take an interdisciplinary approach to studying the marine environment in this survey program with a

Choose your adventure.

long, blue-water sailing passage. The classic SEA Semester program since 1971! 10

The Global Ocean Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019 Explore the environmental and historical

Protecting the Phoenix Islands page 24

influences that have shaped New Zealand while examining the relationships between different cultural groups and their marine environment. 12

Pacific reef expedition Page 22

Caribbean Reef Expedition Fall 2018 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 page 16

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean Spring 2018, Spring 2019

Pacific Ocean

Investigate the legacy of European colonialism in the history, culture, and marine environment of the Caribbean, alongside modern issues of

oceans & climate page 20

environmental change and sustainability.

the global ocean page 10 | 6


Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems Fall 2018 Confront challenging questions of colonial conflict, cultural identity, and environmental

Ocean Exploration Page 8 Marine Biodiversity and Conservation Page 18

justice in the South Pacific. 18

Marine Biodiversity & Conservation Spring 2018, Spring 2019

Atlantic Ocean

Apply modern biodiversity research to place-based resource management in the coastal and open ocean environments. (Prerequisites)

Colonization to conservation in the caribbean Page 14

caribbean reef expedition Page 12


Oceans & Climate Spring 2018, Spring 2019 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 and policy semester. (Prerequisites)


Pacific Reef Expedition Summer 2018 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 Summer 2018 Take part in a rare scientific research voyage to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, one of the last coral wildernesses on Earth.

Ocean Exploration Fall 2018

Program Description

This interdisciplinary survey program combines insights from the natural and social sciences in order to deepen students’ awareness of and appreciation for the ocean. By engaging in hands-on research from the platform of a tall ship, you’ll come face to face with some of the most pressing global questions related to the ocean environment. On shore in Woods Hole, a variety of coursework will prepare you for your voyage. You’ll design an original research project to be conducted in the field, and learn the practical skills necessary to safely operate a tall ship at sea. You will also explore the historical context of humanity’s relationship with the ocean.

Recent Student Research Projects Antarctic Intermediate Water in the Sargasso Sea and the Rhythm of the North Atlantic Oscillation Rachel Kaplan (Brown University, Geology/ Biology)

While at sea, you’ll develop skills in leadership, teamwork, and research, all while making a long sailing passage through the Atlantic.

Methods for Determining the Concentration of Monofilament Line Fragments in the Surface Waters of the North Atlantic and the Potential Impacts on Zooplankton Sage DeLuna (Oregon State University, Environmental Sciences) The Gulf Stream Current: Observation from Space and Sea Evan Oleson (Williams College, Economics)

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Leadership development Maritime culture Marine science Seamanship & navigation Program Highlights • 1Gain a comprehensive understanding of the world’s oceans • 1Make a long, blue-water sailing passage • 1Take your learning out of the classroom and into the field • 1Develop new skills in leadership, teamwork, and research

Courses & Credit Oceanography (200-level, 3 cr.) Maritime Studies (200-level, 3 cr.) Nautical Science (200-level, 3 cr.) Oceanographic Field Methods (200-level, 4 cr.) Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 cr.) - OR - Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 cr.) 17 semester hour credits from Boston University

This semester attracts students who are interested in gaining an introductory, comprehensive understanding of the oceans. Also open to gap and winter start students.

Looking for USCG sea time?

Students haul on the mains’l sheet. At SEA Semester, all students act as working crew aboard our ships.

Our Nautical Science courses are U.S. Coast Guard approved sail training programs. Successful completion of Ocean Exploration carries up to 106 days of sea time towards USCG licensing requirements.

North Atlantic »  Caribbean


When a ship serves as both a classroom and a dorm, you do your homework in some different places! Here, a student enjoys some quiet time on the bowsprit.

The Global Ocean Spring 2018 • Fall 2018 • Spring 2019

Program Description

Human impact on the oceans is one of the most pressing environmental issues of the 21st century, affecting human health, global economic systems, and local cultural practices. Many coastal communities are already struggling to cope with sea level rise, depleted fisheries, loss of habitat, and increased catastrophic storm effects. Understanding these issues requires a multidisciplinary approach to examine not just how natural systems work, but the histories, cultures, and policies of people who live on coasts and islands. Our laboratory is New Zealand, whose innovative policy and conservation efforts at times compete with other imperatives. New Zealand’s marine ecosystems range from subtropical to subantarctic, deep trenches to shallow banks, and coastal mangrove forests to coral reefs.

Recent Student Research Projects Examining the Problems with Marine Area Management in New Zealand Heather Piekarz (Hamilton College, Chemistry), Kendall Reinhart (Dartmouth College, Government), and Nina Whittaker (Kenyon College, International Studies)

You will explore the unique environmental and complex cultural influences that have shaped these islands. You’ll also visit marine and coastal protected areas and various ports of call to examine the relationship between New Zealanders and their ocean environment.

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Maori Cultures in New Zealand Ports: Imperial Reign and the Succession of Traditions Kate Hruby (University of New England, Environmental Science/ Oceanography) Shed 10: Demonstrating a Changing Waterfront Kate Morneault (Stonehill College, Accounting)

Coastal anthropology Human impacts Environmental change Marine ecosystems Program Highlights • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites • Explore relationships between people and their ocean/coastal environment • Choose electives to tailor coursework • Engage in a place-based curriculum

Courses & Credit Core Courses (Required) Maritime History & Culture (300-level, 4 cr.) The Ocean & Global Change (300-level, 4 cr.) Leadership in a Dynamic Environment (300-level, 3 cr.) Electives (Choose Two) Toward a Sustainable Ocean: Conservation & Management (300-level, 3 cr.) Data Communication & Visualization (300-level, 3 cr.) Cultural Landscapes & Seascapes: A Sense of Place (300-level, 3 cr.) Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 cr.) - OR - Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 cr.) 17-18 semester hour credits from Boston University

This semester welcomes students from all majors. A flexible curriculum allows students to choose the program track that best meets their academic needs.



Caribbean Reef Expedition Fall 2018

Program Description

Thriving, successful island communities depend on healthy oceans – and healthy coral reefs. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Caribbean. Throughout history, reefs and their linked ecosystems have protected islands and provided food for growing human populations. Today, they also attract tourists and drive economic development. But coral reefs face many threats, including overfishing, reduced water quality, and rising temperatures and lower pH caused by climate change. Effective solutions require an understanding of the economic, political, and cultural landscape, as well as ocean and climate science.

Potential Student Research Projects Assessment of Coral Reef Health Across a Gradient of Human Development Comparison of Fish Diversity in Coral Reef and Sea Grass Ecosystems

Through fieldwork in Woods Hole and the Virgin Islands followed by a research voyage at sea, students in this new semester offering will study tropical marine ecosystems, their diverse marine life inhabitants,

Changing Perspectives on Marine Conservation in the Caribbean

and the impact of human actions upon them. Through this lens, you’ll

Environmental Effects of Tourism on the Islands of the Caribbean

examine how local, academic, governmental, and international organi-

Efforts to Combat Factors Threatening Sea Turtles in the Caribbean

zations and businesses are working together to conserve and sustainably manage Caribbean coral reef ecosystems.

Students conduct research – both in the water and out of it – to better understand pressing environmental issues, like the health of coral reef ecosystems. | 12

Reef ecology Climate change Conservation policy Stakeholder engagement Program Highlights • Develop and refine snorkel-based reef survey techniques • Conduct research at a field station in the Virgin Islands • Contribute to marine conservation policy efforts • Assess effectiveness of reef management strategies

Courses & Credit The Ocean & Global Change (300-level, 4 cr.) Marine Environmental History (300-level, 4 cr.) Ocean Science & Public Policy (300-level, 3 cr.) Leadership in a Dynamic Environment (300-level, 3 cr.) Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 cr.) - OR - Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 cr.) 18 semester hour credits from Boston University

This program is ideal for students with an interest in conservation policy and/or marine ecosystems. Students will approach solutions to effective reef management in the context of history, policy, and science. We welcome students of all majors to apply.



Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean Spring 2018 • Spring 2019

Program Description

Move beyond the beach resorts highlighted in tourist brochures to experience many varied aspects of the Caribbean—a blend of African, colonial European, and indigenous cultures with a unique economic,

Recent Student

political, and social heritage.

Research Projects

The Caribbean has experienced one of the greatest environmental and human transformations of all time. The conquest by Europeans, exploitation of natural resources, and development of slave plantation systems left a very visible legacy. Despite this, the Caribbean today is made up of resilient and hopeful communities striving toward responsible economic growth, social justice, and sustainability. You’ll study first-hand historical accounts, confer with local experts, and participate in collaborative coral reef surveys. You’ll also make your own field observations during several multi-day port stops, and conduct research projects on a broad range of topics, such as fisheries management and coral reef biodiversity. You will process and reflect upon your individual experiences through ongoing illustrated field journals.

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Environmental Health Concerns Derived from Waste Management in Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles Toni Hall (University of Vermont, Environmental Studies) Long Term Effects of Introduced Species in the Caribbean Zachary Godfrey (Rhodes College, Russian/ International Studies) Artificial Coral Reefs: Cost Benefit Analysis for the Environment and Tourism Sarah Salem (Temple University, Architecture)

Environmental change Social justice Colonial history Resource management Program Highlights • Analyze cultural connections to the environment • Compare and contrast multiple colonial legacies • Conduct marine mammal acoustic research during the peak of whale season • Visit a variety of off-the-beaten-path islands, including Cuba

Courses & Credit Maritime History & Culture (300-level, 4 cr.) Marine Environmental History (300-level, 4 cr.) Maritime Studies (200-level, 3 cr.) Nautical Science (200-level, 3 cr.) Oceanography (200-level, 3 cr.) 17 semester hour credits from Boston University

This semester is appropriate for students in any major who wish to understand the legacies of colonization alongside the modern issues of environmental change and sustainability in small nations and territories.

Field trips during frequent port stops are critical to a full understanding of the local environment. Here, students visit the Cultural Interpretation Center in the Kalinago Territory, home of the indigenous people of Dominica, to learn about traditional herbal medicine and the preparation of cassava bread.



Dr. Ben Harden and students help plant trees in a Tongan Ministry of the Environment project to restore the mangrove habitat.

Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems Fall 2018

Program Description

The remote coral reefs, fisheries, and tropical forests of the South Pacific are oases of biological diversity, and their human inhabitants possess an equally rich diversity of histories, languages, and social practices.

Recent Student

Western influences have greatly impacted the self-sustaining practices

Research Projects

of these indigenous Pacific Island societies, and undermined the close connection between the island cultures and their environment. During this semester, students will confront challenging questions of colonial conflict, cultural identity, and environmental justice in order to examine what the future holds for these islands. You will begin with an interdisciplinary, multidimensional approach by examining the history, culture, and geography of the region. You’ll then set sail on a research voyage to visit multiple island sites, meeting with local officials and stakeholders to develop a deeper understanding of the complex factors that threaten both their environmental and cultural sustainability. The program concludes with a shore component in New Zealand where you will process and present your research findings.

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Intersections of Traditional and Contemporary Pacific Medicine Cordelia Franklin (Santa Clara University, Public Health), Hannah Marty (Carleton College, Environmental Studies), and Avi Vigdorchik (Muhlenberg College, Neuroscience) Fa’afafine Experiences of Social Recognition and Inclusion in Samoa, American Samoa, and New Zealand Erica Jamieson (Colorado College, Sociology) The Sustainability of Inshore Commercial Fisheries in Samoa and Fiji Alli Anastas (Northeastern University, Communications Studies)

Pacific Island anthropology Cultural sustainability Environmental justice Nautical science Program Highlights • Explore Pacific island environments including Tonga & Fiji • Participate in collaborative stakeholder engagement • Conduct on-site anthropological research • 1Share experiences through digital storytelling

Courses & Credit Maritime History & Culture (300-level, 4 cr.) Marine Environmental History (300-level, 4 cr.) Cultural Landscapes & Seascapes: A Sense of Place (300-level, 3 cr.) Nautical Science (200-level, 3 cr.) Oceanography (200-level, 3 cr.) 17 semester hour credits from Boston University

This semester is particularly appropriate for Environmental Studies/Science majors, but students from any major are encouraged to apply.

Polynesia »  NEW ZEALAND


In the SSV Corwith Cramer’s lab, students identify the specimens collected in a recent net tow.

Marine Biodiversity & Conservation Spring 2018 • Spring 2019

Program Description

Marine biodiversity has the potential to transform medicine, industry, environmental remediation, and energy production, but is threatened by pollution, habitat destruction, fishing, and climate change. The

Recent Student

Sargasso Sea ecosystem, at the center of the North Atlantic gyre, is

Research Projects

an area of particular importance. Original research by SEA Semester students has directly contributed to international efforts to conserve the region. You will continue that research, conducting a hands-on assessment of marine biodiversity. Beyond gaining knowledge and practical skills in conservation science and policy, you’ll be introduced to the career paths available in ocean stewardship, from research science to conservation law to public outreach, and begin to form professional relationships with potential internship mentors, graduate school advisors, employers, and colleagues. The program culminates with a one-day final symposium where students will share their research and protection strategies with marine conservation science and policy experts.

A Genetic and Morphological Analysis of Atlantic Sargassum Elizabeth Olson (Northeastern University, Environmental Science) and Elizabeth Tonkin (Colby College, Biology) The Role of Sargassum fluitans and S. natans in the Ontogeny of Anguillid Leptocephali in the Sargasso Sea Victoria Pinheiro (Boston University, Marine Science) Initial Microbial Colonizers of Microplastics in the Sargasso Sea Amalia Alberini (University Pierre et Marie Curie, Biology), Lena Goss (Whitman College, Geology), Caroline Graham (Grinnell College, Biology), and Helena McMonagle (Wellesley College, Biological Sciences)

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Biology Environmental policy Conservation planning Marine ecology Program Highlights

• Acquire DNA extraction and sequencing techniques • Present at a final professional symposium • Use GIS to inform conservation efforts • Conduct marine spatial planning

Courses & Credit Advanced Topics in Biological Oceanography: Biodiversity (400-level, 4 cr.) Ocean Science & Public Policy (300-level, 3 cr.) Nautical Science (200-level, 3 cr.) Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 cr.) Advanced Ocean Policy Research (400-level, 4 cr.) 18 semester hour credits from Boston University

This semester attracts upper-level science students interested in complementing marine science research with the wisdom, concepts, and skills necessary to effectively operate within the world of public policy. To be eligible, students must have taken at least three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or received permission from SEA faculty.

Caribbean »  North Atlantic


Oceans & Climate

Science on board begins with samples from the sea. Here, the carousel is deployed from the science deck of the SSV Robert C. Seamans.

Spring 2018 • Spring 2019

Program Description

Understanding climate change and its impacts is the predominant scientific challenge of today; the timely application of this knowledge to public policy is crucial to our planet’s future. This intensive semester invites upper-level science students to develop

Recent Student

their understanding of the ocean’s role in climate dynamics while

Research Projects

working at the research forefront in under-examined areas of the open sea. Integrating inquiry, analysis and communication, you’ll shape regional policy recommendations, leveraging existing climate response strategies while experiencing various roles integral to stewarding our increasingly complex global environment. On this exciting voyage, one of SEA’s longest sailing passages, you will conduct baseline climate research on the rarely studied subantarctic and subtropical waters of the remote South Pacific. At island stops, you’ll investigate local responses to climate adaptation and sustainability questions raised during the shore component. You will present your scientific findings and policy proposals at the conclusion of the program.

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The El Niño Effect: Examining Past Records From the Perspective of the Deep Chlorophyll Maximum Drew Gustafson (Bowdoin College, Earth & Oceanographic Science), Nikesh Dahal (Colby-Sawyer College, Biology), and Alia Payne (Macalester College, Geology) The Impacts of Ocean Acidification on the Geographic Distribution, Abundance, Species Composition, and Species Diversity of Thecosome Pteropods in the East Pacific Camille Pagniello (Dalhousie University, Marine Biology)

Climate change Ocean acidification Global carbon cycle Public policy Program Highlights • • • •

Conduct baseline climate research Examine regional and international policy efforts Make a long, blue-water sailing passage Interface with leading climate science experts in Woods Hole

Courses & Credit Oceans in the Global Carbon Cycle (300-level, 4 cr.) Ocean Science & Public Policy (300-level, 3 cr.) Nautical Science (200-level, 3 cr.) Advanced Oceanographic Field Methods (300-level, 4 cr.) Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 cr.) 18 semester hour credits from Boston University

This semester is a good fit for upper-level science students who are concerned about environmental change and interested in developing a better understanding of public policy. To be eligible, students must have taken at least three lab science courses (one at the 300-level or higher) or received permission from SEA faculty.

New Zealand » Polynesia



Program Description

Coral reefs support some of the richest diversity of species on the planet, and yet they are now threatened by climate change and other human impacts. After completing initial coursework online, you’ll join the SSV Robert

Recent Student

C. Seamans in Tahiti to set sail on an epic 2,600-nautical mile passage

Research Projects

across the Equator to Hawaii. You’ll retrace historic voyages of Polynesian migration, using navigation methods that rely on the sun, stars, and moon, to visit three distinct island atolls: Caroline Island, Rangiroa, and Kiritimati. There you’ll conduct snorkel-based photographic and visual surveys of the local corals, fish, and invertebrates to document the effects of environmental change. This field-based program is for students of all majors interested in exploring the changing Pacific Ocean environment through the lens of both science and leadership, and is a rare opportunity to contribute to a growing body of knowledge about the health of remote coral reefs.

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The Effects of El Niño on Central Pacific Water Masses and Currents Siobhan Laughy (University of New England, Marine Biology) and Sam Wall (Rollins College, Marine Biology) The Geographic Distribution of Seabirds During an Unusual El Niño Event Katharine Troth (Longwood University, Integrated Environmental Sciences)

Reef ecology Climate change Leadership Marine science Program Highlights • Make an open ocean passage & Equatorial crossing • Conduct snorkel-based reef surveys • Gain hands-on sailing and leadership experience • Participate in original data collection and authentic research

COURSE & Credit Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 cr.) 4 semester hour credits from Boston University

This program is ideal for students with an interest in conservation policy and/or marine ecosystems. Students will explore solutions to effective reef management in the context of history, policy, and science. We welcome students of all majors to apply.

Students conduct snorkel-based surveys in remote Pacific atolls to assess and compare coral reef ecosystems. Photo: Dr. Rob Dunbar, Stanford@SEA



Protecting the Phoenix Islands Summer 2018

Program Description

Sail throughout the last coral wilderness on Earth in order to preserve its future. A joint effort with international collaborators, this program invites students to explore the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA),

Recent Student

a tropical ocean expanse of diverse deep-ocean ecosystems dotted

Research Projects

by eight spectacular coral islands. You will conduct research that will assist in the ongoing development of an effective conservation plan for the region. Beginning with a three-week shore component in Woods Hole, you will use PIPA as a case study to develop your own research project in either ocean science or conservation policy. You’ll then join the SSV Robert C. Seamans for a five-week research voyage throughout the archipelago, which includes an equatorial crossing. Students will collect samples from the marine environment and visit

Biosecurity Implementation and Policy Recommendations for the Phoenix Islands Protected Area Stephen Moran (Boston College, Environmental Studies), Samuel Hill (Furman University, Computer Science), Meghan Caveney (School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Fine Art/Biology), and Nicole Caspers (Connecticut College, Environmental Studies)

the region’s islands and pristine coral reefs. By providing real-time data, student projects will ultimately compose a picture of the state of the ocean for the benefit of the PIPA management office in Kiribati.

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Increasing Water Resources and Environmental Stewardship as Climate Change Resilience Policy Madeline Beattie (Albion College, Environmental Science), Maggie Chory (Harvard College, Environmental Science/ Public Policy), and Christina Sun (Brown University, Anthropology)

The SSV Robert C. Seamans is one of just a few research vessels to regularly visit the remote Phoenix Islands Protected Area.

Conservation policy Reef ecology Ocean health Marine science Program Highlights • Examine impacts of El Niño • Contribute data to inform marine conservation policy • Study oceanography of tropical oceans • Collect baseline data to assess impacts of climate change

Courses & Credit The Ocean & Global Change (300-level, 4 cr.) Toward a Sustainable Ocean: Conservation & Management (300-level, 3 cr.) Advanced Ocean Policy Research (400-level, 4 cr.) - OR - Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 cr.) 11 semester hour credits from Boston University

This program is ideal for upper-level 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. All majors welcome.



Off the coast of the Dominican Republic, a student listens to audio of nearby humpback whales while collecting data for the Caribbean Humpback Acoustic Monitoring Program.

student research


authentic research at sea

co-authored publications in peer-reviewed literature and have presented at nationally and internationally

From the North Atlantic to remote Pacific atolls, SEA

recognized conferences.

Climate Change

Semester students adventure with a purpose. That

Cultural Sustainability

purpose, of course, is to learn – both in the classroom

Institutional and faculty funding from NSF, NOAA,

Environmental Sustainability and Policy

and through active field research. In the process, our

and NASA supports acquisition of sophisticated

students gather valuable information and insight

oceanographic instrumentation and allows for

related to the state of the ocean environment that can

an array of research projects. Whether gathering

be shared with others.

data on marine plastic pollution, investigating the

Field Oceanography Marine Biodiversity Marine Environmental History

economics of coral reef ecosystems, or establishing Undergraduate research is therefore a cornerstone

baseline data on eels in the Sargasso Sea, SEA

of SEA Semester, with an emphasis on field-based

Semester students contribute to a vital body of

study in marine and social sciences. By conducting

scientific knowledge. While aboard one of SEA’s

advanced research in natural science, social science,

sailing research vessels, all students participate in


public policy, or humanities, you’ll gain skills that

collection of data that are regularly deposited in

allow you to meet the professional standard for

national oceanographic archives.

National Science Board Public Service Award

disciplinary data collection, analysis, and communication of results. Many students continue their

For more than 45 years, SEA Semester student

for outstanding leadership in influencing and encouraging the next generation of scientists and engineers.

research upon return to their home institutions,

research has advanced our understanding of the

using the field data collected at SEA as the basis

global ocean, and the people and cultures that

of capstone or senior thesis projects. Others have

depend upon it.

Maritime History and Culture Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution

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Whether it’s eel larvae in the Sargasso Sea or migration patterns in Polynesia, as a SEA Semester student, you’ll immerse yourself in a guided, original research project. Themes range from reef ecology to ocean conservation to coastal anthropology.

By doing SEA Semester, you are participating in something larger than yourself. Your scientific research contributes to the greater understanding of the world’s oceans and environment. Elizabeth Dorr, Williams College, Biology/Environmental Studies Major

Take your learning into the field.

A LIFELONG INVESTMENT Choosing the right study abroad program is a major investment – of time, effort, and ultimately, finances.

We get it.

Where will you go with


SEA Semester is more than just a summer or a semester off campus. It’s the beginning of a lifelong journey.

Being a SEA Semester alum says something about you, and about your passion, your character, and your knowledge: essential qualities that graduate schools and employers value. You’ll join a strong community of shared experiences and common values.



SEA Semester helped me to confirm my passion about the environment, which directly led to my decision to attend law school with the goal of practicing environmental law.

There is no way to sail a 200-ton vessel over 3,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean without a strong community. The transformation of our shipmates begins when they step on board, progresses as they learn to run the ship, and continues for years afterwards.

Matt Gauthier, Davidson College, Environmental Studies Major

knowledge My successful completion of SEA Semester was one of my experiences that most impressed my interviewers for both my first job after college and medical school. To them, it was proof positive that I could prevail over challenges, work well with a team, and handle a high volume of new information. More importantly, it gave me the confidence to know I could do anything. When faced with a new task to learn, I frequently think, “I learned how to sail across an ocean in a month... I can learn this.” Katherine Rendon, Georgetown University, Biology of Global Health Major

It’s easier to take a leap when you have a support system behind you. Whether it’s doing group yoga at dawn, or baking Christmas cookies,

everything we do is to better our shipboard community.

Julia Stepanuk, McGill University, Environmental Science Major

character The power of SEA Semester is in the program’s ability to foster the qualities that lead to success. To be a good shipmate one must be accountable, dependable, courteous, observant, and selfless. Those same qualities are exemplified by successful CEOs, teachers, police officers, and entrepreneurs. SEA Semester lays a foundation that leads to a lifetime of opportunity. Craig William Smith McMaster, University of Arizona, Nursing Major

The unique experience of SEA Semester creates a widespread, active and supportive alumni community.

A network for success

8,301 SEA Semester Alumni

Alumni l e g acies

SEA Semester 2016 Alumni Survey RESULTS


Our alumni go on to interesting careers...

Influenced my career path.


Improved my self confidence and teamwork.



Gave me career skills.

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Alumni from: 50 states + Puerto Rico + USVI + 59 countries

... at great organizations: World Wildlife Fund; Marine Biological Laboratory; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Deloitte Consulting Group; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); Tesla Motors, Peace Corps; NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Palmer Research Station, US Antarctic Program; Mount Sinai Research Hospital; The Nature Conservancy; Smithsonian Institution; Conservation Law Foundation; Environmental Protection Agency.


Megan Cook

My tremendous thanks go to SEA Semester for awakening in me a passion for exploration and for admitting me into a global network of ocean leaders. Since studying with SEA Semester class S-215 aboard the SSV Robert C. Seamans, Megan has travelled the planet’s oceans, from the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica, developing a career as a researcher and ocean advocate. (She refers to herself as an ocean ambassador!) An experienced biologist, diver, journalist, photographer and filmmaker, Megan was North American Rolex Scholar at Our WorldUnderwater Scholarship Society, and Science Communication Fellow at Ocean Exploration Trust, where she now works. Founded by Dr. Robert Ballard, Ocean Exploration Trust explores the ocean, as well as the sea floor, and operates the exploration vessel E/V Nautilus. SEA Semester year: 2008 Graduated from: Oregon State University Major: Biology What she’s doing now: STEM Program Coordinator at Ocean Exploration Trust Location: Friday Harbor, WA


Without a doubt, my time with SEA Semester is what galvanized my desire to follow through with a career in ocean sciences. Throughout my life and career, I have benefitted from the experience, friendships, and network of SEA Semester alumni. After sailing with SEA Semester class W-178 aboard the SSV Westward, Leonard received an M.S. in Fisheries Biology from Virginia Institute of Marine Science where he conducted research on Great White Shark ecology in South Africa. A Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA to support the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, and the National Science Foundation’s Division of Geoscience. He is now Science Program Manager at Schmidt Ocean Institute responsible for outreach, collaboration, and liaison with the scientific community. SEA Semester year: 2001 Graduated from: Hampton University Major: Marine & Environmental Science What he’s doing now: Science Program Manager, Schmidt Ocean Institute Location: Palo Alto, CA

Health & Safety at Sea

Unique ships for unique students.

Risk Management Philosophy

Medical Clearance

SEA is committed to the health and safety of

The foundation of a successful SEA Semester

our students, faculty, and staff. We recognize the

program begins with the medical screening and

significant responsibility for housing and educating

clearance process. All students are required to

students on our campus, aboard our ships, and in

undergo a thorough physical examination performed

port. While risk is inherent in every activity, it is the

by a licensed medical practitioner within three

management of that risk that is at the core of SEA’s

months of the start of the program. Additionally, we

operational philosophy.

ask that students disclose all medical information directly related to their ability to perform essential

While we take pride in our safety record, we

duties as required by our program structure at sea.

continuously and thoughtfully hone our safety policies, procedures, and practices to mitigate

We do this not to discourage applicants or limit

risk while successfully achieving programmatic

the number of students who can participate in SEA

goals. We regularly review personnel qualifications,

Semester, but rather to best enable our faculty and

provide training, and conduct drills in safety, risk

staff to provide an appropriate learning environment

management, and emergency response. We keep up

both on shore and at sea. With adequate lead

to date with the changing environments in which we

time, SEA can frequently facilitate appropriate

operate, and carefully maintain our equipment and

risk management for a wide variety of preexisting

facilities to meet or exceed industry standards.

medical conditions. We work with every student on an individual basis to assess whether their participation

Although SEA operates under a philosophy of risk prevention, we also prepare for and are capable of a broad spectrum of response. | 32

in an at-sea program can occur safely and effectively.

SSV Corwith Cramer Specifications

SSV Robert C. Seamans

Safety at Sea

SSV Corwith Cramer

designations and possess all required equipment for

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

SSV Robert C. Seamans Specifications

navigation and emergency situation response. Both Safety is among our highest priorities on every

ships carry simple medical kits and are assigned

voyage, every day. SEA owns and operates the SSV

a designated medical officer. They also maintain

Corwith Cramer and the SSV Robert C. Seamans,

24-hour access to a network of physicians specially

both custom designed and uniquely built educational

trained to provide remote medical care & advice.

platforms. Unlike some other programs that take students to sea, our ships are U.S. flagged, inspected,

SEA Semester cruise tracks are planned well in

and regulated vessels, and have been designed and

advance to optimize program objectives, and are

built specifically for SEA with student and crew

based on seasonal weather patterns, sea conditions,

safety foremost in mind.

oceanographic research clearances, and port calls visited. Our cruise track selection and timing reflects

Our ships are United States Coast Guard (USCG)

strict adherence to predictable heavy weather

certified and regularly inspected for ocean service.


As Sailing School Vessels (SSVs), our ships are


required to meet safety standards different from

For more information on our commitment

those for passenger vessels on a comparable

to student health and safety, please visit

route. The SSV Corwith Cramer and SSV Robert C.

Seamans meet or exceed the safety requirements for their USCG and American Bureau of Shipping class

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

admissions & financial aid

We’re here to help.


What’s Next?

Admissions 800-552-3633 x770


Financial Aid 800-552-3633 x535

2. Choose your program Decide which summer or semester program is best for you!

Apply online at

3. Work with your home institution Think about logistics, including study abroad approval, credit transfer, academic planning, and internal application deadlines.

Connect with your SEA Semester Admissions Counselor We’ll help you navigate your program choices, and direct you to resources on your home campus.

4. Submit your application Access application requirements and apply online at 5. Consider your funding options Meet with your home institution’s financial aid office to determine what aid will transfer to SEA Semester. Visit for additional funding opportunities as well.

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SEA Semester welcomes applications from U.S. students as well as from students enrolled in international institutions who are seeking a semester’s worth of undergraduate credit. Limited programs are also open to gap year and winter start students. WHEN TO APPLY SEA Semester programs are limited in capacity with a maximum of 24 or 25 student spots per class. Therefore, we welcome applications up to one year in advance and encourage students to apply early to ensure placement in their preferred program. APPLICATION DEADLINES SEA Semester operates on a rolling admissions basis. We review all applications on a first-come, first-served basis until each program is full. Tuition & Fees Program costs range from $10,900 to $29,900. Published costs include tuition, room and board, lab and book fees, and all shore-based excursions. They do not include travel to and from the ship or personal expenses. Visit for more information.

Are you ready to set sail? Financial Aid & Scholarships

Applying for SEA Semester aid is easy! ALL financial aid applicants, simply submit: • SEA financial aid application • Essay (if required) Need-based aid applicants only, simply submit: • SEA financial aid application • Your Student Aid Report • Your most recent student account statement • Your most recent award letter from your Financial Aid Office

Talk to your home institution’s financial aid office to determine what scholarships, grants, and financial aid are transferable to SEA Semester. Between these resources and SEA’s generous financial aid program, we can make SEA Semester a reality for you. More than half of our students receive some form of financial assistance; of those, 95% receive aid from SEA.

You can afford SEA Semester! SEA awards more than $1 million per year in need-based and merit aid to qualified and motivated students. We are committed to making SEA Semester as affordable as a term on your home campus.

Special Scholarships Additional merit awards include (but are not limited to):

NEED-BASED SCHOLARSHIP Presidential Scholarship - $7,500 One need-based Presidential Scholarship is automatically awarded for every Fall, Winter, or Spring SEA Semester class (excludes SEA Summer programs). Based on strength of application materials and demonstrated financial need. MERIT-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS


Merit Awards - Up to $3,500 Additional awards ranging from $500-$3,500 will be awarded throughout the academic year based on a student’s experience or excellence in areas including research, community service, leadership, and diversity. Access a full list at

Dean’s Awards - Up to $5,000 Multiple awards for each SEA Semester program, excluding summer programs. Based on academic achievement, educational experiences, and intellectual curiosity.

Trimester/Quarter Awards - $2,500 SEA Alumni Referral Awards – up to $2,500 Five-College Scholarship Award - $5,000 Henry L. and Grace Doherty Endowed Journalism Scholarship - $2,500 Sailors for the Sea Onboard Reporter Award - $1,500 US Sailing Scholarship – up to $2,500 Institutional Awards Students enrolled at Purdue University, Ripon College, Stonehill College, Sweet Briar College, SUNY-ESF, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Rhode Island should contact the SEA Financial Aid Office to learn about special scholarship opportunities available to them. Please visit for more information on all of our financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Follow the SEA Semester Adventure Our students love to post about #SEASemester. Learn more about the experience by following us online!

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Read student blogs from SEA @SEA_Semester #SEASemester

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

SEA Semester Viewbook, 2018-2019  

Our semester and summer study abroad programs offer undergraduates of all majors the opportunity to study the ocean from multiple academic p...

SEA Semester Viewbook, 2018-2019  

Our semester and summer study abroad programs offer undergraduates of all majors the opportunity to study the ocean from multiple academic p...