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Environmental Studies in Woods Hole & at Sea | 2020-2021

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We are

SEA Semester We take students to sea aboard tall ship research vessels with the goal of educating and inspiring ocean scholars, stewards, and leaders. For nearly 50 years, we have offered an adventure with a purpose for any student interested in learning more about the marine environment.


Because the OCEAN

Why SEA Semester?

WHO WE ARE Sea Education Association, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education. Since 1971, we have equipped more than 8,500 SEA Semester students 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.

What We Do The ocean covers nearly three-quarters of Earth, yet 90% is largely unexplored. SEA Semester provides an experiential opportunity to gather firsthand knowledge that will influence your lifelong relationship with the ocean. Moving beyond the textbook toward hands-on research and field-based experience, SEA Semester prepares you to take a more active role in solving today’s environmental problems.

their professions. These skills include self-reliance, teamwork, leadership, followership, and the ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of people across disciplines.

Academic Preparation SEA Semester welcomes students from any major who are interested in learning more about the world’s oceans. We educate and inspire ocean scholars, stewards, and leaders: people who are passionate about acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to address the critical environmental issues of our time, including climate change, sustainability, biodiversity, environmental justice, and human impacts. Whether you’re fulfilling graduation requirements or conducting advanced research toward a senior thesis, SEA Semester can help you build a solid foundation for any academic pursuit.

Personal Growth Professional Development Embarking on a voyage with SEA Semester provides you with a unique set of skills that’s applicable to any career path you choose to take. With us, you have the rare opportunity to live and work with a diverse group of individuals under dynamic conditions all while striving toward a common goal. 92% of our alumni report that SEA Semester gave them skills that have been useful in

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Going to sea is a powerful experience. It presents an opportunity to disconnect from the distractions of daily life on land in order to connect with yourself and your environment instead. Our alumni often report that SEA Semester was a transformative experience, and one that was seminal in their development of personal traits such as confidence, maturity, and respect. SEA Semester will change the way you view the world, and yourself.

Life at sea is concentrated: every moment holds more substance, texture, and complexity than I am ever aware of on land. Tapping in to the rhythms of a ship, you slip like a cog into a well-oiled machine: each part has purpose, and together things run smoothly. This environment is one where actions have meaning, repercussions are real, and each moment teaches the meaning and value of hard work done well. At sea I learn

that I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for.”

SARAH WHITCHER, Clark University,

Biology Major

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 Open to ALL MAJORS, from all over the world NO SAILING EXPERIENCE required

Because the OCEAN

empowers you Photo: Tane Sinclair-Taylor


Leonard Pace Hampton University, Marine & Fisheries Science Major SEA Semester 2001 Science Program Manager, Schmidt Ocean Institute “My time with SEA Semester taught me lessons about oceanography and celestial navigation which became the core of my passion for marine science. After completing a John A. Knauss Fellowship, as well as positions with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Science Foundation, I am now the Science Program Manager for the Schmidt Ocean Institute. Without a doubt, my time with SEA Semester is what galvanized my desire to follow through with a career in ocean sciences. Throughout my career, I have benefitted from the experiences, friendships, and network of SEA Semester alumni.”

Rebecca Trinh University of California at Berkeley, Marine Science and Ecology Major SEA Semester 2012 Physical Oceanography and Remote Sensing Intern, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory “SEA Semester taught me how to work with others, how to effectively communicate ideas, and how to efficiently work as a team. Nothing makes people come together like hauling on lines and sailing a ship. The program also taught me how to write a proper scientific proposal, carry it out with my teammates, and make sense of it. These valuable

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skills have been instrumental in helping me advance my education and research.


Being at sea teaches you a lot about yourself, it pushes you, it works you. You will surprise yourself at your strength and will be surprised by the strength of others. Because of SEA I have learned to appreciate the ocean for its immensity and complexity, furthering my desire to understand it and its inhabitants through my research.”

TOTAL Alumni (and counting)


feel that SEA Semester influenced their career path


believe that SEA Semester improved their self-confidence


Jonathan Cedar Dartmouth College, Engineering & Environmental Science Major SEA Semester 2002 Founder and CEO, BioLite Jonathan credits SEA Semester with teaching him how to bridge theory and handson application in a team environment, and with providing him with engineering experience that was the foundation of his highly successful venture. In 2009, he launched BioLite, a high-tech startup that produces clean-burning wood stoves and rechargeable LED lights for off-grid communities around the world, helping to address climate change in the process. “While the technical skills I acquired at SEA continue to inform my work, I frequently find myself calling on the principles of community and teamwork that underpinned our community. On our best days, BioLite feels to me a lot like an intimate ship’s company, with the coordinated actions of our team and the support of our technology efficiently carrying us forward.”



report that SEA Semester increased their collaborative and teamwork skills


say that SEA Semester gave them skills they have found useful in their careers


SEA Semester is more than just a summer or semester off campus. It’s a lifelong investment. Being a SEA Semester alum says something about you. It means you have passion, character, knowledge, and a sense of community — essential qualities that graduate schools and employers value. In my experience, SEA on my résumé was the center talking piece. Many interviewers thought it was really cool to see a job candidate who at one point in their college career decided to produce data for important environmental research. I think that many employers

view SEA alums as individuals who show real initiative.” BRENDAN CASEY, Kenyon College,

American Studies Major

Because the OCEAN

is your classroom

from shore

to sea

At the beginning of every SEA Semester program, up to 25 students from various institutions across the U.S. — and often the world — come together on SEA’s residential campus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, a small, seaside village on scenic Cape Cod that’s also a world-renowned hub of oceanographic research and discovery.

You’ll then join one of our two sailing research vessels on an academic expedition in the Atlantic, Caribbean, or Pacific, putting your classroom knowledge into real-world practice. Depending on your program, you might sail thousands of miles across the open ocean, or investigate a smaller area of the marine environment engaging with coastal communities along the way.

During this initial shore component, you’ll undertake coursework with SEA faculty that will prepare you personally, academically, and practically for the second part of your experience at sea. You’ll develop an original research project, explore the connections between humans and the ocean, and learn the principles necessary to crew a tall ship. You’ll also have access to some of the world’s foremost scientists and policymakers addressing the leading environmental questions of today.

No sailing experience is required. Guided by our faculty and professional crewmembers, you’ll quickly become an integral member of the ship’s company, fully participating in the scientific mission and 24/7 sailing operations of the vessel. You’ll be hands-on in every aspect of shipboard life, including collecting and analyzing oceanographic samples, handling sails, charting and navigating your course, and even helping to prepare meals!

Living in fully furnished private cottages, you’ll share all of the responsibilities of community living including grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. From day one, your class will begin building skills in teamwork, communication, and collaboration, all of which will prepare you for the demands of living and working together at sea. The shore component is one of the hallmarks of SEA Semester. It prepares you to be effective in your roles as researcher, crewmember, and shipmate at sea, and equips you with the tools to embark upon a successful ocean voyage.

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A phased leadership approach allows you to gradually assume the majority of shipboard responsibilities under the watchful eye of the professional crew. Near the end of the program, each student will lead a complete watch cycle as part of a rewarding final capstone experience. When you step off the ship, you’ll take away academic credits, self-confidence, lifelong friends, a toolbox of skills and knowledge, and a sense of direction that will serve you far beyond your voyage.


SEA Semester PROGRAMS spring Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean page 14 Investigate the legacy of European colonialism in


the history, culture, and marine environment of the Caribbean, alongside modern issues of environmental change and sustainability.

Caribbean Reef Expedition page 8 Survey several Caribbean islands to chronicle the state of

The Global Ocean

their coral reef ecosystems in response to environmental change

page 16 Explore the environmental and historical influences

and human impacts.

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

Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems

Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

page 10 Confront challenging questions of colonial conflict,

page 18 Apply modern biodiversity research to place-based

cultural identity, and environmental justice in the South Pacific.

resource management in the coastal and open ocean environments. (Prerequisites)

Climate & Society page 12 Explore the impacts of a changing global climate on

Oceans & Climate

human lives through this humanities-based approach to climate

page 20 Examine the role of the oceans in one of the most

science, policy, challenges, and solutions.

significant scientific dilemmas of our time – global climate change – in this upper-level research semester. (Prerequisites)

summer Read student blogs from SEA www.sea.edu/sea_currents

Pacific Reef Expedition (2020 ONLY) page 22 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 page 24 Take part in a rare scientific research voyage to the Phoenix Islands Protected Area, one of the last coral wildernesses on Earth.

Because the OCEAN

is Your destination

Protecting the Phoenix Islands page 24 Pacific reef expedition Page 22 sustainability in Polynesian island cultures & ecosystems page 10

Pacific Ocean oceans & climate page 20 climate & society page 12

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the global ocean page 16

Marine biodiversity & conservation Page 18

Atlantic Ocean Colonization to conservation in the caribbean Page 14

caribbean reef expedition Page 8

Caribbean Reef Expedition Caribbean

Sample Student




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. Through fieldwork in Woods Hole and the U.S. Virgin Islands, followed by a research voyage at sea, students in this semester will study tropical marine ecosystems, their diverse marine life, and the impact of human actions upon them. Through this lens, you’ll examine how local, academic, governmental, and international organizations and businesses are working together to conserve and sustainably manage Caribbean coral reef ecosystems.

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Assessing alkalinity in relation to urchin spatial distribution across Caribbean reefs. Joseph Benz (SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry, Environmental Biology) Morphology-directed conservation value classification of Caribbean coral reefs. Ryan Betters (Grinnell College, Biology)

Faculty spotlight Jeff Schell, Ph.D. Research Areas & Interests: Ecology and conservation of marine and freshwater ecosystems; the Sargasso Sea; environmental history; natural history illustration.

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

Skills Gained

• Practical experience in oceanographic data collection, analysis, and reporting • Effective team leadership and membership skills, particularly related to environmental leadership • Critically evaluate whether policy is based on scientific knowledge • Collaborative research and writing process, including peer revision

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 Life on shore Life at sea

Fall 2020


Reef ecology Climate change Conservation policy Stakeholder engagement

Sustainability in Polynesian Island Cultures & Ecosystems Polynesia » New Zealand Tonga • Fiji • Auckland www.sea.edu/spice

Sample Student Research

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 cultures. Western influences have greatly impacted the self-sustaining practices of these indigenous Pacific Island societies, and undermined the close connection between the island cultures and their environment. During this semester, you’ll confront challenging questions of colonial conflict, cultural identity, and environmental justice in order to examine what the future holds for these islands. You’ll begin with an interdisciplinary, multidimensional approach by examining the histories, cultures, and geography of the region. You’ll then set sail on a research voyage to visit multiple island sites, meeting with local stakeholders to develop a deeper understanding of the complex factors that threaten environmental and cultural sustainability. The semester will conclude with a second shore component at the Leigh Marine Laboratory in New Zealand where you’ll process and present your research findings.

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Salt water intrusion from sea level rise in Tonga. Faith McKenna (University of Denver, International Studies) Environmental impacts of cattle, pig, and poultry livestock in Fiji. Nikkol Blair (Colorado College, Environmental Science)

Faculty spotlight Captain Jay Amster Research Areas & Interests: Leadership training; group dynamics; cartography; celestial navigation.

Program Highlights • Explore remote island environments including Tonga & Fiji • Participate in collaborative stakeholder engagement • Conduct on-site anthropological & environmental research

Skills Gained • Field research methodologies including on-site observations and interviews • Sustainable development project management • Synthesis of scientific- and humanities-based approaches to sustainability issues

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

Fall 2020


Pacific Island anthropology Cultural sustainability Marine biodiversity Environmental justice

Climate & Society NEW ZEALAND

Sample Student

Auckland • Napier • Great Barrier Island



Finding solutions to the challenges brought about by climate change calls for a variety of perspectives spanning academic disciplines. This semester takes a human-centered approach to climate change informed by the humanities and social sciences, and explores possibilities found within social and political institutions, economic markets, cultural practices, and the creative forces of art, literature, and design. You’ll examine climate-related issues such as public health, clean energy, human displacement, national security, sustainable design, and the effects of shifting climate conditions on poverty, conflict, and justice. As with all SEA Semester programs, your focus will be on maritime communities and oceanic environments in particular. After an initial shore component in Woods Hole, you’ll spend one week on the South Island of New Zealand exploring the ecological, economic, and cultural impacts of glacier decline through interaction with local experts and site-specific activities. You’ll then set sail on a month-long research voyage, concluding with a final symposium to showcase your research and digital storytelling projects.

Storm resilience and social responsibility in urban waterfront design Marine resource rights in displaced climate migrant communities Energy, technology, and the emerging “Green Economy” in New Zealand Communicating sea level rise through art, film, and literature

Faculty spotlight Jeff Wescott, Ph.D. Research Areas & Interests: Political, ethical, and cognitive dimensions of human-environment interactions in island societies; social-ecological systems in ocean research and education.

Bay of Islands

Pacific Ocean

Great Barrier Island


New Zealand


Fox Glacier

Christchurch Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park On shore At sea

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Program Highlights • Examine climate science, policy, and literature in their human social contexts • Interact with leading researchers and writers in New England and New Zealand • Visit cities, islands, coastal regions, and glaciers affected by climate change • Acquire valuable communication and digital storytelling skills

Skills Gained • Leadership through shipboard and group project work • Ability to effectively communicate with stakeholders, fellow researchers, and the public • Partnership-building to develop & improve initiatives such as community resilience and outreach

Courses & Credit Climate, Society, and the Humanities (300-level, 4 cr.) Environmental Communication (300-level, 3 cr.) The Ocean and Global Change (300-level, 4 cr.) Leadership in a Dynamic Environment (300-level, 3 cr.) Advanced Research Topics (400-level, 4 cr.) – OR – Directed Research Topics (300-level, 4 cr.) 18 semester hour credits from Boston University

fall 2020


Climate change Island & coastal anthropology Environmental justice Resilience & adaptation

Colonization to Conservation in the Caribbean Caribbean San Juan • St. Martin • Dominica www.sea.edu/ccc

Sample Student Research

Move beyond the beach resorts and cruise ship port facades highlighted in tourist brochures to experience more varied aspects of Caribbean culture—a blend of African, colonial European, and indigenous traditions with unique economic, political, and social heritages.

Sea surface temperature and thermocline depth: climate change effects in the Caribbean. Lauren McLaughlin (Bowdoin College, Psychology/Sociology)

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 and environmental justice, and sustainability.

Humpback whale behavior on Silver Bank during 2018 mating and birthing season. Meredith Sackett (Sewanee: The University of the South, Ecology & Biodiversity)

You’ll study first-hand historical accounts, confer with local experts and community leaders, and participate in collaborative coral reef surveys and marine mammal acoustic research. 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 the economic and cultural impacts of tourism. You’ll process and reflect upon your individual experiences through ongoing illustrated field journals.

Faculty spotlight

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Craig Marin, Ph.D. Research Areas & Interests: Atlantic world rebels and revolutionaries; radicalization and mobility; sustainability in modern maritime settings.

Program Highlights • Analyze cultural connections to grass roots conservation efforts • Compare and contrast plantation-complex legacies • Conduct marine mammal acoustic research during the peak of humpback whale season • Assess the impacts of tourism on off-the-beaten-path communities

Skills Gained • • • •

Coral reef survey methods Field journal techniques Ocean soundscape & noise pollution analysis Document and field research methodologies

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

spring 2020 • spring 2021


Island ecology Ecosystem and place-based 1m anagement Migration history Environmental justice

The Global Ocean New Zealand Russell • Wellington • Dunedin www.sea.edu/go

New Zealand’s diverse marine environments – subtropical to subantarctic, deep trenches to shallow banks, coastal mangrove forests to volcanic islands – provide an unparalleled opportunity to study important and challenging environmental issues, as well as the complex cultural influences that shape these ecosystems. You’ll visit a range of coastal communities, meet scientific and cultural experts, and study wildlife-protection areas and the economic and cultural relationships between New Zealanders and their ocean environment. Sailing in coastal and deep-water New Zealand will enable an interdisciplinary study of this part of the Pacific, the “Galapagos of the Antipodes.” You’ll build a sustainable shipboard community while exploring the extraordinary knowledge of the early Polynesian navigators, the Māori settlement of New Zealand, the impacts of nineteenth-century whaling and sealing, and how New Zealand has become one of the most innovative countries in its approach to fisheries, whaling, introduced species, and climate change.

Sample Student Research Of sheep and ships: connections between the shearing and maritime cultures of New Zealand. Lindsey Call (Amherst College, Biology) Traditional ecological knowledge in New Zealand policy: investigating environmental management practices in Māori culture. Hannah-Marie Garcia (Sewanee: The University of the South, Environmental Studies & Sustainability)

Faculty spotlight Erin Bryant, J.D. Research Areas & Interests: Climate-change adaptation and mitigation strategies; marine renewable energy; coastal and ocean management; communication of science to non-scientists.

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Program Highlights • Encounter Māori culture, environmental history, and conservation • Explore relationships between people and ocean/coastal environments • Choose from electives to tailor coursework • Sail and conduct research in some of the healthiest waters in the world

Skills Gained • Advanced research methods across multiple sources including primary documents and secondary scholarly literature • Ability to test field observations against an academic knowledge base • Communication skills through oral presentations • Excellence in written work, including collaborative editing, formal research prose, and opportunities for creative expression

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

Spring 2020 • Spring 2021



Marine Biodiversity & Conservation

Sample Student Research

Caribbean » North Atlantic St. Croix • Bermuda • New York City www.sea.edu/mbc

Ocean warming, acidification, overfishing, and pollution threaten the biological diversity and stability of marine systems. Of particular concern are areas lacking effective management that lie beyond any one nation’s jurisdiction; these regions are known as the high seas. Two remote, understudied, and diverse high seas regions are the Sargasso Sea of the North Atlantic and the ocean’s “twilight zone.” Original research carried out by SEA Semester students has long aided international efforts to understand and conserve these remote regions. In this semester, you’ll extend that research by conducting your own assessment of marine biodiversity using cutting-edge morphological and molecular tools, and by applying methods in marine policy to evaluate the deep ocean’s natural capital and ecosystem services. You’ll explore deep, mysterious, and remote ocean environments while gaining practical skills in oceanography, marine policy and conservation, and nautical science. Your experience will culminate in a final symposium where you’ll share your research and proposed strategies with professionals in conservation science and marine policy. You’ll also be introduced to diverse careers in marine science and public policy, interacting with potential mentors, graduate school advisors, and employers.

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Mare incognitum: highlighting the under-explored ecosystem services of science and sense of place. Jennifer Renee (University of Washington, Oceanography), Aquanette Sanders (University of North Carolina, Wilmington, Biology/Chemistry), Scott Waller (Middlebury College, Conservation Biology) Analysis of Sargassum distribution and phylogenetic diversity in the North Atlantic. Alena Anderson (University of California, San Diego, Marine Biology), Daniella Hanelin (Mount Holyoke College, Environmental Studies), Jennifer Renee (University of Washington, Oceanography)

Faculty spotlight Kerry A. Whittaker, Ph.D. Research Areas & Interests: Marine microbial ecology; molecular ecology; phytoplankton diversity, dispersal, and evolution; experiential place-based education.

Program Highlights • Develop skills in molecular ecology and policy analysis • Present at a professional symposium • Use scientific data to inform conservation efforts • Explore real-world interactions between science, marine policy, conservation, and law

Skills Gained

• DNA extraction, sequencing, and molecular analysis techniques • Policy analysis • Science communication • Public speaking

Courses & Credits 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 Prerequisites 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.

Spring 2020 • Spring 2021



Oceans & Climate New Zealand » Polynesia Christchurch • Raiatea • Tahiti www.sea.edu/oc

One of the biggest challenges we face today is understanding and effectively communicating the impacts of climate change on our planet. Our oceans are at the forefront of these changes but remain some of the least understood parts of the climate system. This semester invites upper-level science students to develop their knowledge of the oceans’ role in climate dynamics, and to build their toolkits in research, data visualization, and science communication; skills all climate scientists must have in order to be effective advocates for our oceans. You’ll be introduced to current topics in oceanic climate change and guided through the development of an independent, cutting-edge research project. You’ll also interpret your findings in the form of data graphics and science communications to impact the public’s understanding of a changing ocean environment. On this long sailing passage, you’ll conduct baseline climate research on the rarely studied sub-antarctic and sub-tropical waters of the remote South Pacific. You’ll also leave this program with skills that will put you ahead in the field of climate change research and communication.

Sample Student Research Variations in geostrophic flow dynamics from the Southern Subtropical Front into the South Pacific Subtropical Gyre. Ella Cedarholm (University of New Hampshire, Oceanography), Noa Randall (Smith College, Engineering) Assessing the accuracy of remotely sensed sea surface temperature and chlorophyll-a concentrations in the South Pacific Ocean. Justin Freck (University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Geography), Olivia Cronin-Golomb (Boston University, Earth & Environmental Studies)

Faculty spotlight Ben Harden, Ph.D. Research Areas & Interests: Physical oceanography; meteorology; climate dynamics; air-sea interactions; radio storytelling.

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Program Highlights • • • •

Conduct baseline climate research Interpret findings for a broad audience Make a long, blue-water sailing passage Interface with leading climate science and communication experts in Woods Hole

Skills Gained • • • •

Primary literature analysis Proposal development Data interpretation and visualization Communication of science for the general public

Courses & Credit Oceans in the Global Carbon Cycle (300-level, 4 cr.) Data Communication and Visualization (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 Prerequisites 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.

spring 2020 • spring 2021


Climate change Ocean acidification Global carbon cycle Science communication

PACIFIC REEF EXPEDITION Polynesia Tahiti • Caroline Island, Kiribati • Hawai’i www.sea.edu/prx

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 C. Seamans in Tahiti to set sail on an epic 2,600-nautical mile passage across the Equator to Hawai’i. 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 program is for any student interested in exploring the changing Pacific Ocean environment through hands-on research and leadership experience at sea, and is a rare opportunity to contribute to a growing body of knowledge about the health of remote coral reefs.

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Sample Student Research Variations in sub-surface temperature and salinity in the Central Pacific due to El Niño Southern Oscillation. Kelly Watson (Pennsylvania State University, General Biology) Concentrations of microplastics in correlation to the proximity of coral reefs in the South Pacific. Tiffany Croucher (Eckerd College, Marine Sciences)

Faculty spotlight Captain Elliot Rappaport Research Areas & Interests: Weather; marine safety; leadership; wilderness medicine.

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

Skills Gained • Critically analyze and interpret authentic oceanographic and reef survey data • Function as an essential crew member through demonstrated proficiency including scientific deployments and snorkel survey techniques • Effective team membership and leadership • Communicate scientific data through visual representation and oral presentation

COURSEs & Credit Practical Oceanographic Research (200-level, 4 cr.) Nautical Science (200-level, 3 cr.) 7 semester hour credits from Boston University

summer 2020


Reef ecology Climate change Leadership Marine science

Protecting the Phoenix Islands Polynesia Hawai’i • Kanton • American Samoa www.sea.edu/pipa

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), a tropical ocean expanse of diverse deep-ocean ecosystems dotted by eight spectacular coral atolls. You’ll 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’ll 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. You and your shipmates will collect samples from the marine environment and visit the region’s islands and pristine coral reefs. By providing real-time data, your 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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Sample Student Research Protection from above: fisheries enforcement in the Phoenix Islands Protected Area. Kyle Alvanas (University of Rhode Island, Marine Affairs) Mapping the Deep Equatorial Current. Annabel Spranger (Denison University, Geosciences)

Faculty spotlight Jan Witting, Ph.D. Research Areas & Interests: Coral reef ecology; designing and constructing autonomous underwater vehicles.

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 Skills Gained • Critically evaluate coastal and marine policy documents • Communicate and network effectively in professional management or conservation settings • Identify significant relationships between economic forces, technology, and ecological sustainability • Ocean literacy and stewardship

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

SUMMER 2020 • SUMMER 2021


Conservation policy Reef ecology Ocean health Marine science

student research

authentic research at sea

MAJOR RESEARCH AREAS Climate Change Cultural Sustainability Field Oceanography Marine Biodiversity Marine Environmental History Maritime History and Culture Ocean Plastics and Marine Pollution Sargassum Ecosystem Strategies for Ocean Health & Resilience Policy

winner National Science Board Public Service Award for outstanding leadership in influencing and encouraging the next generation of scientists and engineers.

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From North Atlantic deepwater canyons to remote Pacific atolls, SEA Semester students adventure with a purpose. That purpose, of course, is to learn – beginning in the classroom in Woods Hole and continuing through active field research at sea. In the process, our students gather valuable information and insight related to the state of the ocean environment that can be shared with others. Undergraduate research is therefore a cornerstone of SEA Semester, with an emphasis on field-based study in marine and social sciences. By conducting advanced research in natural science, social science, public policy, or humanities, you’ll gain skills that allow you to meet the professional standard for disciplinary data collection, analysis, and communication of results. Many students continue their research upon return to their home institutions, using the field data collected at SEA as the basis of capstone or senior thesis projects. Others have co-authored publications in peer-reviewed literature and have presented at nationally and internationally recognized conferences.

Institutional and faculty funding from NSF, NOAA, and NASA supports acquisition of sophisticated oceanographic instrumentation and allows for an array of research projects. Whether gathering data on marine plastic pollution, investigating the economics of coral reef ecosystems, or establishing baseline data on eels in the Sargasso Sea, SEA Semester students contribute to a vital body of scientific knowledge. While aboard one of SEA’s sailing research vessels, all students participate in collection of data that are regularly deposited in national oceanographic archives. For nearly 50 years, SEA Semester student research has advanced our understanding of the global ocean, and the people and cultures that depend upon it.


Whether tracing the voyages of 19th century whalemen in the Pacific or studying the creatures of the Atlantic’s mesopelagic zone, as a SEA Semester student, you’ll immerse yourself in a guided, original research project.

Because the OCEAN As this journey comes to an end, I can’t help but acknowledge the spark that this program has left within me to pursue

new adventures and see more exceptional places. It has also left me with an innate awareness for the earth around me that I had never felt before.” BEATRICE LAWSON, Denison University,

Environmental Studies Major

connects us all

health & safety

Safety at Sea

My time at sea was the perfect escape from the overwhelming world of emails, phone calls, and meetings. I am so grateful that I was able to step away from my busy college life and take the time to really learn about myself, my priorities, and who I want to be.� KRISTINA MUSCALINO, Davidson College,

Math Major

Safety is among our highest priorities on every voyage, every day. SEA owns and operates the SSV Corwith Cramer and the SSV Robert C. Seamans, both custom designed and uniquely built educational platforms. Unlike some other programs that take students to sea, our ships are U.S. flagged, inspected, and regulated vessels, and have been designed and built specifically for SEA with student and crew safety foremost in mind. Our ships are United States Coast Guard (USCG) certified and regularly inspected for ocean service. As Sailing School Vessels (SSVs), our ships are required to meet safety standards different from those for passenger vessels on a comparable 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 designations and possess all required equipment for navigation and emergency situation response. Both ships carry simple medical kits and are assigned a designated medical officer. They also maintain

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24-hour access to a network of physicians specially trained to provide remote medical care & advice. SEA Semester cruise tracks are planned well in advance to optimize program objectives, and are based on seasonal weather patterns, sea conditions, oceanographic research clearances, and port calls visited. Our cruise track selection and timing reflects strict adherence to predictable heavy weather avoidance.


SSV Corwith Cramer Specifications

SSV Robert C. Seamans

SSV Corwith Cramer

Risk Management Philosophy

Medical Clearance

SEA is committed to the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff. We recognize the significant responsibility for housing and educating students on our campus, aboard our ships, and in port. While risk is inherent in every activity, it is the management of that risk that is at the core of SEA’s operational philosophy. 

The foundation of a successful SEA Semester program begins with the medical screening and clearance process. All students are required to undergo a thorough physical examination performed by a licensed medical practitioner within three months of the start of the program. Additionally, we ask that students disclose all medical information directly related to their ability to perform essential duties as required by our program structure at sea.

While we take pride in our safety record, we continuously and thoughtfully hone our safety policies, procedures, and practices to mitigate risk while successfully achieving programmatic goals. We regularly review personnel qualifications, provide training, and conduct drills in safety, risk management, and emergency response. We keep up to date with the changing environments in which we operate, and carefully maintain our equipment and facilities to meet or exceed industry standards. Although SEA operates under a philosophy of risk prevention, we also prepare for and are capable of a broad spectrum of response.

We do this not to discourage applicants or limit the number of students who can participate in SEA Semester, but rather to best enable our faculty and staff to provide an appropriate learning environment both on shore and at sea. With adequate lead time, SEA can frequently facilitate appropriate risk management for a wide variety of preexisting medical conditions. We work with every student on an individual basis to assess whether their participation in an at-sea program can occur safely and effectively.

Because the OCEAN

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

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

will challenge you

admissions & financial aid


When the whole experience wound down, I found myself thinking about

how far away this ship has taken me from any classroom I have ever known and how much more it has allowed me to learn.” ILANA DUBY, Macalester College, Political

Science Major

What’s Next? 1.

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

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

Apply online www.sea.edu/admissions

Admissions admissions@sea.edu 800-552-3633 x770

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Financial Aid financialaid@sea.edu 800-552-3633 x535


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

4. Submit your application Access application requirements and apply online at www.sea.edu/admissions. 5.

Consider your funding options Meet with your home institution’s financial aid office to determine what aid will transfer to SEA Semester. Visit www.sea.edu/financialaid for additional funding opportunities as well.

SEA Semester welcomes applications from students enrolled at U.S. or international institutions who are seeking undergraduate credit coupled with an experiential adventure with a purpose.

WHEN TO APPLY SEA Semester programs are limited in capacity with a maximum of 24 or 25 students 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 All programs operate on a rolling admissions basis, meaning we review applications on a first-come, first-served basis until each program is full.

Tuition & Fees Program costs range from $11,300 to $31,700. Published costs include tuition, room and board, lab and book fees, and all shore-based excursions. They do not include travel or personal expenses. Visit www.sea.edu/programcosts for more information.

Because the OCEAN



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.

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

Financial Aid & Scholarships 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.

MERIT-BASED SCHOLARSHIPS Dean’s Awards: Up to $5,000 Multiple awards for every Fall, Winter, or Spring SEA Semester class (excludes summer programs). Based on academic achievement, educational experiences, and intellectual curiosity. Merit Awards: Up to $3,500 Additional awards ranging from $500-$3,500 are 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 www.sea.edu/scholarships.

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

• • • • • •

Five-College Scholarship Award: $5,000 Minority Serving Institutions Award: $5,000 Trimester/Quarter Awards: $2,500 SEA Alumni Referral Awards: up to $2,500 United World College Scholar Award: $3,000 US Sailing Scholarship: $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 www.sea.edu/financialaid for more information on all of our financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

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 • Student Aid Report • Most recent student account statement • Most recent award letter from your Financial Aid Office

Last year, the average SEA Semester aid award was $13,600.

DON’T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT Our students love to post about #SEASemester. Learn more about the experience by following us online!

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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 www.sea.edu | admissions@sea.edu 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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Profile for SEA Semester

SEA Semester Viewbook, 2020-2021  

We are SEA Semester. We take students to sea aboard tall ship research vessels with the goal of educating and inspiring ocean scholars, stew...

SEA Semester Viewbook, 2020-2021  

We are SEA Semester. We take students to sea aboard tall ship research vessels with the goal of educating and inspiring ocean scholars, stew...