British West Indies: Turks and Caicos Islands
School for Field Studies
The British-governed Turks & Caicos Islands lie at the southeastern end of the Bahamian archipelago. A relatively health ecosystem supports much of the community on South Caicos Island, with fisheries providing the primary source of livelihood.
The School for Field Studies Center is working with the TCI government's Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) and the National Park Service to develop management strategies that shield the TCI from the fate that has befallen other nearby areas in the Caribbean. Student field research is helping to provide the local government, community, and tourism developers with advice that will help sustain the economic, societal, and ecological stability of South Caicos and its island community.
Visit the School for Field Studies website
USD, in association with the School for Field Studies (SFS), offers semester programs at SFS sites in several locations for qualified students majoring in the sciences. Depending on the selected site, students have the opportunity to analyze such challenging problems as preserving ecosystems, balancing economic development and conservation, or managing and maintaining wildlife, agricultural, and marine resources. Each site offers its own diverse characteristics and experiences. Although some locations may appear to be somewhat isolated, all programs endeavor to facilitate participation in local life and promote contacts and exchanges with the local population. Science, policy, and resource management course work is integrated with practical field experience and directed research to address the environmental issues pertinent to the chosen location. BI/EE (NS) 373 Tropical Marine Ecology (4 units)
SFS Pre-Approved Course List. NOTE: Core curriculum designations on this list pertain to OLD core only.
Semester students are registered in four academic courses (click for full course description):
Field Research, Lectures, & Exercises:
SCUBA or snorkeling for field research and species identification exercises.
Visual assessment of queen conch and coral reef fish populations.
Fish, coral, sea grass, and mangrove identification.
Zoning for multiple uses in marine protected areas.
Ecosystem functioning and anthropogenic impacts.
Habitat enhancement and restoration.
Lecture from DECR on the TCI government fisheries regulations and enforcement.
Lecture and site tour from local tourism developer on plans for constructing a resort.
Field research skills development may include: transects, quadrats, behavioral observations; survey design and interviewing techniques; environmental impact assessment; MPA assessment; data recording, analysis and statistics; scientific writing and oral presentation; peer evaluation and review; snorkel and SCUBA skills; GIS; cost/benefit analysis; valuation methods; habitat assessment and mapping; species id; habitat enhancement and restoration; construction of reefball technology; water sampling methods; census of populations; mark and recapture techniques; reef monitoring.
The Center for Marine Resource Studies, located just steps from our crystal clear ocean laboratory, is adjacent to Cockburn Harbour, a town of about 1,100 residents. The field station sits on elevated land about 40 feet above the water and looks directly out over the sea. Within a three-mile radius are coral reefs, mangrove islands, sea grass beds, carbonate platform flats, and deep water diving. The main facility has a dining area, kitchen, classroom, library/computer room, and a veranda with spectacular ocean views. Students share living quarters in two residence wings. We are fully equipped for marine operations with access to docks, motor boats, a commercial compressor, and plenty of tanks and weights for SCUBA diving and snorkeling. Tour the field station
For a detailed description of program costs please see the Program Cost in the box at the top of this webpage.
Need-based scholarships and loans available. Visit the SFS financial aid website for more information
EXCURSIONS & ACTIVITIES
Our program in the TCI is dedicated to helping the community conserve its natural resources and develop sustainably. Students quickly become involved with the community, spending time with local residents, fishers, and resource managers learning about the local Caribbean culture and the challenges they face. Some community activities may include:
Reading, tutoring, and volunteer projects at the local library and grade school.
Teaching English to Haitians and Dominicans to help their integration into the community.
Providing swimming lessons for local children.
Creating public service announcement films and beach cleanups to raise environmental awareness cost.
To view the SFS TCI YouTube video, CLICK HERE