SEA Education Association (SEA) offers college students a study abroad that challenges them intellectually and physically by combining the sailing adventure of a lifetime with the study of the deep ocean.
SEA students participate in a 12-week program that takes place half on shore and half at sea. The interdisciplinary program begins in Woods Hole, MA one of the world's great centers for ocean research.
SEA Semester: Marine Biodiversity & Conservation 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 300-level or higher) or received permission from SEA faculty.
CLICK HERE to watch the SEA Semester Video
Marine Biodiversity and Conservation
The oceans cover 70% of our planet and yet less than 1% of their area is protected. Scientists estimate that oceans contain more than one million species and report that less than one-quarter of these have been identified. Undiscovered ocean biodiversity has the potential to transform medicine, industry, environmental remediation, and energy production, but is threatened by pollution, habitat destruction, fishing, and climate change. With limited knowledge of biodiversity, we lack the data needed to plan rational and effective protection and conservation of the ocean. This semester challenges students to integrate the scientific study of marine biodiversity with conservation planning for the Atlantic high seas area.
On Shore I - Students will build a conceptual framework in marine ecology and resource management while honing practical skills. Training in classical, molecular, and statistical techniques for measuring biodiversity will prepare students for the research cruise. Students will also learn to document human uses and cultural landscapes as they investigate scientific, historical, and cultural variables that affect the ecology and governance of marine environments.
At Sea in the Sargasso - The Caribbean to Woods Hole research cruise allows for sampling across strong oceanographic gradients, different marine biomes, and socio-political systems that are rarely encountered directly by humans. In addition to measuring biodiversity for their research projects, students will collect archive samples for the global marine biodiversity effort. These offshore biodiversity studies will ultimately inform the policy recommendations developed by student research teams.
On Shore II - The final shore component in Woods Hole will allow for completion of scientific analyses requiring shore-based facilities and synthesis of the reseach. The program will conclude with formal presentations on high seas biodiversity and conservation for an invited panel of science and policy experts.
Students will acquire practical science and policy research skills, including:
Conservation planning with GIS
Microscopy and morphological taxonomy
Phylogenetic probes [Fluorescence In-Situ Hybridization; FISH]
Cultural Landscape Analysis
Marine Spatial Planning
See Pre-Approved SEA Semester Course Listing
NOTE: Core Curriculum designations on this list pertain to the OLD Core only
Advanced Ocean Policy Research (400-level, 4 credits)
Advanced policy research focusing on a topic of current importance (may include fisheries, biodiversity, marine spatial planning, and cultural heritage). Emphasis on theoretical concepts, research methods, and communication skills. Requries critical review paper, original research, final report and presentation.
Advanced Topics in Biological Oceanography (400-level, 4 credits)
In-depth treatment of a single topic in biological oceanography. Extensive review of classical and contemporary literature. Introduction and practice of current laboratory techniques. Oral presentation and written research proposal required. Topics may include marine plankton ecology, marine biodiversity, and satellite oceanography.
Directed Oceanographic Research (300-level, 4 credits)
Design and conduct original oceanographic research. Collect data and analyze samples. Compile results in peer-reviewed manuscript format and share during oral or poster presentation session. Emphasis on development of research skills and written/oral communication abilities.
Nautical Science (200-level, 3 credits)
Learn the fundamentals of sailing operation, in preparation for direct application at sea. Naviation (piloting, celestial and electronic), weather engineering systems, safety, and sail theory. Participate as an active member of the ship's crew on an offshore voyage.
Ocean Science & Public Policy (300-level, 3 credits)
Culture, history, political systems and science can shape ocean policy. Practice current strategies to build, analyze, and communicate about diverse policy issues. Examine the power, use and limitations of science and the scientist's voice in determining ocean policy.
All students are expected to live on the SEA campus in student housing. Each house accommodates 10 students. Please take note of the following:
- The cost of food is included in your program cost. Each house is provided with a weekly prepaid grocery card. Students provide their own food and do their own cooking in fully equipped kitchens. You will plan menus, shop, cook, and clean after meals as a house. This setup provides great community building!
- Bring bed linens and towels. Each student is provided with a pillow and a standard size twin bed. There are laundry facilities in one of the student cottages.
- Each student bedroom has desks and storage areas.
- Students may bring cars to campus. A bicycle is also helpful to have during the Shore Component (spring, summer, fall).
- No pets allowed.
On board ship, you will share space with up to 35 people. Your bunk will line the inside of the ship somewhere between the bow and the stern. Each bunk has two small storage areas. Though there is very little personal space, your ship and shipmates become your home and family for six weeks.
Take a virtual tour of one of SEA's ships!
For a detailed description of program costs please see the Program Cost in the box at the top of this webpage. Tuition is paid to USD, while program fees are paid directly to SEA. Sea Education Association (SEA) is pleased to announce a variety of merit-based financial aid awards for SEA Semester students. For more information, please click here.
A valid passport is required for all international travel. SEA will send information about country entry requirements. Be sure to follow all instructions from SEA.
CLICK HERE to watch the SEA Semester Video
Download the SEA Viewbook