Open 9 am - 5 pm
Program participants stand in ankle-deep water peering into the water for animals.
Fish in all shapes, sizes and colors swim among the blue waters of the Caribbean.

Program overview

Marine and Island Ecology of The Bahamas is an upper-level undergraduate course open to students currently enrolled in an ACCA school. This class covers basic ecological concepts as they pertain to subtropical marine and island ecosystems. Material covers general fish, invertebrate and plant ecology, with an emphasis on identification of key species and their roles in the ecosystem. Conservation management as it relates to island ecosystems is also covered. Field research methods are introduced and applied during a nine-day field research excursion to the Bahamas aboard Shedd’s research vessel, the R/V Coral Reef II.

Program description

Classes are held at Shedd Aquarium on six Saturdays in March and April. Classes consist of a combination of lectures and hands-on activities at the aquarium, utilizing the collections and expertise of Shedd. Lectures cover the major communities of subtropical marine and island ecosystems, and the interactions among these communities. There is a large emphasis on reading and understanding primary literature. Following the classroom component, students travel to the Exuma Cays, Bahamas, aboard the R/V Coral Reef II. The boat is our home and classroom as we travel from island to island, spending the days snorkeling and hiking and gaining hands-on field research experience.

Program outcomes

After taking this class, students will

  • understand ecological dynamics of various tropical marine systems
  • apply scientific knowledge in an authentic environment
  • apply “system thinking” when studying marine ecology
  • become familiar with reading and interpreting primary scientific literature
  • learn taxonomy and scientific names of key tropical marine species