BIO 349: Tropical Ecology

Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles (where?)

March 15-23 (Spring Break), 2014


Dr. Dave Unger | Sutton Science Center 106 | (865) 981-8009 |

Course Goals:

  • 9-day Field-based component of a semester-long course on Tropical Ecology.
  • To familiarize students with the biota (plants and animals) and their relationships with the tropical environment of a different country (Bonaire).  Specific focus: coral reef ecology.

Course Description:

Bonaire is the premier diving site in the western hemisphere. It is the only island globally in which the entire reef is national park. The diversity offered by its reef and the diversity on land (ranges from desert to sub-tropical jungle) provides a haven of learning for students.  The island is small, the facilities are safe, the history and culture of the island is deep, rich and fascinating.  The course is primarily ecology/conservation/natural resources based, but will also have a specific historic and cultural component designed to expose students to an entirely different culture.  ANY MC student will be able to go on this program, but must be enrolled in the semester-long BIO 349 course.

Tentative Itinerary:

Friday, March 14   Travel to Bonaire

Saturday, March 15   Arrival in Bonaire, orientation, check-in, first dive from resort

Sunday, March 16   Hiking and diving in Washington Slagbaii National Park & Night Dive

Monday, March 17   Shore Diving (AM), Boat Diving (PM)

Tuesday, March 18   Open Dive Day  - Report your dive sites to Dr. Unger

Wednesday, March 19   Boat Dive (AM), cultural/historical tour of Rincon (PM), night dive

Thursday, March 20   Birding Day (AM), tour of island's natural areas (PM), night dive

Friday, March 21 Shore Diving (AM), Boat Dive (PM) - Stop Diving by 8pm

Saturday, March 22   Rincon Free Day, Red-eye flight home

Sunday, March 23  Travel Home


This trip will carry 4 credits. Selected students will be enrolled in a 4-credit semester long spring course called BIO 349.  The Bonaire program is the lab for this course.  Fee below is the travel/lab fee for the course.  Tuition for the course is included as part of spring tuition.

Approximate Costs: $3,250

The price includes: Roundtrip airfare, local transportation, housing,  Scuba certification, 1 meal/day, field trips, international travel insurance, application fee, and deposit.

Not included: Passport, immunizations, 2 meals/day, gifts, & personal expenses

*Please note that prices are tentative and may fluctuate based on variation in exchange rates, number of participants, price fluctuations in actual airfares and fuel surcharges, or administrative overhead

Application $100 Fee:  
Due March
1st, 2013

Deposit of $200:
Due April 15, 2013

Application for Spring Break 2014 Program (Faculty-led Program Application)

Scholarships Available