Coral reefs are one of the world’s greatest treasures. Sadly, on a global scale they are at a heightened level of stress due to climate change and direct anthropogenic impacts. During this program, you will conduct research in the distinct and diverse ecosystems found only in the Caribbean, including coral reefs and mangrove forests.
Learn more about the the Cayman Islands program
March 8 - 15, 2024
* The travel begins on a Friday due to travel concerns in the Cayman Islands. Students with Friday classes will be responsible for notifying their instructors, that IU instructors are not required to allow an excused absences for missing class on that day because of study abroad program travel, and that the student should be prepared to have it recognized as an unexcused absence
Please Note: This course will meet one day a week during the 1st 8 weeks of the spring semester before travel to the Cayman Islands over spring break. The program director will reach out to finalized group of students to figure out a time that works best for all.
E482 / E582 Coral Reef Restoration & Conservation (3 cr)
Instructor: Stephen Glaholt
Please Note: The meeting day/time for the first eight week portion of the course will be determined as a group after acceptance decisions have been made.
Over the first nine weeks of the spring semester students and instructor will meet for 2 hours each Friday. These meetings will consist of lectures, discussions, classroom activities (e.g. stakeholder debates among students) and a water safety training session. Lectures will be provided by the instructor, invited guest lecturers (via skype) and student presentations. Take-home assignments will be assigned to prepare students for service and learning at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI). Once on-site, students will study research methods in class and in the field, help with the CCMI work on coral restoration, and participate in long-term research projects to help the island maintain its valuable and cherished natural ecosystems. Students will gain experience in coral restoration, as well as, basic research methods such as conducting underwater surveys, running transects, coral bleaching surveys (CoralWatch), fish surveys (AGRRA), and remote underwater visual surveys (BRUV).
A major focus of this program will be coral restoration, in which CCMI is a leader in this field. Two globally endangered coral species, Staghorn coral and Elkhorn coral, are being studied and grown in the CCMI nursery using multiple methods. Students will work in the nursery to learn restoration techniques and will collect data and conduct maintenance on the out-plantings in which their newly acquired surveying techniques will be applied.
- Participate in coral restoration and maintenance of a coral nursery
- Conduct an underwater survey
- Field trips to marine protected areas and replenishment zones
- Work with fish survey transects
- Conduct a coral survey, including a bleach survey (CoralWatch)
- Enjoy a mangrove snorkeling trip
With only 200 permanent residents on the 11 square mile island, Little Cayman Island is one of the safest places to visit in the Caribbean.
You will share dorm-style accommodations with male and female only rooms. Each room will be furnished with beds, AC unit and overhead fans. CCMI also has multiple living room style spaces and a study/computer room, all equipped with high quality wireless internet access. CCMI is located less than 1 mile from the island’s hospital and is within easy access to restaurants, the general store, bank and post office.
All meals will be prepared by CCMI staff, so you will eat as a group. This cost is included in the program fee.
Note: Your IU Bloomington Bursar account will be charged two amounts for participation in this O’Neill International program:
- O’Neill International program fee (two payments)
- IU Bloomington Tuition
2024 Cayman Islands Program Fee: $1400
Please see attached fee schedule for a breakdown of program cost.
The program fee will be charged to your Bursar account in two installments:
- A $250 non-refundable pre-payment shortly after you confirm your participation in the program
- The remaining amount will be charged in January
The program fee for this program includes:
- Medical insurance
- All meals
- Travel between the airport on Little Cayman and CCMI
- All class activities, including laboratory and field equipment
IU Bloomington Tuition: 3 credits
If you are enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student on the Bloomington campus during the spring semester and enroll in the course as part of your block credits, there is no additional tuition cost to participate in this program.
Students from other IU campuses, graduate students, and part-time students will pay for 3 credit hours of tuition, based on your student status on the Bloomington campus.
The program fee does not cover airfare, snorkel gear (i.e. mask, snorkel and water shoes), non-program related activities, or any personal expenses incurred outside of the instructional program. The estimated cost for airfare is $1,200 and you should expect to spend between $20 to $100 on snorkel gear (on the higher end if a prescription mask is needed).
The O’Neill International Equal Opportunity Scholarship is available to help O'Neill students from IUB and IUPUI study abroad. Students on the Cayman program are also able to apply for our environmental scholarship. Please visit our scholarship page for eligibility requirements and application deadlines.
Other scholarships are available on a competitive basis.
The program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students from any IU campus. Undergraduates must have a minimum 2.8 GPA. Graduate students must be in good academic standing. Students not meeting the standards will be considered on a case-by-case basis and are encouraged to apply.
If you are not from the Bloomington campus, you can “attend” the Bloomington lectures via Zoom from anywhere. However, there will be one water safety training event that you must attend in person -OR- opt out of by proving you have enough water related experience (e.g. lifeguard training, high school swimmer, etc).
During the application period (September 1 - October 1) an "Apply Now" button will be available at the top of this page. You will need to submit the online application by 5 pm on October 1.
If you have any issues throughout the application process, please do not hesitate to contact the O'Neill International Office, 812-855-7568, firstname.lastname@example.org.