In recent years, 35% of Saint Michael's biology majors have had a study abroad experience - it's highly recommended. However, it does require planning, so speak to your academic advisor during your first year so that you can get a plan in place that will allow you to study abroad.
Faculty-led Study Trips
The Biology department takes students on faculty-led study trips during winter break. Students can gain field experience studying tropical rain forests or coral reefs and earn 2 academic credits:
Costa Rica: Tropical Ecology Study Tour (Biology 250)
This study tour provides an introduction to tropical ecology including tropical climates and topography and their effects on ecosystems. The sites include a tropical dry forest at Palo Verde National Park, a mid-elevation cloud forest at Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, and a premontane rain forest at Selve Verde Preserve. Activities include guided hikes, our own group hikes, early morning bird walks, a boat ride, and night hikes. Students generate study questions from observations made on the field trips and on the last full day at each site students gather data for a study that they have designed. Students analyze and interpret the data and give oral presentations on their studies. Students also keep a field journal on plants and animals we encounter and on their observations on conservation, ecotourism impacts, and sustainable development.
Cuba: Coral Reefs (Biology 254)
This is an intensive 11-day field course to study coral reefs and associated habitats in Cuba, which has some of the most pristine reefs in the Caribbean. The course focuses on the health and diversity of the coral reefs as well as the ecology and behavior of the marine fish that live in association with a coral reef. Coral reefs are one of the most productive of the world’s ecosystems, and there is extraordinary complexity of interactions among the biotic and abiotic components. Studying this ecosystem in a direct and intensive way facilitates an understanding and appreciation of the intricate inter-relationships within a biological community. In addition, this fragile ecosystem provides us with an opportunity to observe and analyze the impact of various environmental threats, both natural and anthropogenic, such as coastal development, pollution, and global climate change. Students may snorkel or dive but must be scuba-certified in order to dive.
Saint Michael's College is also an affiliate member of the School for Field Studies, which provides semester-long and summer programs in natural resource ecology and management at its field stations in Costa Rica, Mexico, the Turks & Caicos Islands (in the eastern Caribbean), Australia and Kenya.
Cuba: Coral Reefs (video)