Iowa State University

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Agriculture Study Abroad

International Field Trips in Biology:

Caribbean Marine Biology


(Biology Program, GDCB, and Biomedical Sciences)

Application Deadline: 10/31/2011

Please click here to apply for the program!



Caribbean Marine Biology



This program is specifically designed to provide students with a unique field marine biology experience. The seminar portion of the course involves lectures on coral reef biology. The field trip portion of the course will involve on-site lectures at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS) by local experts and extensive diving/snorkeling activities in a variety of marine habitats on the world's second largest barrier reef system. Subject areas appropriate for this course include: Biology, GDCB, EEOB, NREM, BBMB, Marine Biology, Zoology, Genetics, Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine, Biological Premedical Illustration, Life Sciences.

Please click here to visit the course website.


Term: Spring 2012   Travel Departure Date: 03/10/2012   Travel Return Date: 03/17/2012


Tentative Travel Itinerary

Saturday, March 10
AM departure from Des Moines airport.
PM arrival on Roatan, clear customs, transfer to Hotel, orientation and check in.

Sunday, March 11
7:00-8:00 Breakfast
8:00 Orientation to RIMS
8:30 checkout equipment/dive at dive dock
9:30 Reef dive/snorkel - White Hole/PADI Referral students start check out dives (O/W dives 1 and 2)
12:00- 2:00 Lunch
2:30 Dive/Snorkel
5:00 Coral Reef Ecology and ID Lecture and Slide show: Jennifer Keck (Education Coordinator and Marine Biologist at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences)
7:00-9:00 Dinner

Monday, March 12
7:00-8:30 Breakfast
8:30 Dive/Snorkel/ PADI Referral students check out dive 3 and 4 (South side of Roatan)
12:00-2:00 Lunch
2:30 Dive/Snorkel/ PADI Referral students check out dive 4
4:30 Reef Fish ID Lecture and Slide show: Jennifer Check
6:00-10:00 BBQ on Key - reggae band, limbo

Tuesday, March 13
7:00-8:00 Breakfast
8:30 SCUBA dive/snorkel
12:00-2:00 Lunch
12:00 Dolphin Swim (6 people)
2:30 Dive/Snorkel
4:30 Dolphin Lecture 1 (Introduction, evolution anatomy and physiology: RIMS classroom: Jennifer Keck)
7:00-9:00 Dinner

Wednesday, March 14
7:00-8:30 Breakfast
8:30 Dive/Snorkel (Key Hole) -projects
11:00 Rocky Intertidal at Western tip
11:00-2:00 Picnic lunch at Tabyiana beach/snorkeling
2:00 Dive/Snorkel (West End wall #4) -projects
7:00-9:00 Dinner

Thursday, March 15
7:00-8:30 Breakfast
8:30 Dive/Snorkel (Peter's Place) REEF fish survey
1:00-2:00 Lunch
12:00 Dolphin Swim (6 people)
2:30 Dive/Snorkel- Pillar Reef Transect point survey of coral reef substrate.
4:30-6:00 Dolphin lecture 2 (Intelligence, training: RIMS classroom: Jennifer Keck)
6:00 Night Dive
7:00-9:00 Dinner

Friday, March 16
7:00-8:00 Breakfast
8:30 Dive/Snorkel- Wreck of the El Aguila (The Eagle)
11:00-12:30 Man -O-War Key mangrove and lagoon snorkel
12:00-2:00 Lunch - BBQ on Key
3:00 Coral Reef Survey pilot study:
3:30 Student Presentations:
4:30-5:30 Dolphin lecture 3 (Conservation issues: RIMS classroom: Jennifer Keck)
5:30 Student Presentations
7:00-9:00 Dinner

Saturday, March 17
6:00 Breakfast
7:00 Depart AKR for Roatan airport

Depart Roatan for the U.S.

Course Requirements:

Students must possess an exceptionally strong desire to learn more about marine science and the marine environment. Students should have at least one year of college-level biology. Students must be very comfortable in an aquatic environment (i.e. extensive marine activities: snorkeling and/or SCUBA diving). If you have questions about these course requirements please contact the course instructors.

Program Cost Description:

The program cost consists of three parts: 1)Program Fee; 2) Other ISU Fees; and 3) Out of Pocket Personal Cost.

Program Fee: Estimated at $3,000

The program fee includes airfare, accommodations and 3 meals daily at Anthony's Key Resort (AKR) (Sat. - Sat.), RIMS marine biology program, two dives/snorkeling daily, one night dive/snorkel, RIMS lectures on coral reef biology and dolphins, educational dolphin platform sessions and dolphin snorkel, trip insurance, tips for baggage handling, housekeeping service, waiters, chefs, divemaster, and boat.

The program fee does not include SCUBA class and materials, SCUBA certification with open-water dives, and rental of SCUBA/snorkeling gear, Roatan departure tax (estimated at $35), vaccinations, immunizations and preventive medicines, and other incidental expenses that you may incur.

Other ISU Fees - 1) $10 program application fee to the Ag Study Abroad office; 2) $105 study abroad administrative fee charged by Study Abroad Center

Out of Pocket Personal Cost - In addition to the above costs that are not included in the program fee, you will also have the following out of pocket personal cost:

1) passport which costs $135 if you don't already have one (if you are in the College of Ag and Life Sciences, you can stop in 111 Curtiss to find out how you can be reimbursed for the cost of a passport ); 2) health insurance if you are not covered on your existing policy; and 3)ISIC (International Student ID Card) which costs $26. Of course, there are also other personal costs, such as souvenirs, etc.

Program fee and the $105 administrative fee will be applied directly to your Ubill in spring 2012.

If you are a first time traveler and in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and need a passport, contact our office for information on how to be reimbursed for the cost of your passport.


Program Contacts




Donald Sakaguchi


502 Science II


Dusan Palic

Biomedical Sciences

2036 Vet Med




Program Course Number
BIO/BMS 394 a and b 2 credits for spring 2012