Three Seas, Three Ecosystems

 

The Three Seas program component of the MS Marine Biology degree track provides students the opportunity to spend a year studying marine biology in three different marine environments: New England (Nahant, MA), the Caribbean (Bocas del Toro, Panama) and the Pacific Northwest (San Juan Island, Washington). This is a unique opportunity for students to live and work in the environments that they are studying.

Each year a maximum of twenty four students study together for an academic year, beginning with the fall semester in Nahant, Massachusetts, at Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center. A variety of pristine intertidal and subtidal communities are well-suited to help provide a strong foundation in marine biology and ecology.

After the winter break, a 10-week session is spent in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Bocas del Toro, located on the Caribbean Sea. Coral reef ecology, ocean and coastal processes, as well as tropical terrestrial ecology are taught using Panama’s diverse tropical ecosystems and unique geographical location as classroom and laboratory on both the Caribbean and Pacific coasts.

The Three Seas program concludes with an 8-week session at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratory on San Juan Island, Washington. Rocky intertidal, subtidal kelp forest, and soft-sediment habitats provide the varied seascape that the spring classes explore.