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  • Locations: Bimini, Bahamas
  • Program Terms: Fall Break, Maymester
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Maymester 2019 10/31/2018 11/30/2018 05/05/2019 05/25/2019
Fact Sheet:
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Program Type: Faculty-led Area of Study: Marine Science
Eligibility: 18 years or older at time of departure, GPA: 2.5 College: College of Science
Language of Instruction: English Scholarship Opportunities (not exhaustive): CCU College of Science Study Abroad Scholarship, CCU Honors Program Global Enhancement Award, Clara Carter Higgins Scholarship, Explorers Club Exploration Fund Grants, Hagan Scholarship, Horry County Higher Education Commission International Awareness Award, International Education Financial Aid, Marilyn and David Domke Study Abroad Scholarship, Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant, The Jane Gluckman and Carol Rausch "Go Global" Scholarship
Program Description:
The "Biology of Sharks" faculty-led program is an exceptional opportunity for field experience at the Bimini Biological Field Station (BBFS) in the Bahamas. The course features lectures, discussions, analysis o­f research papers, frequent field trips, video presentations, and personal encounters with several species of large, actively feeding, and free-swimming sharks. Lectures focus on broad aspects of the biology of sharks, including: diversity, evolution, anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, fisheries, captive biology, conservation, and biomedical uses. The majority of the academic work will be field-oriented. This fieldwork will introduce students to research techniques used at Coastal Carolina University and BBFS, where research on sharks has been ongoing for over 20 years.

Before leaving for Bimini, students will participate in a number of classroom activities (lectures, discussions) focused on introducing them to the biology of sharks and their trip to Bimini. We will take a half-day research cruise on the R/V Coastal II, during which we will set several experimental shark longlines. Any sharks captured will be identified, measured, sampled for DNA, and tagged and released. After a short but rigorous training session and observing the experienced Coastal Carolina University shark team set and retrieve the longlines and handle the sharks, students will be given an opportunity to do the same. 

Biology of Sharks is truly the course that keeps on giving: after graduating, many students return to the Bimini Biological Field Station as volunteers or interns, and several have earned paid positions at the lab. Students will spend substantial time on a daily basis in and around the water and on boats. All participants should be in good physical condition, must be able to swim and snorkel, and must be able to stay in the water for up to an hour. Students must be able to tolerate tropical heat and sun conditions and have no medical contraindications for water activities. Students will need to take a swim test as a prerequisite of the course.