Center for International Education

BIST Honduras 2013

Course: Coral Reef Ecosystems SENS 226
Instructors: Gary Mahoney and Robert Foster

Based on the Honduran Bay Island of Utila, this course will provide a firsthand study of fragile eco-systems. Students will study island and coral reef ecosystems including the organisms that call those places home and their interactions and interdependencies. Current threats to the survival of coral reefs also will be examined and discussed. Students will obtain diving certification (students who already possess a diving certification will take an advanced certification course) and work on skills necessary for conducting surveys. Then students will explore several areas of coral reef — photographing, cataloging, and studying the behavior of the resident species.

The data collected will be submitted to REEF (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) and become a part of their international data base. On the surface, students will learn rudimentary bird identification skills, will survey the birdlife on and around the island of Utila, as well as sites on the mainland. The data will be sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology via their website. Students will develop an understanding of how different birds and fish have adapted to their environments and will examine the impact of human development on those environments.


For specific questions about this course, contact Dr. Gary Mahoney or Dr. Robert Foster.

For general questions about the BIST application process or scholarships, contact the Education Abroad Team at or (859) 985-3453, or drop by 205 Woods-Penniman.