Marine Ecology

Marine Ecology of the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa

BIO 312 (3 credits)

The Mediterranean Sea, the world’s largest enclosed body of water, has a high level of biological diversity. The coastal shelf below the 46,000 kilometers of coastline contains a wide variety of rich and important habitats: seagrass meadows, rocky intertidal zones, and estuaries. All these ecosystems are spawning and nursery areas for some of the main fish species used by ancient and modern civilizations. Surrounded by 27 countries and territories, the management of the sea has become a challenge for environmental groups, NGOs, and governments.

This course will study the main coastal and marine ecosystems and the physiology, behavior, and ecology of marine and coastal organisms. It will also cover the uses and misuses, the protection measures implemented, and how interactions of different civilizations have shaped and “humanized” the Mediterranean environment. You will compare the management practices between Europe and the north of Africa by traveling between the two continents and visiting key ecosystems, research facilities, and special interest areas.

Integrated throughout the course will be the skill set for earning a SNSI Diving Certification. The diving instruction will combine theory in the classroom setting and dives in the surrounding bodies of water: the Minor Sea and the Marine Reserve of “Islas Hormigas.” During these dives, you will also apply theoretical terms acquired in the classroom. This course will be taught in English.

Costs: The costs for Marine Ecology are included in your program fee. During the pre-semester seminar, students receive breakfasts and some group lunches/dinners but should budget approximately $250-$350 for additional meals.

NOTE: In order to participate in the Marine Ecology seminar, students must be able to swim and must submit a medical statement signed by the student’s physician and a waiver form. The medical statement and waiver form will be provided to the students by their admissions counselor. The seminar schedule, itinerary, and procedures are subject to change without notice.


The seminar is led by Mónica Pérez-Bedmar who teaches global change and sustainable development.