If you have questions about this program, email the program leader listed below.

Coral Reef Research Study Abroad

Program Details

The arrangements for the travel, housing, meals, excursions and course content of this program have been made by the leader. Questions about this program can only be answered by the program leader listed below.

Program Type Departmental
Program Location Placentia, San Ignacio, Belize
Course # SA 10802
Duration Summer
Upcoming Program Dates
Summer 2024 05/05/24 to 05/19/24

Program Leader

Name Greg Michalski
Email gmichalski@purdue.edu
Click here to enroll in this program!
Please Note: Programs may be altered or adapted with little notice

Program Description



Please contact program leader for more information.

The ReefCI Check program is a comprehensive assessment of the health of coral reefs. It is a coral reef monitoring protocol that is more focused on the unique marine ecosystem of Southern Belize that employs simple techniques that non-scientific divers can easily master. The program aims are to collect scientifically robust data in order to monitor and report on coral reef ecosystem health. Purdue students will scuba dive and record “indicator species” that reflect both ecological and economical value and are sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances, specific to the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve.

Students will count the male and female Parrot fish, Groupers, Surgeon fish, Butterfly fish, Grunts, Snappers, and the invasive Lionfish. Invertebrates, coral bleaching/disease, trash and coral damage will be recorded and the substrate composition thoroughly mapped. Purdue students will also participate in the Belize Coral Watch Program, an organization that ECOMAR developed based on the goals and objectives of the Mesoamerican Reef Coral Watch Program. This is a simple, non-invasive method for the monitoring of coral bleaching, and assessment of coral health. Other attempts to monitor coral bleaching often involve costly satellite-born technologies, are restricted to locations researchers are working in and often require sampling of live tissue for physiological analysis. The Coral Watch coral reef monitoring approach using simple methodology is the first attempt to provide useful data on a relatively large scale with the help of an inexpensive, ‘user friendly’ and non-invasive device.

Purdue students will trained how to recognize the difference between coral bleaching and coral disease and how to identify paling, part bleached and whole bleached coral. All submitted data will be analyzed and made available on the project’s website meaning that data will be available for different regions of the world. This will make it possible to compare the condition of many different reefs at any one point in time, as well as the condition of a single reef over time. Purdue students will also tour and learn the history of a Mayan archeology sites: Tikal in Guatemala. Ancient Tikal was occupied as early as 1200 BC. Its greatest period of construction was in the Maya Classic period, between 600 and 900 AD. The town grew into one of the largest ancient Maya cities, covering some 65 square miles with an estimated peak population of about 120,000 or more.

Academic Credit

The trip and  will be 1 credit.


All undergradautes are avaiable

Program Cost

Students pursuing program participation accept financial responsibility. Purdue will take measures to mitigate financial risks, although will not be liable for loss.

Current estimated program costs is $3900. This does not include airfare. Includes ground transportation in Belize, 1/2 food and all lodging, scuba diving, research, and tourist fees. In addition if you are not currently a certified diver, there will be a Spring semester certification that runs about $230.

Application Deadline

Application deadline is Feb. 15th

Financial Aid

Purdue University financial aid may be applied to the costs of studying abroad. Students interested in receiving financial aid should

NOTE:  Recipients of certain tuition remission and scholarship programs should pay careful attention to the regulations for using those benefits for study abroad.  Ask your financial aid advisor about any limitations.

Click here for a list of scholarships and grants available to assist with the costs of studying overseas.