Tropical Coral Reef Ecology in Nevis

Coral Reef in NevisMuskegon Community College’s Life Sciences Department and Math/Physical Science Department are offering a study abroad course – Biology/Geology 250: Tropical Coral Reef Ecology – this summer from May 30 – June 6, 2020 on the Caribbean island of Nevis in the West Indies. (Note: an optional second session of June 7-13, 2020 is available for an additional cost).

Limited to 10 students, the course offers students a chance to study the biology, geology, and ecology of the tropical coral reef ecosystems in the West Indies. Specifically, the course explores the local, regional, and global threats to coral reefs.

The MCC team will explore a coral reef ecosystem using monitoring methodologies developed by the Reef Check program: these include significant hands-on underwater research and data collection. In addition, students will be introduced to the history and culture of the island, and rainforest ecology.Divers by Coral Reef in West Indies

During the travel experience you will:

  •  Spend 8 days on the island of Nevis
  • Monitor the health of the reefs around St. Kitts and Nevis, West Indies
  • Contribute real-world data to the effort of saving the Earth’s coral reefs
  • Become a certified EcoDiver through the Reef Check organization, which will allow you to collect data from reefs around the world and submit the data to Reef Check
  • Explore a rain forest and learn about medicinal plants
  • Experience the food, music and culture of a Caribbean island.
  • Participate in research and data collection


  •  2.0 GPA
  • Successful completion of 12 credits
  • 18 years of age
  • Valid US passport
  • Enrollment in BIOL/GEOL 250 Lecture in winter 2020 (2 credits/2 contact hours)
  • Enrollment in BIOL/GEOL 250 Lab in summer 2020 (1 credit/1 contact hour)

The $3,400 course fees includes:

  •  airfare and bag fees from Grand Rapids to St. Kitts
  • transport to Nevis and transport while on Nevis.
  • lodging and food for 7 days and nights
  • travel insurance
  • a rain forest hike and historical island tour
  • dive fees (2 dives per day for 6 days) and dive equipment rental
  • dive lessons and certification dives through a private dive shop in Grand Rapids.
  • Course fee is assessed when enrolling in BIOL/GEOL 250 Lec in the winter semester.
  • Tuition for the course is not included in the course fee and does not include passport fees or international entrance/exit fees, money for additional food, snacks, or excursions not included in the course.
  • Course fee will cover your first checked bag each way.
  • It is recommended that you purchase, at minimum, your own dive mask.
  • Students are required to sign up for a 1-credit lab during the summer semester.

Important Information:

  • You must complete an application and be accepted into the course before you can register. Email Professor Mattone or Professor Kumpf for an application.
  • While you are not required to be SCUBA certified to participate in the course, it does provide a different level of enjoyment and learning than snorkeling.
  • You can take the course for Biology or Geology credit.
  • This course will count towards the ASA/MTA.
  • Tuition payments can be spread out over 5 payments using the FACTS payment plan. Contact the Financial Aid office for more information.
Click here for a list of Biology/Geology 250 FAQs
Click here to apply for Biology/Geology 250: Tropical Coral Reef Ecology

For additional information, contact:

Darren Mattone
(231) 777-0398

Amber Kumpf
(231) 777-0463

Click here to read student updates and to view pictures from the 2018 Nevis experience