Sunday, October 21, 2018

– Marine Biology is available to rising juniors and seniors. It will count towards .5 of the 1 credit senior science elective requirement.

– The first two weeks will be spent at Jesuit. Students will complete a survey course that is structured around a variety of marine topics, including: oceanography, climate change, marine vertebrates and invertebrates, and ecosystems. This will incorporate multiple science disciplines (e.g., biology, chemistry, & physics), in addition to writing, reading, and understanding contest

– The third week will take place on Virgin Gorda Island, British Virgin Islands. Students will participate in classroom and field projects, as designed by Jesuit instructors and Dive BVI. They will participate in research to support the international efforts of Project AWARE, a nonprofit organization that seeks to conserve underwater environments through education, advocacy and action. A community service project will also take place on Virgin Gorda.

– Chaperones for the trip will be Ben Kirby ’00 and Todd Gruninger PhD ‘98

– The students will receive a grade for the course. In addition to participating in discussions, students will be required to complete assessments, assignments, research proposals, blog entries, and video diaries. A detailed syllabus will be distributed to students on the first day of the course.


  • Students will learn about research techniques and validity, human impacts on coral reefs and Caribbean marine ecosystems, fish identification and anatomy, and the application of science
  • Student will be provided experiences that incorporate science, culture, and service
  • Students will participate in international research project(s) and data collection
  • Students will become informed members of society and contribute to the preservation and understanding surrounding a precious and vulnerable world resource, the oceans.

Below are the cost estimates for the course.  This does not include passport fees (if applicable) and open water certification costs (if applicable).  N.B.: Payments can be made using check and/or credit card.  Miles/Points can be redeemed for airfare if available and they apply to group airline selection.

Item Estimates (2013)
Lodging-Guavaberry Spring Resorts – 7 nights $450
Airfare (DFW to Virgin Gorda) $750- $1,100*
Meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) $340
Diver Package (instructors, equipment, fuel) $700-$740*
Transport Fees (land and sea taxi) $160
JCP Tuition and Fees (all supplies) – this is a .5 credit course $800
TOTAL $3,200-$3,569

*cost dependent on date of booking and enrollment numbers


Week One (June 13-June 17 @ Jesuit)

The students will learn about the ocean currents and how they influence climate.  They will also learn about the substrates present in the ocean and how they are related to marine and terrestrial life.  They will do research on the many interdependencies that exist within and with marine ecosystems.  This will include several labs and projects that focus on water, shorelines, pressure, temperature, and salinity.

Week Two (June 20-June 24 @Jesuit)

Students will learn about how organisms coexist in the ocean.  This will include dissections and research reports on a variety of invertebrates and vertebrates.  They will also learn about the techniques scientists use to study changes, etc. in the ocean.

Week Three (at Virgin Gorda Island, BVI) *TENTATIVE*

2016 Dates: Group 1: July 3-July 10th and July 11th-July 18th (Students will choose one of these two travel weeks)

Day 1: Arrival to Beef Island, ferry to Virgin Gorda and orientation session.

Day 2: The morning will include an orientation session about the schedule, diving policies, course expectations, and boat/resort rules.  The afternoon will include shallow reef dives for acclimation and checkout dives.  Peak Performance Buoyancy will be conducted for divers to help fine-tune body position in the water.

Day 3: The morning will include a classroom session on fish, invertebrates, and coral identification.  Students will learn the social, political, economic and intrinsic value of coral reef ecosystems.  Students will also learn basic Caribbean fish and coral reef identification.  Before lunch, students will snorkel at Savannah Bay and view fish and habitats.  Lunch on the beach will be followed by a fish identification dive.

Day 4: A 2-tank dive at the RMS Rhone will be a great way to start the day!  Students will be able to see an amazing artificial reef and hopefully some wildlife.   We will have lunch at Cooper Island before heading out to snorkel around Cooper Island.  The focus of the day will be artificial reefs.

Day 5:  The morning session will consist of a 2-tank coral replanting experience.  This will be followed by on-board lunch and a possible excursion.  Details TBA.

Day 6: This day will be dedicated to service.  We will be performing a service center and spend time at the Baths.  The evening will include a BBQ on the beach!

Day 7: Our last full day will include a morning trip to learn about the turtle tagging program.  The evening will include our Dinner Banquet

*Both groups will attend Mass on Saturday or Sunday

All students interested in applying to the program should complete the online application provided in the link below. Dates for parent informational meetings will be posted soon.


Dr. Ben Kirby ’00
Assistant Principal of Academics
972-387-8700 x560

Dr. Todd Gruninger ’98
Science Department Chair
972-387-8700 x302