Queen fish tropical marine biology
Puerto Rico snorkeling student

Tropical Marine Biology Field Course - Puerto Rico Tropical Marine Biology Field Trip to Coral reefs, Seagrass meadows and Mangrove Forests of the Caribbean

Level 3 Module: Puerto Rico 

Key facts

  • BIO 327 Tropical marine ecology field course - 20 credit module
  • January 10th to January 24th (approx. dates) - Magueyes Island Marine Field Station, Puerto Rico
  • Prerequisite - BIO 330 Tropical marine ecology and conservation
  • Key competencies required by departure – swimming, snorkelling and duck diving
  • Opportunity for experienced and well qualified SCUBA divers to learn underwater research skills 
  • Cost = £1800   (£300 university bursary – student pays £1500) 

Ever wanted to snorkel on incredible Caribbean coral reefs, experience the world-famous bioluminescent bay, be lucky enough to see a Manatee in the wild or come face to face with a Barracuda? This field course provides those, and many more amazing opportunities. Run on the beautiful Magueyes Island, this field course presents a fantastic opportunity to study marine ecology in a unique and exciting environment and at the same time live on a paradise island overrun with Iguanas. 

The island is surrounded by coral reefs, mangroves and lush seagrass. Manatees and Dolphins are commonly sighted and some years students have even snorkelled with the Manatees.

During thirteen days in the field, you will have the opportunity to snorkel coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangroves, get involved with international monitoring projects, run independent group research projects and utilise the excellent facilities of the University of Puerto Rico marine field station.

This field based module aims to provide:

  • An introduction to the ecology of tropical marine systems
  • Students with key practical skills required by tropical marine biologists.
  • Students with training in how to design, implement and report scientifically robust marine research.

The module complements the existing marine biology field course (UK) and helps develop further key skills in field based marine biology, building on students experience gained during their final year dissertation projects. Students will learn skills in marine ecology and taxonomy, in-water marine sampling and surveys, and impact assessment.

This module will be mostly practical based but will also include theory lectures, workshops and feedback sessions. It would be structured around a series of directed practical activities and then a small group based mini-project.

The field course will utilise snorkelling and intertidal walking as the major means of sampling throughout directed practicals. Students will also get the opportunity to do some boat based activities. The module will require on site and UK based assessments but will not require an exam.


Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the USA and located in the north eastern Caribbean.

The field station is on 18 acre Magueyes Island within a protected embayment off La Parguera, 22 miles from Mayagüez. In addition to classroom and laboratory facilities, the marine station has indoor and outdoor aquaria and tanks with running sea water and three museums containing reference collections of fish, invertebrates, and algae. The field station also has a range of research boats.

Travel will be via Gatwick airport and costs will include all travel from Swansea University. All costs are inclusive of accommodation, food and drink

Students in Puerto Rico
Seagrass meadow image