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The Caribbean

This exciting tropical ecology program has been led for more than ten years in the Caribbean during the January winter intersession in two lovely locations: on the island of St. John’s in the U.S. Virgin Islands and on the island of Tobago in Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. The natural beauty of the Caribbean offers visitors and learners pristine splendor and many perfect locations to study and explore biology and tropical ecology in a natural setting.  The exact Caribbean Island and program location will be determined later.  You will no doubt enjoy the chance to study the flora and fauna, both on land and by snorkeling in the sea, on this exciting winter intersession program.

Biology and Tropical Ecology in the Caribbean


Study and explore tropical ecology with CSI faculty leaders on a beautiful Caribbean island on this short-term January field study program.  Discover the rich variety of native wild-life and plant-life, through first-hand study while hiking and snorkeling and journaling your findings. There will be opportunities to even explore at night, with walks and night snorkel options. This will be an exciting learning adventure that you will always treasure! 


This winter the course will be taught in the Caribbean, in the US Virgin Islands. The exact program location will be determined later.

Please know the dates, costs, and program for 2024 will be similar to what is now posted, and we will update the site when info becomes available.

Information Sheet
Faculty Leader Lisa Manne
Faculty Leader Email
Advisor Stephen Ferst
Advisor Email
Minimum GPA 2.5
Class Standing 1 Freshman, 2 Sophomore, 3 Junior, 4 Senior, Graduate, Non-Matriculated
Min Required Number of College Credits Completed in Order to Apply 12
Language of Instruction English
Areas of Study Biology, Botany, Ecology, Sciences
Housing Option Dorm
Program Open to CSI Students, Non-CUNY Students, Other CUNY Students



BIO 217 - Intro to Tropical Ecology, is a 3 credit biology course that introduces students to tropical ecology with emphasis on differences in the tropical versus temperate system: differences in climatic regimes, habitat types, phenology of natural processes, and species to be found in the tropical versus eastern North American temperate environments. It will be an intensive immersive course held at a tropical field station on the island of St. John, and will provide you with an opportunity for study of a tropical environment within a different culture.  The final syllabus is TBD.

This course is taught and led abroad by CSI faculty from the Biology Department:

Please direct all questions about this exciting program to Stephen Ferst, Executive Director, Center for Global Engagement, at


Read an exciting article about Dr. Manne and Dr. Veit doing research with CSI students near Antarctica this summer 2023!

Dr Veit and Dr Manne take CSI students to do field research of birds and mammals in the Southern Sea near South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula



Housing is to be determined.  Past participants stayed at the Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station (VIERS). VIERS is a biology field station and an eco-camp which offers guest rooms for overnight guests, classrooms, meeting tent, library, restrooms, showers, and a dining hall.  In keeping with this natural setting in a tropical rainforest, the camp makes use of solar power and operates ecologically with a very small carbon footprint.  Meals will be provided. Participants will share dishwashing and light housekeeping responsibilities with other campers.

Click this link to see a beautiful video montage submitted by a January 2019 student who participated in this program.  Though the location was in Tobago, rather than St. John, the Tropical Ecology course and the format of the program are similar.




5:30am Optional dawn hike, field work some days

7:00am Breakfast

8:00am Field work; hike or snorkel

12:00pm Lunch (occasional bag lunch packed at breakfast)

1:00pm Siesta; journal writing; Rest time/Reading time;

Optional hike/snorkel

2:30pm Field work; hike or snorkel

6:00pm Dinner (group meal in town one night)

7:30pm Classroom lecture and discussion; update species list; "sights of the day"; orientation for next day; journals

8:30pm Evening activity: night snorkel; land arthropod hunt; swimming in bioluminescence; star-gazing; campfire.



To be eligible, students must be able to swim in the ocean, as ocean snorkeling is part of this program. 
Minimum 2.5 GPA required.  Minimum 12 completed credits at the time of application. 
PREREQUISITES — ENG 151 English Composition, BIO 170/171 General Biology and BIO 180/181 General Biology II, or equivalents.


Dates & Costs

Please note all dates and costs are subject to change.

   Winter 2023       Estimated January 5 - 15, 2023       $ 2,850   

Program Cost includes: On-site program instruction and activities, housing at the VIERS eco-camp (or similar housing), meals, local and domestic administration, international medical and accident insurance, and orientation. 

Program Cost does not include: CUNY tuition 3 credits $915 (based on NY State resident senior college tuition; out of state students pay a non-NYS tuition rate), Airfare - $500-600, Personal Expenses $100-$200, passport (US passport is $140). 

Application Deadline:
January Winter Intersession: October 15 

Application Deadline may be extended.