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NSF International Research Experience for Students
May 9 - August 14, 2022

The Advanced Studies Institute in Australia is a National Science Foundation IRES Track II funded course run by  Dr. Lauren Nadler and Dr. Tyler Cyronak at Nova Southeastern University.  The program provides graduate students with the opportunity to engage with global experts in coral reef science. Students will spend 3 weeks abroad at two remote field stations in northeastern Queensland, the only place in the world where two UNESCO World Heritage sites meet – the Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics Rainforest. We will explore the many disciplines of coral reef science to foster a transdisciplinary research approach in the next generation of reef scientists.

Course Overview


The 2022 IRES Australia Transdisciplinary Coral Reef Science course will be run from May 9 to August 14, 2021. The field portion of the course will last 3 weeks from May 30  to June 20 in Northern Queensland, Australia. We will visit two iconic field sites - The Lizard Island Research Station and The School for Field Studies Center for Rainforest Studies - where US based graduate students will interact with Australian coral reef scientists immersed in the ecosystems they study. Coursework will take place both before and after the international portion of the trip and will be offered as hybrid in-person and online. Students are expected to conduct an independent research project as part of their coursework.

This annual semester-long, 6-credit graduate course will be divided into three components: (1) pre-departure lectures and preparations over a blended in-person/online platform, (2) an in-person and hands-on learning and research experience in Australia, and (3) post-return lectures and guided work on independent projects over a blended in-person/online platform.   


•Opportunity to engage in cutting edge coral reef research at two remote field locations

•Interact with global experts in coral science

•Professional development activities

•All foreign expenses covered



•US citizen or permanent resident

•Currently enrolled MS or PhD students working in the field of coral reef science

•Fully vaccinated for Covid-19 (current immigration requirement for travel to Australia)



Applications are open to graduate students across the US, with a key priority to recruit students from traditionally underrepresented groups (women, persons with disabilities, and minorities). Interested students should email an application package attached as a single pdf document to by March 7, 2022.

**A link to the recording of the Zoom informational session held on March 3 at 5pm EST is below**

Application packages should include the following in a single pdf file:

  • A copy of your graduate transcript(s)

  • A CV summarizing education, employment experience, relevant professional achievements (e.g. publications, awards, grants), and evidence of service/leadership (2-pages)

  • A professional statement on how the course will advance their professional and career goals (1-page)

  • A diversity statement describing the student´s experiences with and commitment to promoting diversity in coral reef science (1-page)

  • Contact information for two professional references (one from your graduate supervisor plus one additional professional mentor. **References will not be contacted until after the initial screening**


Applications will be assessed on the following criteria:

  1. Career advancement: Will the course aid the student in advancing their graduate research and/or reaching their career goals?

  2. Strength of candidate: How successful has the candidate been in prior graduate coursework and other professional metrics?

  3. Diversity: Does the student have the potential to contribute a unique and under-represented perspective on coral reef science?

Funds for the field portion of the course are completely covered by the NSF IRES grant. Tuition for 2 elective graduate courses will need to be covered by the student.

Key Dates in 2022

March 3 - Informational Zoom conference

March 7 - Applications due

March 14-March 18 - Student interviews

March 21 - Decisions sent to applicants

May 9 - Course starts meeting on a weekly basis 

May 30 to June 20 - Overseas portion of the course

August 14 - Course ends

Course Instructors


Lauren Nadler

Nova Southeastern University


Sarah Davies

Boston University


Brad Eyre

Southern Cross University


Tyler Cyronak

Nova Southeastern University


Morgan Pratchett

James Cook University


David Tng

School for Field Studies


Cynthia Silveira

University of Miami


Michele Barnes

James Cook University


Anne Hoggett

Lizard Island Research Station


Phil Bresnahan

UNC Wilmington

Charlie 2001_edited.jpg

Charlie Veron

Corals of the World

Learning Objectives

The Advanced Studies Institutes will help to address the current shortage in transdisciplinary researchers equipped to deal with the problems facing coral reefs and other marine ecosystems.

Through participation in these ASIs, students will:

  • Understand the role of social-ecological factors in coral reef conservation.

  • Acquire modern scientific communication skills by writing a series of blogs and through readings and lectures.

  • Obtain practical scientific skills and expand their scientific network through the implementation of independent projects.

  • Develop an inter- and transdisciplinary understanding of coral reef science through field based training and lectures in a range of disciplines, including biogeochemistry, behavioral ecology, ecophysiology, molecular biology, environmental social science, population & community ecology, virology, climate change ecology, and chemical sensor technology.

  • Gain scientific presentation skills in a range of modalities by writing a report summarizing their research findings and presenting their project during a presentation at the end of each ASI during a student symposium. 

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