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Programs and Lectures

While our approach to education at RIMS is “hands-on”, the staff at RIMS can offer lecture and slide show presentations to enhance the underwater experience. These lectures provide important introductions to the integrated tropical marine communities of Roatan. RIMS can also facilitate the study of cultural interests and tropical terrestrial interests, including island geology, botany, ornithology, and ethnology.

Coral Reef Ecology

This lecture provides an excellent introduction and review of coral anatomy and physiology, nutrition, reproductive strategies, growth requirements, reef development and unique structural formations found on Roatán. Threats to coral and the status of the reefs in Roatán is also addressed. Depending upon the group’s background and prior instruction, this lecture may serve as an excellent refresher or as new material

Coral Identification

This presentation is a great way to identify the major coral species of Roatán and their unique characteristics. A lab in which coral species can be keyed out by examining skeletal specimens may accompany this lecture. Coral Identification and Reef Ecology can be combined into one condensed lecture if desired.

Reef Fish Identification

With keen eyes and close survey one can easily observe in excess of 60 species of reef fish on any given dive. The key is being able to identify them. This presentation discusses the most commonly observed fish species, their identifying characteristics and some of their more fascinating characteristics and behaviors and how they interact with each other and their environment.

Marine Invertebrate Identification

Invertebrates make up 95% of the over 2 million described species of animals. This fact is most apparent in the oceans where they make up over 88% of the multi-cellular species. Most people don’t appreciate these critters as much as they should. This lecture identifies some of the more diverse and unrelated creatures that make up the marine invertebrates. Major phyla of marine invertebrates and the commonly seen species will be discussed.


This lecture discusses mangrove distribution, species identification, adaptations and the many important functions of the these extremely important coastal communities. This material is most effectively reinforced with a site visit to Man-O-War Key where there is an extensive stand of mangroves and tidal creeks in which snorkeling and direct observation can be conducted.

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Coral Reef Monitoring Techniques

The primary methods used to monitor coral reef biodiversity will be discussed with emphasis on the techniques RIMS uses in a long term monitoring project designed to monitor the coral, reef fish, invertebrate populations, and certain environmental parameters over time. This lecture is a good lead in to reef monitoring practice in the field.

Coral Reef Threats:
Roatan’s Changing Reef

This lecture discusses the natural and anthropogenic stresses that coral reefs are under and how these stresses are conspiring to change the face of coral reefs around the world. RIMS has over 18 years of data on how the reefs of Roatan have changed over time. The data collected from this study is presented here with particular emphasis on changes in coral populations

Dolphin Lecture Series

This course is an excellent opportunity for students to acquire a broad knowledge and appreciation of the bottlenose dolphin. This course provides an overview of dolphin anatomy, physiology, cognition, communication and social dynamics of these remarkable marine mammals. Conservation and captivity issues are also addressed. These lectures incorporate what we have learned about these animals at RIMS with worldwide research. This material can be abbreviated into one session or can be extended into 3 more in-depth lectures.

Sea Turtles

This lecture gives a great introduction to these amazing yet endangered species. Characteristics of sea turtles, species identification, nesting and emergence of the hatchlings and major threats are covered. This lecture also details a successful conservation study in Costa Rica involving the Olive Ridley turtle. This study illustrates how both animals can live together and each benefit.

Sea Turtle
Marine Algae

Algae is an important lifeform on the reef. This lecture reviews the major classes of marine algae, and identifies some of the more common species observed in the different marine habitats of Roatan. This lecture is great when followed by the collection and identification of different species in the field.

Bay Islands: Past, Present & Future

This lecture explores the cultural history of the Bay Islands and how its landscape has changed as different peoples have settled here. Present day issues and how the impacts of development has effected the natural resources of the island. The lecture also discusses the future of the islands if current development and tourism increases.

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