CHP ICST 2014 Curaçao

ICST Overview

Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, is a unique natural laboratory in which to study coral reef ecosystem response to global climate change. The ICST trip is based out of the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity Institute (Carmabi) described at The ICST trip will include the exploration of the land-based ecosystems and cultural development of Curaçao in the cool of the mornings, and exploration of the water-based coral reef ecosystems in the afternoons when the island warms up. This trip will devote a small amount of time to clean up part of the coral reef. This ICST trip will be lead by Professor Bruce Fouke.

The group will tentatively leave from Chicago O’Hare May 31 and return June 12, 2014. The cost for each participant (including room, some meals, and entrance to various museums) will not exceed $1,750, including round trip airfare from Chicago O'Hare Airport. A hard copy of the application will be due to CHP by 5:00 pm February 3, 2014. Determinations will be made and announced by mid- February. Students must be proficient in swimming and comfortable around open water, and a preference may be given to those with lifesaving and/or previous SCUBA/snorkeling experience. The first non-refundable payment of $1000 will be due by February 28, 2014.

Any costs involved with SCUBA certification and equipment is optional and is the financial responsibility of the student. If you wish to become certified before the trip begins, special packages for SCUBA certification are now available through: Brad Knop, Midwest SCUBA, Ph: (217) 352-3118, Email:, Web:

Why Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles?

The island of Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, was chosen as the site for the trip for the following reasons:

  1. The University of Illinois has a long and productive history of research and education success on Curaçao through Professor Fouke's long-running research and teaching activities and collaborations on the island.
  2. Curaçao faces significant challenges in the wake of independence, but it also has substantial assets via a well-developed infrastructure, stable political and economic institutions, established universities, potential oil and gas resources, and a rich marine and terrestrial environment.
  3. Curaçao's long-term economic future is inextricably linked with careful management of its environmental assets. This creates a uniquely well-suited field laboratory setting in which to focus long-term biocomplexity and sustainable economic development research and teaching that has direct tangible impacts on society and the environment.
  4. These specific consequence-based aspects of Curaçao include: i) oil refinery remediation; ii) oil and gas exploration and development of an Curaçao-based oil and gas industry; iii) health and safety monitoring of drinking water quality; iv) coral reef disease prevention and reef preservation; v) sustainable eco-tourism; vi) biotechnology, bioprospecting and related entrepreneurship; vii) land management, urban planning, and environmental stewardship issues associated with military facilities.

University of Illinois Faculty

Bruce W. Fouke is a specialist in integrated research and teaching in the earth, environmental, and microbiological sciences. His teaching has included CHP 395 for several years. He has 25 years of research and teaching experience on Curaçao, which started with the completion his PhD. dissertation research on the geological and biological history of the island. This has since resulted in the publication of a book and multiple scientific publications about the coral reefs of Curaçao. He has specific expertise in building, funding, and sustaining initiatives that combine DNA biotechnology with geology, microbiology, physics, and chemistry to address a broad range of critical questions regarding the environment, energy, and human health. These projects currently include work in Curaçao, Belize, Papua New Guinea, Italy, and Yellowstone National Park, and are funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Chemical Society, and a consortium of international oil companies. He has a state-of-the-art 5,000 sq. ft laboratory dedicated to these projects in the newly opened $75 million Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois campus (on the web More information about Bruce Fouke's research and teaching program are available at: (1) Geology website:; and (2) Microbiology Website: