Earth and biological sciences hold underwater class
Jerry Rivinius (left), director of campus engineering, LLU, and Karen Hay (right), research specialist, blood disorders research, LLU, learn to clear their masks from dive instructor David Swain.
It wasn’t the usual school class for nine Loma Linda employees—scuba diving was a big part of the course. Stephen Dunbar, PhD, assistant professor of marine biology, School of Science and Technology, taught “Field Tropical Marine Biology” at the Reef House Resort in Roatan, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. The resort is the same place where Dr. Dunbar helps protect endangered sea turtles with the owners of the Reef House. (See sidebar to learn how you can adopt an endangered sea turtle.)
Before the trip, a few evening classes were held at LLU, and then on September 10, the class embarked on its diving adventure. The night before each dive, Dr. Dunbar presented classes on certain marine life, which the students would look for the next day while diving.
In addition to their 10 dives that week, including a night dive, students were also able to choose between two side trips: swimming with the dolphins or diving w
Sabine Dunbar, MSN, RN, assistant professor, School of Nursing, receives a kiss from a new friend.
ith the sharks—Flipper or Jaws. For some students it was an easy choice.
Waihuka Divers took about half the students on the grey reef shark escapade. The others went to Anthony’s Key Resort, where they each received a kiss from a dolphin and swam with the friendly animals.
Besides diving, the best part of the class, according to Dr. Dunbar, was seeing the students become enriched in a new field. “It was great to have people from Loma Linda who are typically not involved in marine sciences participate in marine conservation and marine biology. To see their eyes opened regarding biodiversity and the conservation efforts we’re doing down there, was one of the best parts of the trip,” says Dr. Dunbar.
Next summer, he plans to teach the same class. In fact, many of the students asked if they could go again and repeat the course next summer. For more information about next summer’s class, contact Dr. Dunbar at ext. 48903 or through the class website at <www.llu.edu/llu/grad/natsci/dunbar/field>.
By Patricia Thio