Dive into Research

As a BCA student in Pondicherry, you will explore reefs, mangroves, estuaries, islands and coasts as you conduct marine science field research at a variety of sites including the Havelock and Nicobar Islands, the Andaman Islands and Mangalore Fisheries. In addition to hands-on experience in the field, you will take courses at the Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning (FERAL) related to marine science, conservation, chemistry, gender and culture and sustainable development.

The BCA India Pondicherry program covers a broad range of topics in coastal zone management and marine science and is hosted by five organizations including:

  • Foundation for Ecological Research Advocacy and Learning in Pondicherry (FERAL)
  • Andaman and Nicobar Environment Team in the Andaman and Nicobar islands
  • Madras Christian College, Chennai
  • National Institute of Oceanography in Goa
  • Annamalai Centre for Advanced Studies in Marine Biology in Porto Nova
  • Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute in Tuticorin

Foundation for Ecological Research Advocacy and Learning (FERAL)

You will spend most of your time living and studying at FERAL and take excursions and short stays at the other locations.

Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning (FERAL) is a non-profit research organization founded in 1997 and based in Pondicherry, India, with a field research center in Tamil Nadu.  FERAL emphasizes the value of ecological research and advocacy and focuses its mission on combining science with social justice initiatives.

  • Key areas of work include conservation oriented research, natural resource management, training and environmental monitoring.  A proactive role towards local environment issues is encouraged by engaging local communities in dialogue, as also through awareness and training programs.
  • Current work is with coastal communities to explore opportunities in sustainable resource utilisation and building strategies for restoration of native coastal habitats. Research also focuses on wildlife conservation biology and valuation of ecosystem services.  In addition, FERAL works with eight women's Self Help Groups in an effort to empower women belonging to low socio-economic status groups.
  • You will be able to apply your research at FERAL in a way that feeds into the current activities and benefits the host community.

Andaman and Nicobar Environment Team (ANET) in the Andamans

ANET’s primary aim is to help ensure the long-term survival of as much of the A & N natural biodiversity as feasible, while recognizing the needs of people, especially the threatened aborigines.

There are a variety of ongoing biological research programs, including a survey of sea turtles and crocodiles since 1977, sociological and ethnological studies and environment educational programs. Biological (botanical and zoological) inventories and impact assessments for three protected areas have been conducted.  Regular interaction with the Forest Department, Tribal Councils and local administration has helped in broadening the reach of information.  As a direct outcome of its biological research and networking efforts, ANET is able to develop well-informed and workable conservation strategies to help ensure the survival of endangered species and habitats.

Diving — The Andaman Island part of the program, in particular, requires students to have had diving training for certification (PADI Open Water Diving certification). In order to participate fully in this section of the program, you will need to present proof of such certification. This will ensure that you are adequately prepared to follow standard safety procedures involved in scuba diving.

  • Students will never be allowed to dive alone or without the appropriate supervision.
  • All students will have a dive card and will be required to show a dive log book.
  • If you have not taken a dive in the last six months, then you will be required to take a refresher course before participating in any dives on the program.
  • Alternative options for students who have no certification or are unable to dive include: snorkeling, low-tide ecology research, and compiling beach profiles.

The program will cover costs of instruction related to diving. Refresher courses, certification fees and additional dive costs are to be borne directly by the student.

Madras Christian College

Located in Chennai, the capital city of the state of Tamil Nadu, MCC is one of the oldest educational institutions and rated among the top ten liberal arts and science colleges in the country. Students will have classes and field exercises along with Indian students with the Department of Marine Studies and Coastal Resource Management at the Estuarine Biological Station located at Pulicat Lake. 

National Institute of Oceanography in Goa

Established in 1966, The National Institute of Oceanography is headquartered in Dona Paula, Goa.  Its mission is:

  • To develop knowledge on physical, chemical, biological, geological, geophysical, engineering and pollution aspects of the waters around India
  • To provide support to various industries, government and non-government organizations through consultancy and contract research
  • To disseminate knowledge on the waters around India

Annamalai Centre

Annamalai Centre for Advanced Studies in Marine Biology is located near Porto Nova in Chidambaram.  

Suganthi Devadason Research Institute in Tuticorin (SDMRI)

Based in Tuticorin, SDMRI is an institution of marine research and higher education. Its objectives are to cater to the research needs in the field as well as develop programs for the socio-economic upliftment of the coastal communities.