CMB’s 9-day Integrative Biosciences Program provides students with the unique opportunity to join frontline scientists on a fascinating, authentic scientific journey that combines interrelated field and laboratory work. Obtaining SCUBA certification is an integral part of this rich scientific learning experience. In contrast to recreational dive training, CMB introduces SCUBA within the context of a specialized curriculum that emphasizes diving as an important tool for scientific discovery.

Under the guidance of CMB’s professional SCUBA instructors and highly skilled support divers, students safely explore one of the most astonishingly diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. In the vital undersea kelp forests surrounding California’s northern Channel Islands, students gain a first-hand appreciation for the complex interrelationships that exist among the diversity of plant and animal species that inhabit these fragile ecosystems. Upon successful completion of their certification requirements, all students conduct underwater scientific work.

The nature and scope of field work varies according to session topic, but is always intimately linked to the work performed in the CMB laboratory. For example, during the Biomes to Genomes Program, students conduct traditional underwater surveys to monitor the abundance of marine fish and invertebrates, and later apply a high-tech genetic approach to inventory kelp forest biodiversity. For the Nature’s Engineers program, students collect locally abundant biomineralizing sponges and later investigate their remarkable glass synthesis strategies. During the Genomes to Connectomes program, student divers immerse themselves in an almost alien, Pandora-like underwater landscape of marine luminescence, and later explore how marine-derived fluorescent proteins are used as molecular flashlights to study nervous system development in model organisms.

SCUBA-related study materials are included in the applicant’s follow-up enrollment packet. Prospective CMB divers are expected to thoroughly study these materials in preparation for their SCUBA classes and examinations, which will begin promptly on the night of their arrival at the CMB laboratory. All confined water dives will be performed at Ventura Dive and Sport, a world-class SCUBA facility located just a few steps from the CMB lab. All divers participate in six ocean water dives aboard the D/V Raptor.

Students who possess a diving certification at the time of enrollment will be required to participate in a refresher class and a check out dive before being approved for program-related SCUBA activities by our instructors. Opportunities to pursue advanced research-related dive activities are provided to previously SCUBA certified students.

CMB is now proud to offer a specialty certification for advanced divers: PADI Research Diver. Developed through a collaboration between CMB scientists and professional SCUBA instructors, this course formally introduces students to underwater survey techniques utilized by professional research divers to monitor marine biodiversity.

Experienced and highly trained professional diving instructors carefully supervise students during all underwater-related activities. Our staff is available to address any safety concerns and to discuss our stringent diving safety policies with interested parents and students.

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