Director:  Dr. Paul Sikkel Program Dates: May 31 to June 14, 2002 Cost: $1,770

The 2002 KIIS program in Caribbean Marine Biology will be based on the island of Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico sits in the tropical western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea roughly halfway between southern Florida and South America. It is the smallest and easternmost of the Caribbean islands known as the Greater Antilles, which include Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Approximately 30 miles to the east begins the chain of Eastern Caribbean Islands known as the Lesser Antilles which extend all the way to South America.

Puerto Rico’s interior includes mountains, lakes, and tropical rainforests, while its perimeter provides access to a wide range of marine environments, including mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, salt marshes, and coral reefs. Like the rest of the Caribbean, Puerto Rico’s people and culture reflect a diversity of influences from Amerindians, Africans, and Europeans.

Although a commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony throughout much of its history. Thus, while English is widely spoken, Spanish is still the most widely used language, and the cultural atmosphere bears a heavy Latin flavor. In 1493, Columbus wrote of Puerto Rico, "All the islands are beautiful, but this last appears to exceed all others in beauty."




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