A College of the Atlantic undergraduate is exploring environmental issues related to climate change, conservation, and sustainability of the world’s oceans in a groundbreaking new study abroad program.

Undergraduate students from top colleges and universities nationwide are utilizing the newly created Ocean Health Index to explore environmental issues in a groundbreaking new study abroad program offered by Sea Education Association.

Roshni Mangar ’16 is participating in SEA Semester’s new Global Ocean study abroad program. She finished up her last week of classes on shore in Woods Hole, Mass., and will be flying to Auckland, New Zealand, to board the sailing ship SSV Robert C. Seamans, Nov. 14 through Dec. 23.

“SEA Semester: The Global Ocean” is the first undergraduate program in the world to incorporate metrics of the Ocean Health Index — a comprehensive, global evaluation of the human impact on the world’s oceans — into curriculum. After a highly selective application process, 23 students were chosen to spend six weeks on shore at SEA Semester’s campus in Woods Hole and six weeks at sea, sailing as crew and scientists on board SEA Semester’s state-of-the-art ocean research vessels in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

First outlined in 2012 to support current ocean resource management policies including the U.S. National Ocean Policy and the EU Maritime Strategy, the Ocean Health Index was created through the work of more than 65 scientists and ocean experts from organizations the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Conservation International, National Geographic, the New England Aquarium and others.

The Index uses 10 metrics — biodiversity; food provisioning; carbon storage; coastal protection; sense of place; tourism and recreation; artisanal fishing opportunities; coastal livelihoods and economies; natural products; and clean waters — that aim for a comprehensive comparison of ocean health over time and between countries.

Mangar, a Davis United World College Scholar, has volunteered with the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society in her native country of Mauritius; served in an internship with Allied Whale, an affiliate of College of the Atlantic that lists whales in the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue; and is one of 10 scholars receiving a $1,000 Maine Sea Grant Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences for the 2014–15 academic year, in partnership with the University of New England, Maine Maritime Academy, and the University of Maine campuses in Orono and Machias.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit http://www.coa.edu.

Sea Education Association is an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education. For nearly 45 years and over one million nautical miles sailed, SEA has educated students about the world’s oceans through its Boston University accredited study abroad program, SEA Semester. SEA/SEA Semester is based on Cape Cod in the oceanographic research community of Woods Hole, Massachusetts and has two research vessels: the SSV Corwith Cramer, operating in the Atlantic Ocean, and the SSV Robert C. Seamans, operating in the Pacific.