Education and Outreach

At the Center for Climate and Life, we’re committed to engaging students and the public with science. Our goals are to provide young leaners with authentic research experiences, promote greater climate literacy, and facilitate awareness of humanity’s relationship to the environment.


The Center for Climate and Life supports summer research internships for both upper-level high school students (typically those in their junior year who are interested in science) and junior-year college students majoring in science. Interns are selected competitively each year to conduct original research with a Ph.D. scientist mentor on topics central to our mission. Participants gain authentic, meaningful research experience, and learn about ongoing changes in the functioning of the planet’s climate system, life-sustaining land and ocean ecosystems, and their relevance to human sustainability. The goal of this program is to inspire and train the next generation of scientists, and to advance our education and outreach to broader society.


Corals grow in tropical ocean basins and are very sensitive to temperature changes, so they thrive in regions where ocean temperatures remain consistent. These undersea ecosystems are under increasing stress, due to warming ocean temperatures. When this happens, corals may eject the colorful algae living inside them and turn white—a phenomena known as coral bleaching.

To track the evolution of coral bleaching and learn more about its triggers, Center for Climate and Life scientists partnered with the World Surf League and goFlow to launch Bleach Patrol, a citizen science project and app about coral bleaching. The goal of the project is to monitor coral bleaching events in real time through reports about bleaching and reef health from citizen scientists around the world. By engaging a worldwide community of people to gather data, Bleach Patrol aims to improve understanding of and response to coral bleaching.


The need for public understanding of the ocean—and its relationship to global climate—has never been greater. As part of our partnership with WSL PURE, Columbia’s School of Professional Studies will establish an educational model designed to offer classes in ocean sciences for students at all levels; funding from tuition will be reinvested in ocean research. These programs will leverage the expertise of our scientists to increase understanding of ocean health and climate, and create a new community of ambassadors for the ocean.