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Marine biology students offered adventure and hands-on learning across Florida through a partnership between UWF and the Florida Institute of Oceanography

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

The University of West Florida is joining four other universities and the Florida Institute of Oceanography in offering a five-week, summer field intensive marine biology course from May 13 to June 19. This field-intensive course is a collaboration among faculty members from UWF, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, University of North Florida and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The course will allow students to obtain course credit while gaining professional research experience.

FIO is an Academic Infrastructure Support Organization with 30 members consisting of state and private universities as well as other private enterprises. As a member, UWF is the second largest user of FIO facilities. The partnership between UWF, FIO and other participating universities will allow students to conduct research at sites across the state and aboard one of FIO’s oceanographic research vessels.

“Not only do participating students gain first-hand experience with the tools and techniques of marine and coastal research, but they will also get to work with faculty and research scientists from across the state,” said Dr. Jeff Eble, UWF research associate. “This can help them decide where to apply to graduate school and who they would like to work with as a research advisor.”

The course has been designed for upper-level oceanography, environmental studies and biology students to offer hands-on learning experiences that emphasize the biodiversity, geochemistry and human impact on Florida’s coastal and offshore ecosystems. The students will travel around Florida, exploring the state’s coral reefs, mangrove forests, barrier islands and estuaries. Each week, students will work in small groups with local University scientists to address critical research questions and management issues. This experience builds on the knowledge students have gained in class and offers networking opportunities and advanced preparation for graduate school and careers in science.

The partnership between UWF and FIO opens up a new arena of learning that creates attainable goals for students to pursue careers in STEM fields following graduation. Additionally, the FIO is offering sixteen $500 scholarships to reduce the cost of the class.

To hear from students who participated in last year’s class please visit, http://fieldstudiesmarinebio2014.blogspot.com/ or check out this video https://vimeo.com/74328246.

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