New Program Offers Hands-on Learning, Renowned Faculty
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology’s College of Science is launching a new Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences – Marine Conservation degree in the fall. The new major will offer participants a carefully designed blend of hands-on learning, participation in real research and guidance from the university’s world-renowned faculty.
Mitigating the pressures that urban development, fishing and climate change impose on natural marine systems will be a global research focus in coming decades. Marine conservation is an interdisciplinary field that embraces these challenges and seeks to tackle the long-term sustainability of populations and ecosystems.
“Students in this program will build a strong foundation in biology and a well-rounded background in conservation science and ecological principles. The emphasis is on marine systems, but students will develop the skills necessary for conservation work in any setting,” said Mark Bush, chair of the Conservation Biology and Ecology Program in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Coursework emphasizes ecological principles, experimental design, implementation and analysis. Access to and training with in-demand technologies such as geographic information systems, R statistical software and other tools are priorities. Courses in environmental law, natural resource economics and media communication will give graduates from the program the skills required to serve as ocean diplomats to the public, or aid in policy debate and implementation.
The program’s research opportunities will range from work on marine microbes and molecular marine ecology to dolphins, tarpon, invasive lionfish, reef-corals and the rich fauna of Antarctica. Fieldwork is required and is available locally in the Indian River Lagoon and through summer field courses in the Galapagos Islands, Florida Keys, Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Cuba and other locations.
Florida Tech’s Marine Conservation program offers skills that are in high demand, including population genetics, tracing pollution, remote tracking using drones and tags, analysis using geographic information systems, and ecological modeling.
These offerings, coupled with the program’s deep professional network, will help prepare graduates for positions in organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers and the St. Johns River Water Management District, as well as environmental consulting, and wildlife management and research companies.
“Graduates will be ready to face the challenges associated with global climate change, pollution and habitat loss, as well as the growing threat of invasive species,” Bush said.
The Marine Conservation bachelor’s degree is eligible for Florida Tech’s Fast Track program, allowing students to earn both their bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in conservation technology in five years.
Click here for more information on the marine conservation degree program.