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Fisheries and Aquaculture, B.S.

Fisheries and Aquaculture, B.S.

What is a BS in Fisheries and Aquaculture?

Fisheries and Aquaculture BS

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, aquaculture continues to be one of the fastest growing industries around the globe as demand for aquatic food products increases. As a result, the need for aquaculture experts also continues to increase.

Fisheries and aquaculture are most commonly thought of as “fish farming”—the theory and practice of cultivating marine and freshwater algae and animals for food. The industry also provides opportunity in the development of chemical and pharmaceutical products, scientific research, species population restoration, food safety and sustainability, and the production of ornamental plants and animals.

With a fisheries and aquaculture degree, you might monitor the health and well-being of farm-raised fish, manage the technical operations of a hatchery, work for a government agency (such as the EPA or USDA), or be an integral part of the team at an aquarium or zoo. No matter what direction you choose, an aquaculture degree from Florida Tech helps you develop a strong background in biology and get hands-on experience in chemistry and zoology.

Gain Practical Experience

This course of study is very hands-on, with small classes and intensive faculty-student interaction. Hit the beach at the university’s oceanside marine laboratory and work on large-scale saltwater culture. Refine your practical skills in technical electives and specialized labs with the opportunity to undertake exciting independent or collaborative research with a peer or professor in a topic of your choosing.

Florida Tech’s professional grade aquaculture center provides high-tech instrumentation facilities and equipment for the production and study of aquatic wildlife, and Florida Tech’s Sportfish Research Institute involves students in the study of vital sport fish species through hands-on fieldwork. All this practical experience, as well as the availability of internships, showcases an active and robust learning environment that enhances your job search portfolio and prepares you for employment or graduate study.

Choose an Aquaculture Specialty as Early as Your Sophomore Year

Florida Tech’s fisheries and aquaculture degree program is dynamic and focused. In fact, Florida Tech established the very first undergraduate aquaculture program in the US in 1977 at our Vero Beach Marine Laboratory, nestled on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll experience a diverse range of study and complete core courses like Biological Discovery and Introduction to Aquaculture, before moving on to specialized courses in culture techniques of salt and freshwater algae, crustaceans, finfish and mollusks.

Guided by highly qualified faculty such as Dr. Junda Lin, program chair, who has 20 years of aquaculture research and education experience, you’ll work in teaching laboratories and high-tech research labs, choosing a specialty as early as your sophomore year to help you focus your studies.

Why Pursue a BS in Fisheries and Aquaculture at Florida Tech?

In 1977 Florida Tech established the first undergraduate fisheries and aquaculture program in the country and it remains one of just a few colleges offering BS degree programs. Students have an opportunity for undergraduate research and may apply for internships with university partners.

Florida Tech is an ideal location for students seeking an aquaculture university to prepare for a career. Diverse and vast natural resources such as the estuarine habitats of the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean’s marine ecosystem, marshes and wetlands surround the campus providing a wealth of opportunity for hands-on learning environments unlike any other in the world.

Florida is also the center of trade and production of marine ornamental species in the United States, giving the university a natural research focus for developing aquaculture technologies for marine ornamental species.

Internationally Recognized Faculty

As an aquaculture university, our faculty members stay updated with the latest developments in the field and take this knowledge into the classroom. Professors not only advance their fields through groundbreaking research on fish aquaculture and other topics, they also encourage students to conduct research in addition to their coursework. The program chair has been active in aquaculture research and education for over 20 years and was once a World Aquaculture Society board member.

Because of our small class sizes and experienced professors who are committed to student success, you receive valuable one-on-one attention. Attending an aquaculture university like Florida Tech gives you a unique opportunity to tap into a diverse program led by a faculty with years of experience in the field, and to participate in sponsored research and fieldwork activities. Florida Tech is THE aquaculture university of choice.

State-of-the-Art Facilities

Florida Tech offers its fisheries and aquaculture students innovative lab facilities and centers of excellence in which to learn and conduct research. As an aquaculture university Florida Tech concentrates on creating the most effective environments for study:

  • The 29,000-square-foot cutting-edge Harris Center for Science and Engineering serves the research needs of our fisheries and aquaculture and our and fish biology programs. Here, small-scale culture of algae, shellfish, and fish species is conducted.
  • The Vero Beach Marine Laboratory, a four-acre off-campus facility on the Atlantic Ocean, is where large-scale culture is conducted.
  • The Sportfish Research Institute involves students in the study of vital sport fish species like the Atlantic Tarpon through hands-on fieldwork.
  • The Neotropical Paleoecology Research Group studies climatic change on plant communities in tropical Central and South America by reconstructing the history of habitats and drawing patterns of biodiversity.
  • The biology lab contains eight teaching labs, twelve modern research labs, computer facility, and an electron microscopy suite.
  • The indoor aquaculture facilities at Florida Tech’s main campus total approximately 2,500 square feet, most of which is wet laboratory space. Recirculating systems ranging from small glass aquaria through 720-gallon tanks harbor a wide variety of aquatic species.

Controlled environmental factors can be imposed on any of these systems, providing outstanding capabilities for studies on virtually any aquatic species.

Located in the Heart of Florida’s High-tech Corridor

Florida Tech is the perfect place for a Fisheries and Aquaculture degree. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us), minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America.

The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides an abundance of internship and employment opportunities.

Florida Tech is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean with its 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.

Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations

Beyond the classroom, fisheries and aquaculture majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and opportunity for participation in academic organizations like Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta, the biological sciences honor society), the Aquaculture Society, student government, and over 100 other student organizations. Each of these experiences gives students a way to interact with other fisheries and aquaculture students, professors, and industry professionals.

TriBeta is a national biology honor society that aims to educate people on the importance of studying the biological sciences. This student organization takes part in a wide variety of activities and connects you to other fisheries and aquaculture students. Being part of a national society can also provide leads on available fisheries and aquaculture jobs. Recent “field trips” have included camping and hiking trips and a tour of NASA. Tri-Beta also sponsors picnics and banquets to bring together faculty, staff, and students.

How Will a BS Fisheries and Aquaculture Prepare Me for the Future?

Working in research labs alongside university faculty, you build valuable skills and a highly competitive resume to equip you for future aquaculture jobs. You also have an opportunity to get involved in the industry as students are often invited to present their research at regional and national professional meetings, or get published in research journals.

Peerless Study and Internship Opportunities

Internship activities range from hands-on experiences with marine life, comprehensive research on topics in aquaculture and marine habitats near the university campus, creating a wide variety of experiences available for Florida Tech students looking to prepare for aquaculture jobs. Our students have been recruited for and completed internships at many prestigious and widely recognized organizations including:

  • American Museum of Natural Science
  • Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program
  • Brevard Zoo
  • EPCOT Center
  • Florida Medical Entomology Lab
  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
  • SeaWorld

Through training and skills garnered from these opportunities, our students graduate with the confidence of knowing they have the experience necessary to take on aquaculture jobs in the field.

Superb/Stunning Undergraduate Research Opportunities

A plethora of research facilities both on and off campus allow our students to conduct in-depth research alongside faculty on many topics in fisheries and aquaculture. This experience is a valuable part of a student’s portfolio when searching for fisheries and aquaculture jobs. Some of the subjects you can expect to study and research include:

  • Marine ornamental species culture technology
  • Marine fish larvae culture
  • Dynamics of juvenile tarpon
  • The role of artificial reefs as habitats for sport fish species
  • Conservation of marine organisms
  • More efficient “fish farming”
  • Higher quality aquaculture technology
  • The use of the Indian River Lagoon as a fish nursery

By delving into research on these and many other topics, Florida Tech students gain valuable experience they can use in future fisheries and aquaculture jobs.

What Can You Do with a BS in Fisheries and Aquaculture?

Because aquaculture is a growing industry, graduates in fisheries and aquaculture can expect to obtain entry-level employment after graduation with private firms, government agencies, research laboratories, commercial food and ornamental fish companies, or public institutions such as museums, aquariums and zoos. With a solid foundation in biology and agriculture technology, you can also choose a career in research, or teaching, or pursue a graduate degree program. Florida Tech grads receive a strong background in biology based on such courses as culture techniques of salt and freshwater algae, crustaceans, finfish, and mollusks—a background necessary to effectively compete for fisheries and aquaculture jobs.

Get Recruited Upon Graduation

Employers that have recruited Florida Tech students with a fisheries and aquaculture degree have been recruited by:

  • The American Museum of Natural Science
  • Baltimore Aquarium
  • EPCOT
  • The Perry Institute for Marine Science
  • Perry Institute for Marine Science
  • Sea World Florida
  • American Museum of Natural Science

In addition, you can also find employment in federal (e.g., EPA, USDA), state and local agencies, commercial food and ornamental aquaculture production facilities, zoos and theme parks, and research laboratories.

Career Outlook

So, what types of fisheries and aquaculture jobs exist for Florida Tech grads? The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), contains information such as median pay, employment growth and working conditions about hundreds of jobs. The handbook lists fisheries and aquaculture jobs and similar occupations that include:

  • Agricultural manager
  • Agricultural and food science technician
  • Agricultural and food scientist
  • Agricultural engineer
  • Environmental engineer
  • Biological scientist
  • Zoologists and wildlife biologist

Graduate and Doctoral Programs

After receiving a fisheries and aquaculture degree, many graduates go on to master’s and doctoral programs at Florida Tech and other prestigious universities, including:

  • Harvard
  • Columbia
  • UC Berkeley
  • Duke
  • University of Florida
  • University of South Alabama
  • University of Miami
  • University of Texas
  • University of South Florida
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