Students interested in the long-term sustainability of populations and ecosystems are ideal candidates for an interdisciplinary marine conservation degree at Florida Tech. This field of study examines how to mitigate the pressures that development and climate change impose on natural systems.
Students build a strong foundation in biology and a well-rounded background in conservation science and ecological principles. With an emphasis on marine systems, students in the program learn how to conserve biological diversity, and protect rare, threatened, and endangered marine life.
In addition to biology and conservation, students in the marine conservation degree program build knowledge in chemistry, physics, and mathematics through hands-on undergraduate research activities. Florida Tech’s “fast start” approach means that first-year students get involved in research, engaging with faculty research teams in the lab and in the field.
There’s no better place to get a degree in marine conservation than at Florida Tech. Students spend a considerable amount of time learning outdoors in nearby natural laboratories, including mangroves, seagrass beds, creeks of the Indian River Lagoon, and the largest turtle nesting beaches in the United States. Here students learn how to conserve biological diversity and protect rare, threatened, and endangered plants and animals. At Florida Tech, marine conservation is not just something students study—it’s something they get out into the field and experience through hands-on research activities.
Students earning a degree in marine conservation benefit from the department’s small class size and personalized faculty mentorship, something larger universities cannot offer. Working with one faculty advisor who counsels them for their entire four-year program, students develop a strong working relationship for study, research, and internship opportunities. Professors are passionate about research, engaging students in a multidisciplinary program right from their first year.
Florida Tech’s biology department faculty prepare students for a career by involving them in hands-on research. This includes projects such as effects of climate change, restoring lagoon health, effects of overfishing, toxic algae, and others. Undergraduate students seeking to major in marine conservation often publish research results in scientific journal publications, and do research exchanges with other conservation and ecology universities.
Florida Tech’s curriculum emphasizes experimental design and investigation, making classes challenging and interesting. Cutting-edge facilities and laboratories give students experience using the tools they’ll likely have on the job. The 70,000-square-foot F.W. Olin Physical Sciences Center houses nine teaching laboratories, 19 high-tech research labs, a greenhouse, small mammal facilities, growth chambers, unmanned aerial vehicles, and state-of-the-art instrumentation:
Florida Tech is the perfect place for a BS in Marine Conservation. 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.
Students build leadership and professional experience through internships (see below) and participation in academic organizations like Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta, the national biological honor society), which recognizes students for outstanding academic achievements and teaches students from all disciplines about biology and its importance. The department of biological sciences also has an excellent track record of undergraduate publications. Students can also participate in student government as well as over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.
Florida Tech’s biological sciences department is an active community of scholars and students collaborating in hands-on field and lab work for robust academic experiences.
SeaWorld, National Park Service, St. Johns Water Management District, American Zoo & Aquarium Association and others have given Florida Tech students marine conservation internships and jobs.
Students take part in marine conservation internships and faculty-led research experiences on such topics as:
From the sea turtle conservation program at nearby Brevard Zoo to nearly every aquarium on the eastern seaboard, there are exciting interactive marine conservation internships for Florida Tech’s biology students.
Faculty research teams are involved in the investigation of heat stress and disease in coral reefs and the history of El Niño events on sea bird populations. Undergraduates are studying how invasive exotic species such as lionfish respond to climate change and the affect it will have on native species.
In addition to marine conservation internships and research, summer courses offer students the chance to do intensive field studies in places like the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Galapagos, Kenya, and the Amazon Basin.
Graduates of the marine conservation program at Florida Tech are well prepared to begin their career in conservation biology. A BS in Marine Conservation prepares graduates to conduct marine-related research, and protect and preserve ocean ecosystems. Marine conservation careers also involve preserving vulnerable species of marine life.
Graduates of the marine conservation program are well prepared to begin employment in any number of industries from environmental protection, wildlife management or research. Florida Tech marine conservation grads have been recruited by employers such as:
Graduates work in both commercial enterprises and government agencies, often doing scientific research and analysis related to conservation. Biological science graduates are also working at research-based non-governmental organizations, zoos, and aquariums, state and federal agencies, schools, museums, and other educational nonprofits, dealing with the pressures that urban development, fishing, and climate change have on natural resources. Individuals working in marine conservation careers work with landowners and federal, state, and local governments to devise ways to use and improve the land while safeguarding the environment.
According to NOAA, the employment outlook in the field is very competitive with the study of fish and marine mammal population dynamics being in the most demand.
The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions, and job outlook, among other things. While the Labor Bureau does not cite marine conservation careers separately, they do cite job growth for biological and wildlife scientists. Most jobs are related to the threats to wildlife and natural resources from human population growth, climate change, invasive species, and pollution.
Jobs for environmental science and protection technicians is on the rise due to public interest in hazards such as fracking facing the environment. Employment of conservation scientists and foresters is expected to increase by 7% through 2024. The greatest growth for conservation scientists and foresters is expected to be in federally owned forestlands. In recent years, preventing wildfires has become a top concern for government agencies.
Other marine conservation careers to consider include:
After receiving a marine conservation degree, many students often go on to master’s and doctoral programs for advanced degrees in biology, ecology, and marine conservation at Florida Tech, or from other institutions. Students most frequently continue their studies in: