Marine Conservation, B.S.

Marine Conservation, B.S.

What is a Marine Conservation Degree?

Marine Conservation BSStudents 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.

Gain Practical Experience

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 freshman students get involved in research, engaging with faculty research teams in the lab and in the field.

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, making Florida Tech the ideal school for a marine conservation degree.

High-Tech Tools & Enrichment Experiences

Photomicroscopes, unmanned aerial vehicles, high-speed video cameras, a scanning electron microscope and all manner of laboratory equipment from genome sequencers to growth chambers are available to students seeking a marine conservation degree for study and research. Florida Tech’s biological sciences department contains teaching and research laboratories, small mammal facilities and a greenhouse.

A key ingredient to student success at Florida Tech is small class sizes and the one-on-one mentorship students develop with faculty. Beyond the classroom, students build leadership and professional experience through internships and participation in academic organizations like Tri Beta (biological sciences honor society), Student Government and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.

Get Recruited Upon Graduation

Graduates of the marine conservation program are well prepared to begin employment in any number of industries from environmental protection, wildlife management or research. Employers such as the American Museum of Natural Science, Baltimore Aquarium, Epcot, Florida Medical Entomology Lab and Sea World have hired Florida students for internships and employment.  

Earn an Advanced Degree

After receiving a marine conservation degree, many students often go on to masters and doctoral programs at Florida Tech, for advanced degrees in biology, ecology and marine conservation.

Why Pursue a Marine Conservation Degree at Florida Tech?

There’s no better place to get a degree in marine conservation than at Florida Tech, strategically located near 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.

Small Classes and Personalized Attention

Students earning a degree in marine conservation benefit from the department’s small class size and personalized faculty mentorship, something larger universities can’t 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 freshman year.

Work with and Learn from Internationally Known Professors

There’s no better place to major in marine conservation than at Florida Tech, strategically located near 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.

Small Classes and Personalized Attention

Students earning a degree in marine conservation benefit from the department’s small class size and personalized faculty mentorship, something larger universities can’t 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 freshman year.

Work with and Learn from Internationally Known Professors

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 research exchange with other conservation and ecology universities.

High-tech laboratories filled with modern instrumentation

Students seeking to major in marine conservation have access to the Atlantic Ocean marine ecosystems, as well as nearby natural resources such as forests, and the estuarine habitats of the Indian River Lagoon, which is ideal for biological research. Florida Tech’s curriculum emphasizes experimental design and investigation, making classes challenging and interesting.

High-tech facilities and laboratories give students experience using the tools they’ll likely have on the job. The 70,000-square-foot Olin Physical Sciences Center houses faculty laboratories, state-of-the-art instrumentation, and rooms for NMR spectrometers, photomicroscopes, photochemistry, and computational chemistry equipment.

Diverse Career Opportunities

A major in Marine Conservation prepares graduates for any number of jobs working for government organizations such as the National Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others, to working in private zoos, aquariums or research companies investigating ocean ecosystems, vulnerable species or effects of climate change.

A Great Florida Location

Other universities offering a degree in marine conservation can’t compete with Florida Tech’s location. The beautiful 130-acre campus is located in Melbourne, Florida, at the heart of the Space Coast. Not only is the area near 72 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches, it is minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America. There are many attractions that are also easily accessible, such as the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Brevard Zoo, Port Canaveral, and Sebastian Inlet. Warm tropical water and year-round warm weather conditions allow students to be in the field every day of the year.

How Will a Marine Conservation Degree Prepare Me For The Future?

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.

Students take part in marine conservation internships and faculty-led research experiences on such topics as:

  • The effects of overfishing on shark reproductive biology
  • How climate change effects the growth and health of coral
  • The impact on marine animals from toxic algae
  • How best to restore the Indian River Lagoon
  • How warming waters will bring new predators into Antarctica

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 Nino 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. Plus, summer courses offer students the chance to do intensive field studies in places like Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Galapagos, Kenya and the Amazon Basin. 

Cutting-Edge Research Facilities

Florida Tech’s facilities provide students access to the high-tech tools they will likely use on the job after graduation. The biological sciences department is located in the F. W. Olin Life Sciences Building, and offers nine teaching laboratories, 19 high-tech research labs, and a wealth of equipment including photomicroscopes, a scanning electron microscope, high-speed video cameras, centrifuges, genome sequencers and more. 

In addition to marine conservation internships and research, summer courses offer students the chance to conduct intensive international field studies in places like the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Galapagos and the Amazon Basin.

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.

Join Clubs and Organizations to Enhance Your Biology Degree

In addition to marine conservation internships, Tri-Beta biological honor society 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.

What Can You Do With a Marine Conservation Degree?

Graduates of the marine conservation program at Florida Tech are well prepared to begin their career in conservation biology. A Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Conservation prepares graduates to conduct marine-related research, protect and preserve ocean ecosystems. Marine conservation careers also involve preserving vulnerable species of marine life.

Career Outlook

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 on 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.   

Graduates may work in organizations such as:

  • U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Fish and Wildlife Service
  • St. Johns Water Management District
  • State Zoos & Aquariums
  • NASA
  • National Science Foundation
  • SeaWorld

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor 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 modest 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 seven percent through 2024. Most 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:

  • Director of Conservation
  • Marine Habitat Restoration Specialist
  • Naturalist
  • Marine Research Biologist
  • Habitat Biologist
  • Marine Fisheries Biologist
  • Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist
  • Director of Marine Education (in a Zoo or Aquarium)
  • Natural Resources Biologist
  • Curator of Animal Care and Conservation 

Entry Level Salary Expectations

PayScale.com is an online salary information company providing real-time information on job market compensation. Entry-level marine conservation careers are reported by PayScale.com to have salaries of $49,000 and a median salary of $51,054.

Get an Advanced Degree

For those who choose to pursue graduate studies before commencing employment, masters and doctorate degree programs are offered in:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Science – Ecology
  • Biological Science – Marine Biology
  • Conservation Technology
  • Environmental Resource Management
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Interdisciplinary Science
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