Franciscan Students to Get Up-Close and Personal with Marine Life

April 20, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
Enthusiastic tropical marine biology students will venture to the Florida Keys in January 2014 to gain firsthand experience with aquatic life and its ecosystem.

After studying marine life during the lecture component of the course during the fall 2013 semester, students will actively observe and apply biological and ecological principles in a genuine tropical marine setting. Throughout the classroom instruction, students will have learned about various aspects of geology, botany, cell biology, ecology, animal behavior, and zoology, all of which enable successful completion of the hands-on experience.

Six students participated in the tropical marine biology experience this past January and experienced Florida as never before-swimming with sharks, observing a manatee and an alligator firsthand, touring the Hemingway House in Key West, and completing six individual biological and historical research projects along the way.

The 2014 trip will be a five-day capstone experience designed to test each student's mastery of learned concepts. The experience, to be held at Newfound Harbor Marine Institute/SEACAMP, comprises 3 intensive 16-hour days of field experience on the water examining marine ecosystems, accompanied by evening lecture programs. Participants taking full advantage of this opportunity will gain a better understanding of the rich history and culture of the Florida Keys and Key West, while studying the area's environment.

Fieldwork will include assessing the coral reef ecosystem from the inshore mangrove hammock to the outer spur and groove of reef formations. Additionally, students will compare and contrast the Florida Keys ecosystem with others throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Participants will be assisted by state-of-the-art video equipment to capture and review necessary data.

2014's trip is set to take place Tuesday to Sunday, January 7-12, just prior to the start of the spring academic term. The course and its corresponding field experience are open to any dedicated Franciscan University of Steubenville students enrolled in the biology degree programs, as well as outside academic programs. Students interested in this opportunity should contact the professor in charge, Dr. Eric Haenni, for further details.

Franciscan University is an accredited Catholic university in Steubenville, Ohio. Offering 42 undergraduate majors, 32 minors, and 7 graduate programs, Franciscan University has consistently been ranked by the U.S. News & World Report's guidebook on "America's Best Colleges" as a top tier Midwestern University. Franciscan University of Steubenville maintains a mission to further the higher education of men and women through programs of liberal, professional, and pre-professional studies while also instilling moral, spiritual, and religious values in its students as guided by St. Francis of Assisi. For more information about Franciscan University of Steubenville, visit