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  • Locations: Key Largo, FL, United States;
  • Program Terms: Maymester
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Cost of Attendance Sheets: Maymester
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Category: UGA Domestic Classes With: U.S. Students, UGA Students
College/School: Ecology Language of Instruction: English
Minimum number of credit hours: 4 Maximum number of credit hours: 4
Scholarship Availability: Yes
Program Description:

This program will not be running in 2020. For information about 2021, please contact the program director.

Tropical Marine Invertebrates and Ecosystems Field Study

If you can imagine waking up in the morning, grabbing a cup of coffee and then going snorkeling to study anemones, corals and other organisms in the marine environment, then this is the course for you. The Key Largo Marine Research Laboratory, located on Florida Bay, will be the home base for the course. We will get to know some of the common invertebrates found in the local tropical marine environments (Everglades, mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs), learn about these ecosystems, and explore the animal’s and plant’s basic biology and ecology. All students will enhance their research skills by developing a research project that can be completed in about a week, starting with formation of hypotheses and experimental design, through data analysis, submission of a scientific paper, and an oral presentation. Please contact Dr. Fitt for more information.


Program Location

The program is located in Key Largo and the Florida Keys, FL.

Program Director 

Bill Fitt
William Fitt, Professor & Graduate Faculty
UGA Odum School of Ecology

Office: (706) 542-3328
Fax: (706) 542-3344
Biological Sciences building, Rm. 305

Academic Program

Class time
ECOL/BIOL/MARS 4330/4330L - Tropical Marine Invertebrates and Ecosystems
Covers the main invertebrates living in mangroves, seagrasses, or on coral reefs. The course will take place in Key Largo, Florida and include a trip to the Everglades. Topics include: ecology, physiology, global climate change, evolution, what species made reefs in the past, what species will survive the future.
  • Prerequisite: science major
  • 4 credits (meets the Organismal or Lab requirement for Biology majors!)

Housing and Meals

There are several bedrooms with from 1 to 4 beds per room.
The unit has 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, screened porch for meals and lectures, a beach and dock, with plenty of water to swim/snorkel in!

Program Itinerary

Marine life
Maymester: May 16 – May 31, 2020:

Saturday May 16         6AM: drive to Key Largo, go for a swim, dinner, orientation (chores, organization)

Sunday May 17           AM: “Coastal marine ecosystems”, review goals for the course, field trip: what lives in Florida Bay?
                                    PM: Lecture:  “Light” 
                                    Eve: Lecture on invertebrates of Florda Bay, talk about projects, hypothesis testing                                                   

Monday May 18         AM: “Mangroves”, Field trip: Little Buttonwood Bay, “Cut” experiment
                                   PM: Cassiopea 
                                   Eve: Lecture 1

Tuesday May 19         AM: “Seagrasses”  Field trip: Anne’s beach
                                    PM: Cassiopea (Aki)
                                    Eve: Lecture 2

Wednesday May 20    AM: “Nutrients on coral reefs”, Field trip: Florida Bay seagrasses, seagrass experiment 
                                    PM: Projects
                                    Eve: Lecture 3

Thursday May 21        AM: “Florida Bay”, Submerged plants, calcarious algae and animal species 
                                    PM: Monitoring Florida Bay for 24h Projects 
                                    Eve: Lecture 4

Friday May 22            AM: Monitor Florida Bay
                                   PM: Monitoring Florida Bay
                                   Eve: Lecture 5                                                                                           
Saturday May 23         AM: “Coral reefs”                                                                             
                                    PM: work-up data, present data!
                                    Eve: Discuss results of 24h monitoring of Florida Bay

Sunday May 24           AM: Field trip: Dry Rocks, Horseshoe Reefs (endangered species)
                                    PM: “Florida corals” Field trip: Florida Bay, Siderasteria radians, Soleraster hyades
                                    Eve: Lecture 6

Monday May 25          Field trip: Florida corals – Admiral Reef (2010 cold-kill)
                                    PM: Projects
                                    Eve: Lecture 7

Tuesday May 26         AM: Lecture Everglades  Field trip: Grecian Rocks
                                    PM: Lecture: Cassiopea (Dieter)
                                    Eve: Lecture 8

Wednesday May 27    Field trip: Everglades National Park (all day)
                                    Eve: Lecture 9

Thursday May 28        AM: Everglades: the human impact, “Aligator Farm”, airboating
                                    PM: Projects
                                    Eve: Lecture 10

Friday May 29             AM: Lecture TBA  Reef trip: Little Grecian (a research reef)
                                    PM: Projects
                                    Eve: Lecture 11

Saturday May 30         AM:  Lecture:  “Fossil Reefs”  Reef trip: Fossil coral reef
                                    PM:   Lecture Cassiopea wrap-up
                                    Eve: Projects overview, clean-up, pack up

Sunday May 31             Drive home!

Program Ratings:
Accuracy and usefulness of orientation materials:
1 2 3 4
Safety of location, facilities, excursions, and transportation:
1 2 3 4 5
Academic quality, appropriateness of workload:
1 2 3 4 5
Choice of location for excursions, field trips, site visits:
1 2 3 4 5
Safety, cleanliness, comfort and appropriateness of housing:
1 2 3 4 5
Arrangements for and quality of meals:
1 2 3 4 5
Opportunities to learn about and interact with the local culture:
1 2 3 4 5
Opportunities to learn about and interact with the local culture/people:
1 2 3 4 5
Overall effectiveness of program staff in managing program:
1 2 3 4 5
Effectiveness of program staff in handling academic and personal needs and concerns:
1 2 3 4 5
Value of the program in relation to the cost:
1 2 3 4 5
Overall quality of the program in relation to expectations:
1 2 3 4 5

This program is currently not accepting applications.