For generations of Florida marine science students, the first taste of life as a research scientist on the seas probably began with the help of the Florida Institute of Oceanography. Each year, FIO vessels host scores of undergraduate and graduate students from member institutions on board the R/V Weatherbird II and R/V Bellows as floating classrooms. Marine science faculty at Florida state universities can apply for free ship time which allows them to take students into the environment they study. Learn more about our Multi-University Courses.

The Keys Marine Laboratory also has played a major role in Florida’s marine science education program. Equipped with classrooms, living quarters and access to vessels, students come there to learn sampling techniques and how to collect data in the field. In a unique program, students are able to enter data on the specimens they collect into the KML database and compare it to specimens gathered by other groups. Their work has become part of a long-term dataset that monitor the health of the near-shore habitats in the Florida Keys and Florida Bay.

Through our history, the FIO also has supported educational programs which introduce middle school and high school students to the ocean sciences. FIO has also hosted students from the National Ocean Sciences Bowl on a day-long cruise aboard the Weatherbird II during which the students learned about the tools of ocean-going scientists, the deployment of advanced underwater gliders and how to use the vessel’s labs to analyze microscopic plankton.

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