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Biology of the Florida Keys 2024

Upcoming Information Sessions

Attend an information session online via Zoom to learn more about this opportunity!

  • 6pm-7pm Thursday, January 25
  • 6pm-7pm Thursday, February 15
  • 6pm-7pm Tuesday, March 14

Sign up for an information session today!

Don't miss this amazing opportunity to study on-site at Marine Lab in the Florida Keys, visit a sea turtle hospital, and more!

This course focuses on the biology of the Florida Keys ecosystems. Major topics include invertebrate diversity, seagrass ecology, coral reef ecology, mangrove ecology, and the identification of reef fish and sea turtles. A typical day includes 2-3 snorkeling excursions to various ecosystems, lab activities, discussions, and lectures.

You will learn about the unique environment of southern Florida, the interactions between the mangroves, sea grasses, and coral reefs firsthand each day. As well as how to identify reef fish and discuss their varied adaptations. Students will also get to conduct ongoing investigations and data sampling to learn about water quality in the area.

  • 3 credit hours/4 contact hours (lecture/lab)
  • Main Areas of Focus
    • Sea Grasses | You will have the chance to explore this important nursery area for important species.
    • Coral Reefs | Swim with parrot fish, sea fans, jellyfish, and much more at several reef locations.
    • Mangroves | Learn about and snorkel in these trees that grow along the coastline of the keys.

About Marine Lab

Marine Lab is an educational facility that is dedicated to educating students about the marine environment. Their mission is to use education and adventure in the Florida Keys marine ecosystem to foster environmental awareness and stewardship on a local, regional, and global scale. Learn more about Marine Lab.

Who should take this course?
  • This course is an elective biology course and provides an introduction to marine biology. This course is open to any student but is best suited for students pursuing a Math & Science Studies Transfer or Liberal Studies Transfer Associate Degree at Mid. It is especially suited for those students planning to specialize in the biology field.
What is a typical day like at Marine Lab?
  • Each day begins with an early breakfast followed by a morning snorkel trip. After returning, students then enjoy lunch and depart for the afternoon snorkel trip. This is followed by dinner. Evenings typically consist of lab/lecture/discussion and possibly a night boat excursion. Students are typically busy 8am-10pm.
Course Schedule
  • 6pm-9pm Wednesday, June 12 | Required Pre-Trip Orientation on the Mt. Pleasant Campus
  • Wednesday, June 12 - Sunday, August 11 | Online Coursework
  • Wednesday, July 31 - Tuesday, August 6 | Trip to Marine Lab
Course Cost & Financial Aid
  • TRAVEL FEES Approximately $1,500 per student
    • Includes round trip airfare, transportation in Florida, lodging and meals at Marine Lab, snorkel gear rental and trips, admission to Bahia Honda State Park, and Sea Turtle Hospital tour.
  • TUITION & FEES Approximately $800 per in-district student and $1,200 per out-district student.
  • FINANCIAL AID Contact Financial Aid prior to making a deposit for this course to determine if financial aid will be available to cover a portion of your tuition and fees.
Important Dates & Next Steps
  • NOW - APRIL 30 Complete the Reserve My Spot Form (if spots remain), which also requires the payment of a non-refundable $400 deposit.
    • There are limited spots for this course and if the initial section fills before April 30, a waitlist will be started for a second section.
  • APRIL 1 When Summer 2023 registration opens on April 1, you will be auto-enrolled in this course.
  • MAY 6 All Courses | Tuition Due by 9am (Make payments on campus or via myMid) Students with unpaid tuition will be de-registered from their courses.
  • MAY 20 Summer courses begin.
  • MAY 29 All Courses | Tuition Due by 4pm (Make payments on campus or via myMid) Students with unpaid tuition will be de-registered from their courses.
  • JULY 31 - AUGUST 6 Travel to Marine Lab

Course Scholarships

For more information, contact

Trish Finerty

Biology Instructor

Doan 221


Trish Finerty has been a biology teacher at the high school and college level since 1999. She has been taking student groups to the Florida Keys and Marine Lab since 2005. She has also led student travel groups to Costa Rica to study Leatherback Sea Turtles. When not traveling or teaching, she is mom to Reed, Finley and Marley, enjoys SCUBA diving, and knitting!

Required Forms for Travel

You only need to complete and fill out these forms if you've submitted your deposit.

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