In the Community - Life Below Water

Our goal is to inspire the next generation and immerse the greater South Florida community in the solutions-based work at FIU to conserve and promote sustainable use of our oceans, seas and marine resources.

Community using VR goggles

Supporting aquatic ecosystems through education

Florida International University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Marine Biology as well as many complementary degrees and certificates in environmental chemistry, biodiversity and conservation management, sustainability, environmental science, global sustainable tourism, forensic science, international relations, law, engineering and more. Among our courses, we offer 116 specifically focused on Life Below Water.

In addition, through public lectures, professional workshops and trainings, K-12 enrichment, interactive exhibits and more, we welcome anyone and everyone to be part of our solutions-centered efforts for Life Below Water.

Community Engagement

At Florida International University, we host events and collaborate with community organizations to promote conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and other marine resources. 

  • FIU Aquarius hosts more than 1 million kids

    FIU has hosted more than 1 million schoolchildren from all across the world on virtual field trips of FIU Aquarius, the world’s only underwater research laboratory. Deployed 60 feet beneath the surface of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, FIU Aquarius is a globally significant asset that provides unparalleled means to study the ocean, test and develop state-of-the-art undersea technology, train specialized divers, and educate the world on our oceans.

  • Education Outreach

    FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education connects lifelong learners with real university research through initiatives led by its Education Outreach Team. We provide a range of experiences, from at-home activities to community events, summer camps and much more. We maintain collaborative partnerships with corporations and community organizations and offer volunteer service opportunities all in support of our environment. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of explorers who will be making discoveries and finding solutions to create a more sustainable future.

  • Aquaculture Program

    The College of Arts, Science & Education's Education Outreach team introduces K-12 students to marine science concepts and activities as part of our Aquaculture Program. In addition, school children can explore the university’s aquaculture facility and the Biscayne Bay Campus through a variety of experiences:

    • MAST@FIU high school in-class activities and field trips
    • Virtual and in-person lab experiences tied to Miami-Dade County Public Schools K-12 curricula
    • Family science nights
    • Summer camp and mini-camp activities
  • Citizen Science

    FIU researchers have created a stakeholder science program called CAST — Coastal Angler Science Team — to engage anglers into fisheries research. Through this initiative, we are tapping into angler knowledge and their records of catches to examine how their fishing relates to freshwater management and better understand the potential effects of Everglades restoration on recreational angling. For instance, we have worked with anglers to understand how their 20+ years of common snook and Florida largemouth bass catches are affected by freshwater flows to the coast. Second, CAST has been working with anglers to assist in a mark-recapture study of largemouth bass in order to estimate their survival across years of varied drying severity. Anglers were equipped with pit tag readers, datasheets and maps and asked to scan their catch. In 2014, we organized a 6-month mark-recapture tournament, and anglers were responsible for 30 percent of the recaptures that fed our survival model.

  • International Research Experience for Students Program

    Open to university students from anywhere in the United States, FIU’s International Research Experience for Students program is a one-year training program on wildlife ecology and conservation for endangered parrots, whales and dolphins. It includes two semesters of coursework and a six-week paid field internship in the Small Island Developing State of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

    The program provides students with high-quality research, conservation and professional development opportunities in wildlife conservation and ecology. Students work directly with some of FIU’s top conservation scientists and local partners in the Caribbean island to expand their cultural knowledge, research skills and conservation experience.

  • Global Sustainable Tourism Program

    Florida International University offers an innovative degree that recognizes the importance of sustainable operations in the tourism industry, its impacts on the planet, and the increasing demand for a more sustainable approach to managing hospitality and tourism businesses. Offered through the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, it is an interdisciplinary collaboration with the Department of Earth and Environment in the College of Arts, Science & Education and features a blended curriculum composed of the most-relevant existing courses from each department as well as a host of new courses specifically designed for the degree.

    Students pursuing this degree acquire the knowledge and tools needed to become industry leaders in the management of sustainable tourism standards that will help protect the world’s natural and cultural resources and maintain them intact for future generations. Students will learn to apply these skills and lead through advocacy, conservation and community partnerships. Topics covered include socioeconomic, environmental and cultural impacts with respect to responsible business practices and local governance. In a nutshell, the overarching thrust of the program is to teach students how tourism can adapt to and mitigate climate change and become a key sector in the transition to low-carbon economies.

  • Coastal Ocean Explorers

    Coastal Ocean Explorers is a collaboration between FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences & Education and the ANGARI Foundation, that offers real-world experience in marine science research to school children aboard the 65-foot research vessel, R/V ANGARI. The program features full-day at-sea expeditions for educators and youth ages 12 to 18 departing from Palm Beach County, Florida. Program participants receive instruction and training in relevant marine science field methods and ecological concepts before gaining firsthand experience on the water, working side-by-side with professional scientists and vessel crew to fish for, tag and collect valuable data in support of shark research and conservation.

  • Biscayne Bay Art Exhibit

    Palette Knife Artists of Miami’s largest ever exhibition was put on display at FIU’s Glenn Hubert Library at the Biscayne Bay Campus in 2022. The organization brings awareness to a planet in need through art, advancing ongoing conservation efforts to save South Florida endangered species including mangrove trees, coral reefs, migratory birds and turtles for future generations. More than 90 pieces of art by 12 different artists with different artistic backgrounds were exhibited.