Wilderness Experience Tropical Marine Conservation in Florida

Tropical Marine Ecology and Biology in the Florida Keys

Educational adventure in the USA

As a participant in this Wilderness Experience course you will experience a six-day research adventure in Southern Florida! You will live and work on a well-equipped research vessel and deepen your knowledge about the ecology of tropical waters in the Florida Keys during different theoretical lectures and practical units. Whilst getting to know different marine habitats you will receive valuable information about the biology and ecology of tropical fish species and gather hands-on experience in the tagging of sharks. Through your involvement in several research activities you will not only deepen your own practical experience, but also actively contribute to conserving the marine environment.

The Florida Keys are formed by a chain-like collection of around 200 coral islands at the Southern tip of the US state Florida. In total they have a length of nearly 300 km. The Florida Keys are home to a variety of extraordinary animal and plant species, many of which cannot be found in other regions in America. Under the water’s surface around the Florida Keys the world’s third largest coral reef can be found. Especially for divers the breathtaking scenario of different colours and animals is an amazing experience – and by taking part in this educational adventure course you can discover it as well!

Service Our services at a glance


  • Placement in the course
  • Accommodation during the course
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • All meals during the course
  • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
  • On-site orientation and project training
  • Assistance with booking flights
  • English speaking support by long-term experienced staff
  • Pre-departure information pack
  • 24/7 support throughout the course

Not included

  • Flights
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Travel insurance
  • One dinner out
  • ESTA fee/visa fee
  • Personal expenses and optional excursions


Start DateDurationCostNATUCATE-ID W.US-002
6 Days 1.750 €


To be able to participate in this research course you must be at least 18 years old and have a good knowledge of English in order to understand all instructions and the information given during theoretical lectures by your course leaders. You do not need any specific expertise. It is important, though, that you are interested in nature and marine life and are motivated to be an active participant in the course. You also need to be a good swimmer and physically fit, as you will be living and working on a boat where you will be exposed to the sun most of the time during the day. Part of the activities includes snorkeling which can be physically quite demanding as well. Therefore, we require a medical certificate testifying as to your state of health as part of the application. Last but not least, you will need to get travel insurance before departing to the US.

Details Meeresschutz in Florida


Wilderness Experience in the USA

First, you will fly to Miami International Airport from where you take an Uber or public transportation to get to the marina where our partner’s research vessel is docked. This vessel will be your home and work place for the next few days. After your arrival you will receive lunch and an introduction to the course programme. Afterwards all team members will be trained in safety regulations which need to be kept in mind while working and living on the boat.

The following four days, course work will start after breakfast at around 8:30 am. After a short introduction in the upcoming tasks and activities either a theoretical lecture or intensive research activities on the open sea will follow. These may include snorkeling, fishing for and tagging sharks, identifying different fish species or planting new corals on the reef to help restore it. Theoretical lectures focus on teaching essential knowledge about marine biology and ecology. The mix of theoretical and practical lectures gives students the chance to get to know a wide breadth of different topics in the field of marine conservation, ecosystems, research activities and conservation methods.


Specific course activities:

You will master fundamentals of following topics:

  • Mangrove habitat
  • Seagrass monitoring and ecology
  • Coral reef ecology and biology
  • Pelagic (open ocean) systems and wildlife
  • Tropical fish and invertebrates
  • Fish dissections (with fish used as shark bait the following day)
  • Shark ecology and biology lecture and field research, including hands-on shark tagging

We realise that some of the people on our projects in Florida want to see as many animals as possible in their natural environment. However, this is dependent on a number of factors. Please note that NATUCATE makes no guarantee that you will see a variety of animals as nature doesn’t always give us what we want. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.



During this research course in Southern Florida you and other course participants will live and work on a modern and well-equipped research vessel, which will take you around the Florida Keys to locations where you will take part in different marine conservation activities. The boat is equipped with seven student cabins as well as four heads with access to hot water showers. Each sleep cabin can fit two participants. As soon as the boat is docked you have access to other sanitary facilities at dock. The boat is air-conditioned. Furthermore, it provides electricity for charging smaller electronical devices. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared by a staff member in the galley.

To stay in touch with your family and friends you can buy a US SIM Card. This enables you to call or send text messages. Depending on the calling plan you may also be able to use the internet.


Everybody interested in a Wilderness Experience abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.

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