Summer Research Expedition

Immersive at-sea research expeditions to assess the ecology and ecosystem effects of the ocean’s top predators along the entire Florida Keys reef tract and protected areas.

Summer Research Expeditions


Florida Keys Shark Ecosystem Project

Immersive at-sea research expeditions to assess the ecology and ecosystem effects of the ocean’s top predators in Dry Tortugas National Park and Lower Keys.


The University of Miami’s Shark Research and Conservation Program in collaboration with Field School will be conducting 3 at sea research expeditions from a 55’ custom live-aboard vessel. We are seeking applications from motivated and aspiring conservation biologists to join our team.

Science & Conservation: The research mission is to assess the ecology of sharks and their ecosystem impacts across the Florida Keys reef tract and whether these processes vary in relation to protected areas, including national parks and no-take marine reserves. Research will provide critical data on the ecological effects of the loss and restoration of sharks on coral reefs.

Unparalleled research opportunities: The project allows students to gain research training and engage in scientific inquiry through participation with University of Miami scientists and staff. Participation involves scientifically sound practices and measurable outcomes in marine conservation biology.

At Sea Live-Aboard Expeditions: All research will occur during week-long at sea expeditions aboard the R/V Garvin, a 55′ custom live-aboard research vessel that serves as an incredibly versatile platform for marine research and education.


Itinerary & Costs

Based from the live-aboard vessel, our expedition will be composed of 3 trips (see map below) in order to survey sharks and the ecosystem they inhabit along the Florida Keys reef tract.

Week 1  |  Dry Tortugas               May 8 – May 14, 2018              $2,565.00
Week 2 |  Dry Tortugas               May 17 – May 23, 2018             $2,565.00
Week 3 |  Lower Florida Keys    May 25 – May 31, 2018            $2,400.00

Included:
  • Fast ferry to Dry Tortugas
  • 7 day live-aboard
  • 7 field days
  • All meals during expedition
  • Research gear and activities
  • Captain, crew, staff







Week 1 | Dry Tortugas, May 8 – 14                                                      Week 2 | Dry Tortugas, May 17 – 23
Week 3 | Lower Florida Keys, May 25 – 31                                           


Research Projects

  • Diversity and abundance monitoring
  • Immunological health assessment
  • Food-web dynamics & predator-prey interactions
  • Movement ecology and habitat use
  • Functional morphology
  • Marine reserve effects


Research Methods

  • Drumline sampling and trap surveys
  • Acoustic tagging and tracking telemetry
  • Satellite tagging and tracking telemetry
  • Accelerometry
  • Non-lethal biopsy sampling
  • Underwater visual and remote video sampling
  • Morphological measurements
  • Diet & nutritional analysis
  • Blood sampling and processing


Research Vessel

  • The R/V Garvin is a 55′ custom live-aboard research vessel that serves as an incredibly versatile platform for marine research and education
  • 16 passenger berths in 7 bunk rooms plus crew quarters
  • Fully US Coast Guard Certified and inspected
  • Full galley and salon space ideal for lectures, photo/video equipment set up, and scientific lab space for on-board analysis
  • Custom fiberglass dive and research platform
  • 4 hot showers and marine heads
  • Crane arm and winch for hauling and deploying tender and scientific equipment
  • Dive compressor
  • Small inflatable tender that can be used as a chase boat or to access shallower areas

To be considered for a summer research expedition, please click here and complete the application






    Other details:

  1. Arrival and Departure: Expedition dates are inclusive of the one week period, so participants need to plan to be in Key West at least a day before and after the expedition dates
  2. Participation Fee: If accepted to the expedition, we will provide further information on how to submit payment in full to charter vessel.
  3. Cancellation Policy: We reserve the right to cancel the expedition if we are unable to maintain the number of required participants. All participant fees will be refunded in this case.
  4. School Credit Policy: The summer research expedition is a non-credit-bearing program. Therefore, financial aid is not available.