Why Study Marine Biology at New College?

Take one look at New College’s small class sizes, expert Marine Biology faculty, waterfront location and marine facilities and you will understand why so many students want to pursue their interest in Marine Biology either though coursework only or through an Area of Concentration in Marine Biology here. New College is situated on Sarasota Bay and our students have the opportunity to study and conduct research at the Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center, located on our Bayfront Campus. The Center is home to more than 100 aquaria, anchored by a 15,000 gallon research and display tank. Each tank in the Living Ecosystem Teaching and Research Aquarium (LETRA, for short) features different captive ecosystems, including a cold-water rocky shore and Sarasota Bay grass flats. Through a natural filtration system designed by students, the Center draws and recycles water from Sarasota Bay.

Marine Biology area of concentration

An area of concentration in Marine Biology allows students to build a strong foundation in basic biological concepts, with an emphasis on marine organisms and ecosystems. This program of study is designed to prepare students for graduate or professional studies in marine biology, biological oceanography, or related fields, as well as for professional careers in marine or environmental fields.

View Marine Biology Academic Learning Compact

View Marine Biology courses offered in last 5 years


Area of Concentration Requirements

An area of concentration in Marine Biology normally begins with work in a two-semester course (Foundations of Biology 1 and 2), which may be taken in any order, and an introduction to the properties of the marine environment (Introduction to Oceanography or Introduction to Coastal Marine Systems). A strong foundation in basic biological concepts is acquired through study of three core levels of organization. One lecture and one laboratory course is required in each of the following areas (marine course offerings are marked with a *):

Genetics, Genetics Laboratory, Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Microbiology Laboratory, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Cellular Biology, Cellular Biology Laboratory

Organismal biology:
Organismic Biology, Organismic Laboratory, Botany, Botany Laboratory, Entomology, Entomology Laboratory, *Fish Biology, *Fish Biology Laboratory, *Invertebrate Zoology, *Invertebrate Zoology Laboratory, Plant Physiology, *Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays, *Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays Laboratory.

Ecology and Evolution:
Animal Behavior, Animal Behavior Laboratory, Biology of Urbanization, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Ecology Laboratory, Evolution, Forest Ecology Laboratory

Students should complete at least three marine-focused courses or tutorials. In addition to the above-noted (*) courses, other current courses with a marine emphasis also include: Coral Reef Ecology, Methods of Field Ecology, Sensory Biology of Fishes, GIS and Remote Sensing Apps to Coastal & Marine Studies, and Marine Mammal Behavior.

Additional foundational coursework in the other Natural Science disciplines is also required. Marine Biology students should complete Calculus 1, Calculus 2, a statistics course (Biostatistics, Dealing with Data, or Introductory Statistics), Physics 1, Physics 1 Laboratory, Physics 2, Physics 2 Laboratory, General Chemistry 1, General Chemistry 2, and General Chemistry Laboratory. Organic Chemistry 1, Organic Inquiry Laboratory, Organic Chemistry 2, and Organic Chemistry 2 Laboratory are strongly recommended.

Students will also complete one Independent Study Project in Marine Biology (fieldwork is strongly recommended and one in either Biology or Marine Biology. Students are encouraged to participate in internships and/or study at marine field stations to broaden their experience.

Students must also complete a senior thesis in Marine Biology and a successful baccalaureate exam to complete the expectations for the Marine Biology Area of Concentration. A member of the Marine Biology faculty must serve as the thesis sponsor, one other Biology or Marine Biology faculty member must also be a member of the student’s thesis/baccalaureate exam committee.

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

Requirements for an AOC in Marine Biology/Other Discipline
Students should fulfill all the normal requirements of the Marine Biology AOC listed above, including completing a thesis sponsored by a member of the Marine Biology faculty. At least one faculty member from the other discipline must agree that the student has completed sufficient work to qualify for a slash in that discipline and be a member of the student’s thesis/baccalaureate exam committee.

Requirements for an AOC in Other Discipline/Marine Biology
To earn a joint disciplinary concentration in Marine Biology, students should complete the two-course introductory Biology sequence (Foundations of Biology 1 and 2), Introduction to Oceanography or Introduction to Coastal Marine Systems, plus two upper-level lecture and two laboratory Marine Biology courses. At least one member of the Marine Biology faculty must be a member of the student’s thesis/baccalaureate exam committee.


Recent Theses

  • Effects of Glyphosate on the Odor Detection Behavior of Common Snook (Centropomus undecimalis)
    Sarasota Bay: a Newly-defined Nursery Area for Blacktip Sharks (Carcharhinus limbatus) on the Gulf Coast of Florida
  • The Effects of Fish Waste Nutrient Enrichment on Thalassia testudinum Banks ex König in Sarasota Bay, Florida
  • Mosquito Control to Kayak Trails: the Effects of Mangrove Ditches on the Sarasota Bay Region
  • The Distribution of Cyphoma gibbosum (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Cypraeoidea: Ovulidae) (the Flaming Tongue Gastropod) in Relation to the Presence of the Fungal Disease Aspergillosis on Gorgonia spp. (Anthozoa: Cnidaria: Octocorallia: Gorgoniidae)
  • Visually Mediated Behaviors of the Mantis Shrimp, Pseudosquilla cilliata (Fabricius, 1787) (Crustacea; Stomatopoda; Pseudosquillidae)
  • Population Connectivity of Acropora palmata on Cayos Cochinos, Honduras


SAMPLE PATHWAYS to complete AOC Requirements

These pathways show how you could complete the AOC requirements within four years at New College or within two years after earning an associate’s degree. Please consult with your academic adviser to determine the most appropriate courses for your area of concentration.