Welcome to the Marine Science Outreach Initiative (MSOI).

The focus of the activities and information here is “Edges.” Interfaces provide opportunities to explore many questions at once in a very simple way or from a broader perspective. We welcome contributions from students and from teachers to improve our website.

The MSOI is based out of New College of Florida’s Pritzker Marine Biological Research Center (PMBRC).



Materials for teachers include reviewed links. There are some distinctions for grade levels, but teachers should check various levels to get ideas for class activities. Sunshine State guidelines are listed for several of the activities to assist in incorporating them into the curriculum. Teachers should feel welcome to contact us for listing their own materials to make this an interactive resource. Attributions will be given for activities.

We will make some suggestions for potential science fair projects on this site. We will also give an idea of how to care for and observe marine organisms. Keep in mind that you must have various permits to collect organisms and your school may restrict the types of organisms you can use in classrooms.

Bay Walk Guide
This is the teacher’s edition of the bay walk. It contains background information on the topics introduced in the guide and related activities, all organized into several sections. You may also download the guide in PDF format here.

Bay Walk Teacher Information
Before you go
Pre- and post-walk activities
Funding opportunities

Bay Walk Student Information (with notes for teachers)
Before you go
Intertidal organisms
Shoreline plants
Shoreline animals
Trees and soil

Experiment Guide
Waves and currents
Water clarity
Fiddler crabs
Horseshoe crabs
Mangrove tree crabs
Sun prints
Mud cloth

Websites of Interest There are several activities related to ocean sciences; the projects are interdisciplinary and can be adapted for use at different grade levels. The projects using maps are especially well written. This site offers a very good overview of how to do a science project, including information on keeping a lab notebook There are several different satellite tagging projects here where students can track different marine mammals. Background information is very good on how such organisms are tagged and tracked. These are some interesting puzzles and games for kids. Some require Flash while others require JAVA. The puzzles are timed. This is a nice glossary of words that you will find associated with many aquarium books, videos, and magazines.

The following are short reports on organisms commonly found on a bay walk. If you would like information on an animal not listed, please don’t hesitate to email us.

Sea squirt mini report
Mullet mini report
Black Mangroves mini report
Horseshoe Crab mini report

Classroom Aquarium Guide
Teachers fortunate enough to have water on their doorstep may want to bring some indoors. There is a lot of information available on how to set up an aquarium in the classroom but a good place to start is the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s guide.

Though this is geared towards more temperate waters, it is a good overview of setting up and maintaining an aquarium. Once set up is accomplished you can begin stocking your system. The Florida Marine Science Educators Association offers permits that allow teachers and informal educators to take students into the field on collection trips. The permit is good for 3 years and the classes are held several times a year. More information may be found here.

Some animals are more hardy than others. Suggested organisms for Sarasota/ Bradenton area classrooms are:

Sergeant Major – Abudefduf saxatilis

Porkfish – Anisotremus virginicus

Striped Blenny – Chasmoides saburrae

Striped Burrfish – Chilomycterus schoepfi

Sheepshead Minnow – Cyprinodon varigatus

Goldspotted Killifish – Floridichthys carpio

Gulf Killifish – Fundulus grandis

Longnose Killifish – Fundulus similis

Code Goby – Gobiosoma robustum

White/ Key West Grunt – Haemulon plumierii

Zebratail Blenny – Hypleurochilus caudovittatus

Feather Blenny – Hypsoblennius hentzii

Pinfish – Lagodon rhomboidies

Gray/ Mangrove Snapper – Lutjanus griseus

Lane Snapper – Lutjanus synagris

Gulf Toadfish – Opsanus beta

Pigfish – Orthopristis chrysoptera

Seaweed Blenny – Parablennius marmoreus

Belted Sandfish – Serranus subligarius

Bucktooth Parrotfish – Sparisoma radians

Stoplight Parrotfish – Sparisoma viride

Planehead Filefish – Stephanolepis hispidus

Southern Hake – Urophycis floridana

The list of local invertebrates easily kept in an aquarium is much larger. Perhaps more useful is a list of those that are not. Filter feeders such as sponges, sea whips, oysters, clams, scallops, and most other bivalves do not last long in an aquarium setting and should be avoided.

The above animals are hardy candidates but many will fight or eat each other if placed in a tank together. Keep this in mind when choosing tank-mates. Rearranging or adding to the tank furniture may help keep the peace. Depending on your class, this might be an interesting learning experience.


Biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) need help from the public in identifying horseshoe crabs spawning on beaches throughout the state.

The best time to find horseshoe crabs spawning is around a high tide, right before or just after a full or new moon. The next full moon will be on Sunday, April 20. Observant beach goers can report the time, date, and location of horseshoe crab sightings through one of several convenient options. Go online and fill out an online survey, or e-mail findings to, or call the FWC at 1-866-252-9326.

Biologists also want to know the number of horseshoe crabs seen by observers and whether the horseshoe crabs are spawning. Horseshoe crabs benefit humans in several ways. For instance, research on the compound eyes of horseshoe crabs led to better understanding of the human visual system, and horseshoe crab blood is useful in the biomedical industry. In addition, manufacturers use the material of a horseshoe crab’s shell (chitin) to make contact lenses, skin creams and hair sprays


This project is funded by NOAA Fisheries grant NA03NMF4720358 in support of the strategic goal to protect, conserve, and restore living marine resource habitat and biodiversity.

The statements in this document do not constitute endorsement by the Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or New College of Florida of the information, organizations, products or services contained therein. Neither the Department of Commerce nor NOAA or New College of Florida has received any compensation, financial or otherwise, for including specific references.