The Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station was established in June 2007 after the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation acquired the waterfront facility. The Field Station was the vision of Norm and Nancy Vester, who owned and managed the facility while it was a resort (Bonita Beach Plantation Resort).
The property consists of three buildings: 1) a main residence that includes a classroom, wet and dry laboratories and an office, 2) an eight-unit apartment building under which there is a large open area for aquaria, mesocosms and holding tanks connected to running seawater system, and 3) a third building that houses offices, a conference room and both another wet and dry lab. The on-site apartments include four one-bed rooms and 24 bunk beds to accommodate visiting scientists, guest speakers, and collaborators for short-term visits or extended stays. The site is surrounded by water on three sides and includes 11 boat slips (5 with boat lifts) and has easily access to the Gulf of Mexico.
To serve as a venue and base of operation for educational programs, community involvement and scholarly research that increases our understanding and promotes science-based stewardship of coastal watersheds, estuaries and Gulf of Mexico ecosystems, with special emphasis on the education of future scientists and scientifically literate citizens.
Sandwiched between the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico, the field station sits on a 0.81-acre parcel on Little Hickory Island in Bonita Springs, Florida; just 14 miles from the main campus. It provides access to Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico through Wiggins Pass to south or New Pass to the north and un-paralleled access to various sub-tropical habitats such as oyster reefs, mangroves and seagrasses (details on local habitats can be found elsewhere on this website).
Latitude/ Longitude: 26°19’50”N/ 81°50’15”W
5164 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, Florida 34134
Michael Parsons, Ph. D
Director, Vester Marine and Environmental Sciences Research Field Station
Professor of Marine Science
Facilities Manager, Vester Field Station