FGCU Vester Marine Lab Facilities

Education and Outreach

Education Activities

Education and outreach activities about the marine and estuarine environment are accomplished through classroom instruction of graduate and undergraduate students as well as through community outreach to groups such as the Surf Rider Foundation, Friends of Barefoot Beach, Bonita Beach Improvement Association, and Boy Scout groups. Details related to the outreach activities are below.


Fourteen or more classes include field experiences provided at or out of the Vester Field Station each semester. Field work is conducted with motorized vessels (pontoon and deck boats) and/or canoes. Field research conducted includes water chemistry, oyster and mangrove restoration, flora and fauna sampling, and benthic soil composition.
Classes include: Marine Chemistry, Marine Systems, Introduction to Environmental Studies, University Colloquium, and Oceanography.

Graduate students and Research projects  

Several graduate students in the M.S. program in Environmental Science conduct all or portions of their research at or out of the Vester Lab. Examples of recent graduate student research at the Lab include studies of :

  • Red tide toxin accumulation and depuration by oysters and clams
  • Trophic transfer in oyster reefs
  • Impact of harmful algae on bivalve (oysters, clams, green mussels) clearance rates

Undergraduate student activities

  • Several undergraduates utilize the field station to accomplish senior research project and internship goals.
  • Visiting interns from other academic institutions conduct research and/or internships at the field station.

Other activities

  • Continuous water quality analysis (YSI probe)
  • Monitoring of oyster physiology and ecology in Southwest Florida estuaries
  • Oyster reef and sea grass restoration

Outreach Activities

Workshops and Meetings

  • Surf Rider Foundation meetings and red tide workshop
  • Barefoot Beach Civic Association oyster restoration workshop
  • Florida Sea Grant Program regional advisory council meetings
  • Everglades Scientists Group oyster recovery meetings
  • FGCU Faculty meetings   
  • ROV Sea Ray training workshop
  • Smart Growth Commercial Fishermen Council workshop
  • West Coast Inland Navigatio District meetings
  • Fort Myers Beach shrimping industrymeetings

Civic Educational Activities

  • Boy Scouts Troop 330-San Carlos Park worked on mangrove island restoration project. A total of 2,467 propogules were planted.
  • Boy Scouts Eagle Badge Project worked on mangrove restoration
  • Presentations/Communications to civic groups such as Barefoot Beach Civic Association, Edison Big Snook Charity Fishing Tournament, Caloosa Catch and Release Fishing Tournament Series and Professional Guides Associations. Topics included: non-internal combustion motor zones (NICM), habitat use of sea grasses, oyster reefs and mangroves by organisms related to recreational fisheries.