Water-Related News

FGCU's floating classrooms return to coastal waterways

Many recreational boaters glide by the Vester Marine and Environmental Research Field Station on Little Hickory Island in Bonita Springs.

Some may not realize that the multi-structure facility – formerly a resort – and some of the boats with which they share local waterways constitute waterfront and floating classrooms for FGCU students learning about Southwest Florida marine life.

Along with instruction at the main FGCU campus 14 miles away in South Fort Myers, undergraduate and post-graduate students in marine science and environmental studies are using the Vester Field Station again this semester for marine sample collecting, checking water quality and much more.

New equipment being used for the first time at Vester this fall include an automatic water sampler, a continuous water quality monitor and a specific ion electrode system that “measures ammonia, nitrate, pH, oxygen and other ingredients in our waters,” said Michael Parsons, FGCU professor of marine science and director of the Coastal Watershed Institute.

“It all helps to show students the extent of how both humans and marine life influence the water,” said Parsons, who is in the midst of his first semester directing the program.