The educational component of this project includes five elements that cross multiple levels of education and training initiative engaging on a regional, US-wide, and International level:
Expose students to the importance of multidisciplinary and collaborative research through graduate student exchange program and methods harmonization workshops
Transform marine education within and across departments and institutions by broadening the involvement of researchers and other participants from underrepresented groups
Develop engaging and informative information to integrate into science curricula
Unique and innovative educational opportunities will include at generation of at least two k-12 activities based on CiguaPIRE research that can be used in k-12 classrooms and summer science programs. The goal of these activities will be to engage and cultivate student enthusiasm and understanding of ecotoxicology with hopes of inspiring students to pursue STEM fields. These activities will focus on the chemical and biological diversity of tropical benthic ecosystems and address specific standards identified in State Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and will be guided by Ocean Literacy Principles.
A field class in tropical marine ecology will occur every other year starting in May 2019. Students (undergraduate and graduate) will experience hands-on learning experience in a tropical location (Australia, Philippines, US Virgin Islands, Cuba) through a course designed to provide students with an experience to learn about tropical marine ecosystems while being fully immersed in one for 10 to 14 days. Topics covered in the course will include the ecology of coral reef and surrounding systems, marine benthic community dynamics, chemical ecology with a focus on marine toxins, ecological aspects of Ciguatera Fish poisoning (CFP), climate change impacts on marine ecosystems, and marine ecosystem conservation. There will be a scholarship opportunity for students interested in participating in this course.
Graduate students across collaborator institutions will participate in a 6 to 12 month reciprocal exchange program where they will spend the duration of the exchange in a partner laboratory. There, the student will work on a specific project with the goal of preparing a co-authored manuscript at the end of the program. The goal of this student exchange is to prepare students to be future leaders in science by providing them an opportunity to increase their interdisciplinary knowledge while being exposed to the dynamic nature of other laboratories.
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