Marine Research Service and Trips

Marine science research opportunities for Canterbury students include:

Oceanography Class Deploys an Oceanographic Drifter with USF and NOAA

In the Upper School Oceanography course, during the unit on currents and ocean circulation, students deploy an oceanographic drifter. This drifter is equipped with a GPS unit and thermometer. After researching currents and consulting with scientists from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and University of South Florida, the drift is deployed from research vessel. The students use the GPS data to create drifter tracks and monitor the ocean currents and sea surface temperatures. They can incorporate meteorological data as well as sea state data into the Google Earth tracks. This project helps students visualize the currents to gain a deeper understanding of global ocean circulation while learning to incorporate technology.

Research in the Bahamas

Upper school students have had the opportunity several times to visit and conduct research at the Island School in Eleuthera, Bahamas, where students immersed themselves in hands-on learning experiences. The Island School is a leader in sustainable living and education, as well as marine science research at the high school level. Trip activities included sustainable living, learning about hydroponic systems, scuba diving, snorkeling, biological surveys, geologic sampling, and cultural studies. Students created a post-trip presentation and shared it with the school community.

Lionfish Research Miniterm in Roatan, Honduras

In summer of 2015, 10 upper school students attended a diving research trip to Roatan, Honduras. This diving trip focused on lionfish research. The student eradicated 107 lionfish and performed research, including gut content analysis on the fish that were caught. Watch the award-winning, student-produced video about this trip.

Marine Research Class STEM Experience: “Build A Buoy”

In the upper school Marine Research course, by collaborating with scientists from Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association (SECOORA), Tampa Bay Watch, and National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Chesapeake Bay “Build A Buoy” curriculum students are engaging in a hands-on STEM experience with a marine and environmental focus this year. Students have built model buoys and learned about the importance of water quality data. Students then assembled a small, functioning buoy and equipped it with basic sensors that monitor water temperature, salinity, and pH. Students are learning to interpret real-time data from the Tampa Bay Estuary and how to share it online with SECORRA and other citizen science websites such as the National Geographic Fieldscope site.

Marine Community Service

Canterbury's Marine Studies program includes a community service component to enhance learning opportunities beyond the classroom and provide a greater understanding of the marine ecosystem. Students participate in

  • Coastal clean-up efforts
  • Marking storm drains
  • Creating oyster bar habitats
  • Growing and re-planting marsh grass to prevent erosion. Marsh grass helps stabilize the shoreline, filter stormwater runoff and provide habitat for juvenile fish and other creatures.
  • Growing native plants in the school garden, some of which are fed to manatees at a local manatee hospital
  • Planting sea oats at Pinellas County's Ft. DeSoto Park
Resources available to Canterbury students include Tampa Bay Watch, the College of Marine Science at the University of South Florida, Eckerd College, and the Cousteau Divers program.

Bay Grasses in Classes Program

Canterbury joined the Bay Grasses in Classes program in 2012 with the unique opportunity to involve all divisions--lower, middle, and upper school--in different aspects of the program. Lower school students (PK3 - Grade 4) monitor and maintain a marsh grass nursery located adjacent to the playground. Middle school students return to the Lower Campus to harvest the grass for replanting at the restoration site in Tampa Bay. Upper school students split the marsh plugs, and replant the nurseries on both campuses to ensure new growth for the following year. This project introduces the concepts of habitats and ecosystems to our smallest scientists, while stopping bay erosion. To date, Canterbury has contributed 3,700 plugs of salt marsh to restoration efforts, restoring about half an acre each year. Learn More About Our Lower School Marine Studies Program.

Marine Field Trips: Interactive Learning at its Best

Lower, middle and upper school students all participate in the annual Marine Studies Day at Clam Bayou Marine Education Center where they collect oceanographic data.

Field trips include

  • Tampa Bay Watch scalloping: students collect samples of local scallop populations, test water quality, and map seagrass habitats.
  • Beach Collection Days (collecting creatures for our educational touch tanks)
  • Marsh grass harvest (Hough Campus) and marsh grass planting at Marine Education Center at Clam Bayou Nature Preserve
  • Lower School Marine Science Beach Day
  • Oyster bar installations in Tampa Bay
  • Grades 4 and 5: Marine Science Fest
  • MarineQuest Open House at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute
  • Clam Bayou kayak trip
  • Grade 7: Crystal River to swim with the manatees
  • Grade 7: Marine Lab in Florida Keysstudents snorkel, spy nocturnal sea life under beams of flashlights, and take classes to learn
  • Grade 7: Lowry Park Zoo Manatee Hospital (to feed the manatees lettuce grown hydroponically by the class)
  • Grade 8:Underwater Robotics
  • MOTE Marine trip
  • Scuba Crew 210
    • Lionfish Derby
    • Rainbow River drift dive
    • Springs dive
    • Florida Aquarium swim with the sharks
  • CLAMS marine trips; open to all families Learn More About CLAMS.
    • Rainbow River tubing
    • Crystal River swim with the manatees
  • Marine identification and collection day at Ft. De Soto
  • MATE ROV: Remote Operated Vehicle competition


Director of Marine Studies
Audrey Mitchell
(727) 521-5922


Follow Us
Marine Studies Instagram