Courses & Activities

Goshen College students have numerous opportunities to study Marine Biology in the Florida Keys, including participation in an annual course, marine ecology research projects, and the Marine Biology Internship Program.

BIOL 304 Marine Biology

Students at Goshen College gain an in depth exposure to marine systems through taking BIOL 304 Marine Biology or BIOL 210 Biology of the Sea, a set of cross-listed classes taught concurrently for 3 weeks during mayterm.  These classes have been operating for more than 40 years, and are often cited as a highlight of students’ academic experience at Goshen. (Syllabus for BIOL 304 Marine Biology)

The course is an intensive exposure to marine systems which highlights: a) the important theoretical ways marine systems are structured differently that terrestrial systems, b) the taxonomic diversity of life found in various marine habitats, and c) the process of designing and implementing ecological research in marine systems.

Recent student projects include:

  • Habitat preference of L. variegatus in response to density change of Thalassia testudinum and macroinvertebrates – Josh Delp, Anne Pierre, David Stoesz, & Mara Swartzentruber
  • The effects of boat scars on seagrass habitat in the Florida Keys – Nate Day, Jing Jin, & Julian Sider
  • Factors that influence selection of marine sponges as refuges – Ben Baumgartner, David Graber, Robert Lerch, and Melissa Zehr
  • Determining the significance of variables that affect biodiversity among Rhizophora mangle island systems – Chelsea Frederick, Caleb Hochstetler, & Jacob Nofziger

Marine Biology Research Assistants

Each Mayterm 2-3 Goshen Biology students are selected to join the Mayterm marine biology course as Research Assistants.  Research Assistants develop an independent research project, which they implement during the 3-week course.

In 2009-10, Camry Hess, Alex Caskey, and Ross Weaver examined the effects of sea turtle grazing on fish behavior using artificial clipping of Thalassia testudinum. In 2011-12, Mike Zehr and Greg Thiessen examined the diversity and density of nudibranch species as a a function of various habitat attributes including the density of seagrasses.  In 2012-13, Caleb Hochstetler and Chelsea Frederick studied mangrove ecology in the bight. If you are a current student and have interest in returning to FL for research, please contact Dr. Sensenig (

Marine Biology Internship Program

Each summer the biology department awards two students with the Marine Biology Internship.  Students live and work at the J.N. Roth Marine Biology station for 4-6 weeks, where they are supervised by professors and researchers from Old Dominion University.  Dr. Mark Butler (ODU) and his graduate students have been researching at the J.N. Roth Marine station for several years studying Panulirus argus (spiny lobster) ecology.

Marine Biology Internship recipients:

2014 – Caleb Longenecker & Aaron Stiffney

2013 – Barrett Donna  & Avery Bischoff

2012 – Mike Zehr & Aaron Kauffmann

2011 – Zachary Clouse & Kurt Neufeld

2010 – Nathaniel Tann

2009 – Camry Hess & Nate Burmester



Click below to see pictures of recent Mayterm Marine Biology classes.







2013 (Click here to see the 2013 Marine Biology Blog)