Marine Biology

Florence | Elba

Summer 2025 – Dates coming soon

Join us next summer

Environmental Marine Biology & Sustainability is a three-week full immersion course taught entirely in English, comprising lecture and fieldwork components that explore the influence of human activity on marine ecosystems and the physiology, behavior, and ecology of Mediterranean Sea organisms. One advantage of studying Marine Biology in Italy during the summer is the opportunity to visit key ecosystems, research facilities, and special interest areas in the Mediterranean Sea.

Biodiversity, Behavioral Ecology & Environmental Sustainability: a case study in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park

This course focuses on how animal/plant behavioral ecology may be used to: 

  • understand the response of species to a changing environment
  • improve current practices of farming and harvesting techniques for sustainable management of natural resources
  • inform the design and management of protected areas and the conservation of key species that hold specific ecological niches to maximize the preservation of biodiversity

The aim of the field-work components is:

  • to introduce students to practical methods used in environmental science
  • to better convey the concepts covered in the lecture portion of the course by using more empirical formats.

Course Goals:

  • Identify and understand the primary challenges caused by human activities facing marine ecosystems in the Mediterranean Sea and evaluate possible solutions and potential impacts on the people living in the region
  • Establish a solid knowledge of the basic scientific techniques used to perform scientific work in the direct pursuit of scientific research and sustainable environmental resource management practices 
  • Use critical thinking, empirical observation, and analytical skills when addressing environmental and conservation issues to understand organisms’ adaptations to their changing environments
  • Identify and understand the real challenges of sustainability science and to be able to apply this understanding to many different fields 

Course Philosophy

The course philosophy is based on the methodology of experiential learning: once engaged in hands-on activities, students are better able to connect theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations. Students will visit key ecosystems, research facilities, and special interest areas.

A scientific snorkeling curriculum will be integrated throughout the course combining theory in the classroom setting and snorkeling sessions with fieldwork and research activity in the Tuscan Archipelago National Park.


  • One semester of basic concepts in biology and ecology.
  • Students must complete an official swimming test attesting their ability to swim (200 meters without swim aids or 300 meters with aids such as fins, mask, and snorkel, plus the ability to float without the assistance of a flotation device for 15 minutes).
  • All students must complete a training in CPR and First Aid and must submit a medical statement signed by their physician and a liability waiver
  • Certification of a swimming test, CPR and First aid training, and Medical Statement and Waiver forms need to be provided by the students before their arrival in Florence.

Course Dates 2024 (2025 coming soon!)

May 7, TuesdayDeparture from Home Country
May 8, WednesdayArrival in Florence & check-in
May 9, ThursdayOrientation & Classes begin
May 15, WednesdayDeparture for Elba Island
May 16-28, Thursday – TuesdayImmersive experience – Elba Island
May 29, WednesdayCheck out and back to Florence
May 31, FridayCheck out and end of Program

Ready to dive into Marine Biology
with ISI Florence?