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Otterbein University Offers First-of-its-Kind Aquarium Program

January 10, 2018
Otterbein University

The Aquarium Track of the University’s Zoo and Conservation Science Program is the only program of its kind in the Midwest,

Partners include the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Reef Systems Coral Farm.

Westerville, OH—Otterbein University’s program in Zoo and Conservation Science is expanding to include a specialized path for students interested in aquariums and marine and freshwater conservation. The new Aquarium Track is the only program of its kind in the Midwest. Students can begin earning a bachelor’s degree through the Aquarium Track in fall 2018.

Otterbein is one of only five universities in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in Zoo and Conservation Science, and the addition of the Aquarium Track will allow students to further focus their education. The track gives students the unique opportunity to benefit from an exclusive partnership with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, one of the nation’s most respected zoos, and Reef Systems Coral Farm, a live coral farm specializing in captive raised corals, aqua cultured live rock and sand.

This unique, cutting-edge major allows students to explore aquatic life while developing the critical thinking skills needed to frame and solve problems occurring in aquarium environments.

In addition to the core courses central to the Zoo and Conservation Science program, Aquarium Track students will:

  • Take introductory courses in marine science, and zoo and aquariums in all their facets.
  • Become certified as an Open Water SCUBA diver.
  • Participate in a Junior Practicum where students will up-keep a salt water tank, visit local aquariums, freshwater conservation, and aquaculture facilities.
  • Study upper level biology courses in Coral Reef Ecology, Aquatic Biology, and Invertebrate Biology.
  • Intern at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or at Reef Systems Coral Farm
  • Conduct undergraduate research with professors in ongoing projects on tadpoles, freshwater mussels, and coral reef ecology. 
  • Have the opportunity to win the Sea Life Award, sponsored by Sea Life, a large chain of aquariums, for the best senior research project each year.
  • Travel with experienced faculty to conduct research in Central America at the Belize Barrier Reef.

Over the last six years, Otterbein’s program in Zoo and Conservation Science has become the preeminent undergraduate program in the country, sending more students to national meetings than any other institution and supporting students in internships with animals around the world. The program’s partners include the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Ohio Wildlife Center, and Reef Systems Coral Farm.

The Zoo and Conservation Science program is highly competitive, admitting only 24 students to the Zoo Track and 12 students to the Aquarium Track each academic year. Students wishing to major in either track of the Zoo and Conservation Science program must be admitted to Otterbein University as a Pre-Zoo and Conservation major.

Learn more at www.otterbein.edu/zooandconservationscience.


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