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Field Site

Field Site for the Institute for the Environment

The Morehead City Field Site program, run jointly by IMS and the UNC Institute for the Environment, offers undergraduates at UNC the opportunity to learn through discovery and hands-on experience. During this semester long program, in-residence undergraduates explore the “living classrooms” of the NC coast, including the Pamlico Sound, the second largest lagoonal estuary in the country and the site of dynamic larval fish and invertebrate activity. Students have the opportunity to experience offshore research expeditions with IMS faculty members, while also studying gradients from estuaries to the open ocean and gain first hand exposure to advanced shark research. Additionally, students learn about the impacts of human development and storm water on coastal receiving waters.

A speaker series brings in internationally and nationally acclaimed researchers to discuss such topics as microbial and phytoplankton ecology, water quality and resources, benthic ecology, fisheries management, sea level rise, coastal geology, barrier island ecology, ecosystem-based management, beach renourishment, coastal hazards, risk analysis, public policy and decision making.

The coursework, field excursions, and seminar series are complemented by a collaborative, team-based research effort known as the “capstone project,” which is typically an examination of a real-world marine science problem or issue. For example, recent capstone projects have been focused on stormwater runoff, beach nourishment, and oyster reef restoration efforts. Through these projects, students gain experience in research design, teamwork, and the presentation of scientific conclusions.


Dr. Rachel T. Noble

Dr. Rachel T. Noble

Mary and Watts Hill Jr. Distinguished Professor of Marine Science

(252) 726-6841 ext. 150

(252) 726-2426