An integral part of the mission of the Marco Island Shell Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is to "promote the study, conservation, science, history and appreciation of seashells and mollusks in all their forms..."  The Club depends upon the proceeds from the holiday sale in late fall and the annual Shell Show in March to underwrite scholarships and grants. Since the three-day March 2020 Shell Show was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the Club was not able to maintain the high level of philanthropic activity as in past years.  

The Club has two endowed scholarships at Florida Gulf Coast University which continue to provide, each year, one undergraduate research scholarship and one graduate competitive research scholarship to students majoring in marine or environmental science. Club members are pleased and proud that their efforts enable the club to support such outstanding young adults who will hopefully be our future researchers, teachers, and scientists.  The Club's endowment research scholarships were awarded to the following recipients for the 2020-21 academic year:

The undergraduate student is a senior in marine biology, whose research will involve identifying potentially harmful substances in the coastal waters of SW Florida and to measure their concentrations. Some of the substances humans introduce into our oceans include pharmaceuticals, personal care products, bactericides, sunscreens, shampoos, synthetic perfumes, pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals organisms which interfere with hormones of marine organisms. Wastewater treatment facilities typically do not remove some chemicals.

Identifying and measuring concentrations of substances humans add to the marine environment may be important to the health of our local marine environment.

The graduate student is in environmental science, and is studying the oyster, salinity and its recovery. The Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica, is a keystone species in the Caloosahachee River and estuary located in SW Florida, providing reef habitats and the process of filtering water. Human impact has drastically altered the hydrology of the river system to Lake Okeechobee by controlling fresh water releases through the building of a series of structures.

The proposed experiments will determine if giving Eastern Oyster spat a recovery period at higher salinities prevents mortality and affects growth rates. The data can be used to create guidelines for managers in charge of dam releases, and regulation changes that promote the health of the Eastern Oyster and the river as a whole.

Jeannine Windsor is a graduate student at FGCU completing her MA in environmental science with a focus on science communication.  She is using the Bioblitz-iNaturalist technique (a communal citizen-science effort to record as many species within a designated location and time period) at Briggs boardwalk which is now part of Rookery Bay Reserve. 

The iNaturalist app is being used by a network of naturalists, citizen scientists and biologists.  It is built on the concept of mapping and sharing observations. Briggs boardwalk is a free half-mile nature tail passing through several unique habitats from scrub forest to pools and mangrove wetlands.  It is located on Shell Island road off 951. As you walk along the boardwalk, (after you join iNaturalist) you can use your smart phone to photograph items you see.  iNaturalist will then help you identify what your photograph displays.  It is a handy tool for those interested in identifying flora and fauna.  Your observations can then be added to the list at this location.  This is an outstanding community service project. 

 


The commitment and talent of our members/volunteers and the continuing support of the community for the Club's fund-raising activities makes all these donations possible.

You can also help directly by making a donation.

 


Florida Gulf Coast University students who are interested in applying for the club's endowment scholarships should contact the Office of University Advancement for requirements.

Other interested individuals should email the club at:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail proposals to:

Marco Island Shell Club Scholarship/Grants Chair

P. O. Box 633

Marco Island, FL 34146