Freshwater and Marine Biology

    • Gannon's Freshwater and Marine Biology major is one of only 61 in the country and the only one of its kind in the area.
    • Gannon's campus is located just a few blocks from Lake Erie, the world's 11th-largest lake.
    • We believe that opportunities to get involved in research with faculty in the Biology Department are second to none.  Student presentations, awards, and authorship on publications are evidence of our commitment to undergraduate research.
    • Students and faculty utilize the 53-foot research vessel, the Environaut, and state-of-the-art research facilities for classroom and research activities.

    You Will Learn

    Gannon's Freshwater and Marine Biology major is one of only 61 such programs in the U.S. and one of the only majors of its kind in the  Great Lakes region. The program provides students with coursework and hands-on experience to prepare them for employment or graduate training in the field of aquatic science.  Our location on the shore of Lake Erie makes Gannon the ideal place to study aquatic systems, gain valuable internship experience and secure job placement following graduation.   As water resources become more in demand, the need for aquatic scientists is expected to grow, and our faculty remain well funded to engage students in research opportunities to allow for the training needed to fill that demand.

    You Will Experience

    Students in the Freshwater and Marine Biology major have a great number of opportunities for field internships with agencies and organizations such as Presque Isle State Park, Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Erie County Board of Health, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Regional Science Consortium, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.  Many of these groups have offices in the Tom Ridge Environmental Center located at the foot of Presque Isle and all of them are located within miles of campus.

    You Will Achieve

    Training in Freshwater and Marine Biology opens the door to a diversity of career opportunities:

    • Aquatic Ecologist
    •  Field Ecologist
    • Fisheries Biologist
    • Aquatic Microbiologist
    • Environmental Consultant
    • Environmental Planner
    • Environmental Analyst
    • Environmental Educator
    • Natural Resource Manager
    • Park Naturalist
    • University Professor

    As with many other majors, career opportunities in aquatic biology increase with post-baccalaureate training at the Masters or Ph.D. level.

    You will Study

    The Freshwater and Marine Biology curriculum:

    • Is the only undergraduate program of its kind in the area.
    • Provides broad training in biology, chemistry, environmental science and geology.
    • Allows students to choose from a variety of upper-level electives to customize their degree.
    • Utilizes Gannon's 53-foot research vessel, the Environaut, to employ abundant local water resources as natural laboratories for class work and research in addition to newly renovated laboratories, including a water education teaching and training (WETT) institute.
    • Allows students to work side-by-side with faculty who are considered experts in the field.

    Liberal Studies Core

    The Liberal Studies Core Curriculum is one reflection of Gannon University's commitment to its Catholic identity. The Core's design offers students a defined, integrated, shared experience as the foundation for their undergraduate program.

    You Will Earn

    Salaries for careers related to aquatic biology vary depending on level of education, experience, geographic location, and employer.

    • Ecologist: $42,000 - $90,000
    • Fisheries Biologist: $45,000 - $65,000
    • Park Naturalist: $40,000 - $60,000
    • Environmental Educator: $35,000 - $50,000
    • Environmental Consultant: $43,000 - $75,000
    All salary information is compiled from data gathered from the Bureau of Labor Statistics ( and/or PayScale (