Marine Ecosystem Engineers (Ages 11-13) heading banner

Click here to ApplyClick here for our cancellation policyClick here for our code of conduct

Must have completed 5th grade and turn 11 by June 1st

Ever wonder why there are so many fiddler crabs in the marsh? Or why sea oats grow on dunes?  If so, you are thinking like a Marine Ecologist because these are examples of ecosystem engineers – organisms that can create, change, or destroy a habitat that serves an entire ecosystem! Join us for a week of ecological creation as you learn about these construction critters and explore the different ecosystems they engineer. Learn how birds, fish, crustaceans, and even humans can be ecosystem engineers!

Field excursions include:

  • Going to the beach, barrier island, marsh, fouling station, coquina outcrop, Center for Marine Science, kayaking and NC Aquarium

Highlights include:

  • Boat trip to Masonboro to investigate dune engineering; learn how oysters provide hard bottom structures; fiddler crabs aerate the marsh; and so much more.

Program Dates and Tuition

Program Dates and Tuition

Day of Week:

Sunday / Monday - Friday


8:00 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.

Friday pick-up/final presentation at 12:00 p.m.

Residential students must arrive on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. while commuting students join the program Monday at 8:00 a.m.

Staff / Student Ratio:



UNCW Campus

Summer 2019 Dates:

June 23 - 28

July 14 - 19 

Commuter Tuition:


Residential Tuition:




Program Application & Registration

You must register by 5:00 p.m. the Wednesday before your program is to begin.

Before completing your application, please review the Cancellation Policy | PDF and the expected MarineQuest Student Code of Conduct | PDF.

To complete the teacher recommendation, please have your teacher click here to submit their recommendation.

Please Note: A completed application does not register you for your program. All applications will first be reviewed by the MarineQuest Staff and upon acceptance, you will receive an e-mail explaining the next step in the registration process.

Residential Information

MarineQuest Airline Information | PDF

The MarineQuest staff is more than happy to pick-up and drop-off students at Wilmington International Airport at no cost. An airline request form is required (see above link for more details).

Residential FAQ's

  • Linens are provided - DO NOT bring sheets, pillows, and blankets.
  • Laundry facilities are available at no cost - bring detergent
  • No electronic equipment (including cell phones) is allowed.
  • You will receive a Welcome Packet with detailed information on what to bring after registering.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQ page.
• Note that prices, content, dates, and times are subject to change without notice.
• Questions? Call 910.962.2640 or send an e-mail to
• Website and program content © UNCW MarineQuest