Vagelli lectureI began my university studies, at the Great Natural History Museum of La Plata, with the idea of becoming a biologist specialized in zoology. By the time I graduated, inside me a “young naturalist” had been born. I believe my passion for the natural world, a preference for a holistic approach in trying to comprehend nature, and an “explorer spirit” were inspired and strengthened by a handful of notable museum scientists that above all were great teachers.

The field trips in which I participated during my student years played a crucial role for my development as a scientist, and I am convinced that every future biologist should have the opportunity to live this stimulating experience of letting nature help herself to be understood.

After several years teaching courses related to marine biology, evolution and conservation of aquatic ecosystems to graduate students at RU Camden, I finally have the opportunity to offer this first marine ecology field course. It had its small challenges, not the lesser the financial aspects and logistic preparation. I was uncertain about the quality of the potential sites, and most importantly, if our planned work would meet the students’ expectations. My hope was this fieldwork would contribute to a better understanding of nature (and study methods) to this group of enthusiastic future MS biologists, in a similar way than it did to me when I was a young student.