Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Marine Science


Honors College

First Advisor

Jennifer Mokos


There is very little research that explores the public attitude toward marine biodiversity loss as an environmental issue. This study aims to provide insight into the disparities in marine conservation education in order to better provide meaningful education opportunities for coastal communities. The data for this research was collected using a series of semi-structured interviews that were conducted as focus groups of participants from Horry County, South Carolina. Residents from North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Loris, and Bucksport were recruited to three focus groups based on their geographical residency. Horry County retirees and students attending Coastal Carolina University were also recruited to two additional focus groups for a total of 5 groups. The results revealed several themes that highlighted general opinions and knowledge levels of the participants. Knowledge of both marine biodiversity as a general topic, as well as its causes and effects, was limited throughout each of the groups. The participants also expressed opinions that attributed the importance of marine biodiversity to its visual beauty. Opinions about the relative importance of economic development and marine biodiversity conservation differed across the groups. Although the consequences of under communication and ineffective education were apparent, the study was enlightening in presenting the possible improvement of scientific communication through relationship building and conversational education.