Marine Biology & Ecology

Centers and Labs

Marine Life Sciences Center
The Marine Life Sciences Center, located within the Marine Technology and Life Science Seawater Complex, provides a dedicated space for the study of marine animals with foci on the critical connections between oceans and human health and the impacts of climate change on marine organisms and ecosystems. Research studies in the center include:
  • Responses of corals to climate change and of corals to environmental stresses
  • The impacts of environmental toxicants including heavy metals, pharmaceuticals and toxins from harmful algal blooms on fishes and invertebrates
  • Genomics of marine organisms and how gene expression changes in marine populations chronically exposed to pollution
  • Cancer in fish as a model to understand novel pathways in carcinogenesis
  • Early life history of marine fish and invertebrate larvae - how they sense and move through oceanic environments.

For more information about the Marine Life Sciences Center, visit:

National Resource for Aplysia
The National Resource for Aplysia at the UM Rosenstiel School is the only facility in the world that cultures and raises sea hares, Aplysia californica, for scientific research. The relatively simple nervous system of Aplysia offers an ideal model for research on neurophysiology, brain function, memory and learning, and aging. Funded through the National Institutes of Health for the last 17 years, the programs ships more than 20,000 animals annually to scientists around the globe and conducts ongoing research to improve the utility of this important animal model. For more information, visit:

Coral Reef Conservation Research Laboratory
Researchers in the Coral Reef Conservation Research Laboratory study the biology, ecology and conservation of coral reefs with a particular emphasis on the impacts of ongoing climate change on these ecosystems. Directed by Dr. Andrew Baker, a major research theme in the lab is the complex and dynamic relationship between corals and their algal symbionts (“zooxanthellae” in the genus Symbiodinium), to better understand how corals might adapt to both warming ocean temperatures and increased ocean acidification in the coming decades. For more information, visit:
Experimental Fish Hatchery
The Experimental Hatchery at the UM Rosenstiel School includes a number of culture areas which give the facility the capability of concurrently supporting a wide variety of diverse research projects. For more information, visit:

Marine Genomics Laboratory
The Genome Enable Marine Science (GEMS) lab use functional genomic approaches to enhance knowledge about genes, gene expression and genetic adaptation. Marine genomics utilizes cutting edge technologies to define the differences within and among species. For more information, visit:

Marine Invertebrate Museum
The Marine Invertebrate Museum is an internationally recognized, CITES-certified research museum for Atlantic tropical marine invertebrates. The collections, which have few rivals as to number, geographic and vertical ranges of Atlantic tropical species, are of exceptional value as research, teaching, reference and data resources because of their comprehensive nature and the fact that the major portion of the material has been and continues to be identified by leading specialists from around the world. The collections consist of ca 65,000 lots (belonging to 23 phyla), of which at present 41,273 lots are cataloged and identified to species, with most of the remaining lots identified to order or family. For more information, visit:

National Center for Coral Reef Research
The National Center for Coral Reef Research (NCORE) at the UM Rosenstiel School is one of the world's leading providers of scientific research to better understand, conserve and manage coral reefs worldwide. The center provides a central point of contact for over 50 University faculty, research staff and students working on five broad interdisciplinary coral reef research themes:

  • Climate change and paleoclimate reconstruction,
  • Connectivity and hydrodynamics,
  • Management science and socioeconomics,
  • Resilience, ecology and fisheries, and
  • Modeling and computational science.

In addition, to fostering these interdisciplinary research links, the Center seeks to encourage greater communication between scientists, resource managers, and the public. As a result of this, strong relationships with federal and state research and management agencies, other universities, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector are integral to NCORE's success. NCORE sponsors a semi-annual research forum, frequent workshops on targeted research themes, and educational programs to help build links between the biological, physical and social sciences. For more information, visit:

Toadfish Laboratory
The research conducted in the Toadfish Laboratory is a mixture of whole animal physiology, molecular biology, pharmacology and toxicology focused on the gulf toadfish, Opsanus beta, a marine teleost fish found along the coast of Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico. Using these different approaches, Dr. Danielle McDonald and her research team are establishing a greater understanding of the role of serotonin (5-HT; 5-hydroxytryptamine) within teleost fish by investigating the receptors that mediate its response and the transporters that facilitate its movement. 5-HT is a neurochemical that has been intensely studied in mammals for some time and is most commonly known for its role in depression. For more information, visit:

Broad Key Research Station
The University of Miami’s Research Station at Broad Key is a 63-acre island complete with a main house, dock and boathouse located just off the coast of Key Largo. UM Rosenstiel School professors and students will use this stunning location to study the dynamic marine and terrestrial ecosystems that exist in the area.
Coral reefs teeming with fish, unspoiled mangroves and various animal populations await researchers who take the short 45-minute boat ride to Broad Key’s shores. The quick and direct access is beneficial to researchers, allowing for frequent year-round data collection and analysis.
With permanent accommodations for 20 individuals, the main house is nestled in the middle of the island and offers panoramic views from its top floor. From atmospheric science to marine biology, faculty and students conduct important research that will help us better understand the Florida Keys and beyond.

Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science campus

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