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The Seawater Facilities at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus offer a remarkable array of possibilities for research on marine life. The facilities have undergone major renovations and updates in the last several years to accomodate the ever-widening scope of research topics in ocean life sciences — from molecular ecology of zooplankton to physiology and behavior of transgenic fish, and the effects of ocean acidification on food-webs.

The indoor research and aqubluelobsterarium facilities are housed in four buildings: the Ann Gall Durbin Marine Research Aquarium, the Ark Annex, the Luther Blount Aquaculture Research Lab, and the Marine Ecosystem Research Lab. With 8,000 square feet of indoor wet lab space and nearly unlimited exterior space, any marine environmental condition can be replicated apart from extreme depth and vastness. Bay water is pumped throughout the facilities and can be delivered chilled or heated and raw or filtered. Salinity also may be manipulated.

Facility features include specialty wet-labs for pathology and transgenic research, a pier, four seawater intake pipes, a pump house, eel grass mesocosm, and numerous outdoor tanks located. Temperature, photoperiod, filtration, aeration, flow rates, and sunlight are all available to create the perfect environment for research needs. Also available are four environmental chambers (-4 to 24C), walk-in -20 freezer, laminar flow tank, 3 large-scale incubators, and 24/7 generator back-up and emergency response personnel.

The remarkable diversity of research topics undertaken here include: benthic soil chemistry, marine degradation of plastics, functional morphology of sharks, effects of neuropeptides on lobster behavior, sea star disease, tunicate development, effects of ocean acidification and climate change. Assistance with experimental set up and logistics is also available.

Researchers are encouraged to contact facility manager Ed Baker to arrange a tour of the facility and discuss how to accommodate project requirements.

Flowing seawater servicesIMG_7177

IMG_8965Ambient Narragansett Bay temperature year round
Customizable heated or chilled temperature
Filtered  or unfiltered
Outdoor hook-ups for unfiltered seawater
Ability to fill large truck reservoirs

Environmental chambers

2 Polar (-4 to 20C)
2 Temperate (4 to 24C)
Photoperiod control
High and Low alarm controls
Emergency generator power and response

Tank and system design

Wide variety of tank sizes ranging from 10ft in diameter to assorted aquaria
Large outdoor spaces for research with sunlight requirements
Individual tank photoperiod control
Ability to provide accurate replication for sound statistics
Dedicated effluent systems for studies working with transgenics or pathogens

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