The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine Laboratory is an independent marine laboratory funded through private donations, and local, state, and federal granting agencies. The laboratory currently has six full time staff members, two of which are Ph.D. level research scientists.
The majority of the research conducted at the laboratory is conducted in collaboration with scientists in academia, local governments, and state agencies. These partners in research include the City of Sanibel, Florida Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Mote Marine Laboratory, and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
The current 2,800 sq.ft. laboratory and an associated temperature-controlled outbuilding lab are located on J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge property in the Tarpon Bay Recreation Area. The facility is ‘on the water’ and less than a mile and half to SCCF’s Nature Center.
The SCCF Marine Laboratory is a member of the National Association of Marine Laboratories (NAML and by geographic location, SAML, Southern Association of Marine Laboratories), a nonprofit organization of over 120 members, all of which provide a diverse educational and research experience. A member of the Organization of Biological Field Stations (OBFS) since 2003. And a member of the Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) since 2012.
Research currently conducted by laboratory scientists includes: (1) studies of marine, estuarine and near freshwater habitats including their restoration and functioning; and (2) nearshore water quality and barrier island lakes. All research conducted at the lab is enhanced by the River Estuary Coastal Observing Network (RECON), an instrument array composed of eight near real-time sensors deployed at locations within the Caloosahatchee Estuary and Pine Island Sound.
Research conducted at the laboratory is driven by critical management questions concerning water quality, estuary health, and the restoration of these resources. With our research partners, scientific investigation of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge complex and the status of the urbanized Caloosahatchee Estuary is the basis of environmental policy recommendations. Data collected by the Marine Laboratory is also used to better understand the current state of the waters surrounding Sanibel and Captiva and to make informed decisions regarding the future of the estuary.