The Gulf Ecology Division is located on Sabine Island in Santa Rosa Sound,
8 miles southeast of Pensacola, Florida. It is a manmade island of 16.5
acres, formed from ballast brought by sailing ships during the late 1800's.
of Sabine Island
Research facilities include:
The GED Administration Building (Building 65)
was completed early in 2002 to provide office space for the Office of the Director and Program Operations
Staff, a visitor reception center, a modern lunch room, one large, 30 ft. x 50 ft (or sub-divided into two smaller rooms) conference room, two 10 ft. x 20 ft.
conference rooms, and a computer training room. Because of location and function, the new building serves as an important hub for many research and
administrative activities for GED staff.
By design, the cascading effect of moving personnel into this new facility on making quality office space available to technical staff allowed GED to follow
a master plan for the facility and remove four unsightly, high energy consuming, and high maintenance temporary buildings from the facility. Also by
design, the new facility is very energy efficient, using green lighting, solar panel for domestic heating water, sky lighting, and modern insulating
materials plus energy and maintenance saving on older, eliminated buildings, the cost of construction should be returned in the foreseeable future.
In addition to function and cost savings, the new building adds to the facility by maintaining the exterior architecture of the late 1800s and by facilitating
removal of unsightly buildings.
Computational Science Laboratory.
The Gulf Ecology Division's newest
building (6500 ft²) was completed in 2008. It houses offices and workspaces,
a geospatial analysis and modeling laboratory, and a 300 ft² conference
room which can be divided into two small meeting rooms. The building also
supplies space for the Division's information technology support contractors,
computer network equipment, and U. S. Geological Survey staff who provide
mapping and spatial analysis support under an interagency agreement. The
building was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
silver certification by the Green Building Certification Institute for its
many energy-saving and environmentally friendly features.
The Ecotoxicology & Chemistry Laboratory
is a 12,500 ft²
facility that includes 5000 ft² of wet laboratory space, 2500
ft² of analytical chemistry space, 2500 ft² for storage
and non-office work space, 1250 ft² of office space, and 1250
ft² for preparatory laboratories and a fully equipped workshop
and glass shop.
The Coral Culture Facility offers scientists the unique capability of
assessing multiple stressor effects on coral and their symbiotic algae in
a controlled laboratory environment. Scientists here have cultured over
10 species of reef building corals and 28 coral algae cultures
representing the major groups in the world's corals. Coral culturing
allows for the maintenance of genetically identical coral clones and
symbiotic algae species for repeated experiments over time.
Researchers can adapt laboratory test systems to evaluate dose-response
relationships for other stressors including contaminants and nutrients.
Seawater Delivery System.
The Gulf Ecology Division conducts research in the estuarine environment.
The salinity of available water ranges from the high salinity of the Gulf
of Mexico, a few hundred yards south, to the brackish and fresh water
conditions of the bays and rivers to the north. Water for experimentation
is siphoned directly from the intercoastal waterway at the north shore
of the island and depending upon the effects of tide, wind and rain can
be unacceptably high or low in salt content for experimental purposes.
For these reasons, a "seawater delivery system" has been implemented to
insure a supply of water at controlled salinity levels.
The Gulf Ecology Division's technical library.
is a Creole style cottage built in the early 1900s.
The building originally served as the physician's residence when the Pensacola Quarantine Station occupied the island from 1906 to 1925.
The facility was expanded in 1979 by enclosing a side porch and again in 1992 by adding a room to the back. Enclosed floor space now
measures approximately 1,450 square feet.
The GED Technical Library supports the research and
administrative functions of the laboratory by providing a wide range of
information services and by maintaining an extensive resource collection.
The Marine Environmental Assessment Laboratory
is divided into five separate laboratory spaces including the Nutrient Laboratory and two general
The Marine Ecology Laboratory
(8500 sq.ft) houses
the majority of GED's microbial and molecular ecology research and
GED's warehouse. The. building has 23 rooms that provide laboratory
research space and research support areas such as a sterile transfer
room, a radio isotope room, tissue culture and laser confocal microscope
room, sterilization rooms, microscope rooms, and numerous walk-in
cold rooms and growth chambers. Read more...
A fleet of small research vessels extends the Gulf Ecology Division's
laboratories into coastal waterways, bays, rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico. The laboratory's locations,
central to the northern Gulf of Mexico, provides unique geographical advantages. Time-sensitive samples
and live organisms can be returned to the laboratory from much of the Gulf coast within a day.
Many types of field studies can be accomplished without extensive travel time and expenses.
Our research vessels range in size from 10'-27' and support a wide range of operations, from
very shallow inshore waters to the open Gulf of Mexico. The larger vessels are fully equipped with navigation
aids and hardware for deploying field gear and sampling equipment.
The EPA's Ocean
Survey Vessel (OSV) Bold is used by competitive request for research
in open ocean waters. It has been used extensively by GED scientists in
the hypoxic ("dead") zone off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas and in
assessments of coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The
OSV Bold also supported a rapid assessment of Louisiana and Mississippi
coastal waters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.