Charleston's past, present and future are intricately connected to the area's natural environment, which features miles of ocean coastline, salt marsh, tidal creeks, rivers and other waterways. These natural features provide a vast laboratory for studying natural, managed and disturbed ecosystems, including those in both freshwater and saltwater environments.
Hollings Marine Laboratory
Five collaborating organizations occupy the Hollings Marine Laboratory - one of three NOAA "Centers of Excellence" in the agency's Ocean and Human Health initiative. The lab houses 150+ researchers, fellows, students and staff focused in an interdisciplinary fashion on the reciprocal relationships between organisms and their marine environment, with applications for aquaculture and human health and disease.
The five member institutions are:
The laboratory has several specialized facilities, including:
- A nuclear magnetic resonance center with 800 mHz and 600 mHz instruments
- Four level-3 biological safety labs for handling toxins and viruses
- Marine environmental challenge rooms for experiments with isolated organisms under controlled environmental conditions
- Aquatic production facilities for large-scale production of marine organisms for laboratory use
- Cryogenic specimen banks where animal tissues from around the world are held in liquid nitrogen tanks as a repository for studying contaminant loads and biochemistry
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
NOAA's Coastal Services Center works with various branches of NOAA and other Federal agencies to bring information, services and technology to the nation's coastal resource managers. The Center is a partner in more than 100 ongoing projects geared to resolve site specific coastal issues.
Coastal Services Center
Center for Forested Wetlands Research (USDA)
This Center works to provide the data and tools necessary for managing and restoring the structure, function and productivity of forested wetland landscapes. Several universities, governmental agencies and private industry are collaborative partners, and the Center maintains a number of experimental sites.
Restoration Ecology with Clemson University Restoration Institute
Focused on accommodating urban development and population growth while preserving, restoring and conserving natural resources, the Restoration Ecology Team conducts research in watershed management and restoration of comprised ecological systems. Research areas include:
- Community-based watershed planning and management programs
- Ecosystem restoration for rivers, wetlands, estuaries and coastal environments
- Remediation methods for abandoned industrial sites or brownfields
- Practices to prevent and manage water pollution caused by stormwater runoff
- Forest and wildlife habitat regeneration and management emissions