The UOG Marine Laboratory, established as a research unit of UOG in 1970, plays an important role in both national and regional marine research.
Members of the Marine Laboratory faculty enhance their research activities through individual collaboration with colleagues from other U.S. and foreign institutions and by opening the facilities to visitors from around the world.
The primary mission of the Marine Laboratory faculty is basic and applied research on the biology of tropical marine organisms, with emphasis on the conservation and development of marine resources of the near-shore waters of Guam and Micronesia.
Graduate and undergraduate students play an important role in these research activities. Community service is promoted through the activities of a Marine Extension Agent, the research faculty, and graduate students.
Faculty, students, and researchers at the Marine Laboratory collaborate on a variety of research topics including coral genetic connectivity across the Pacific, fisheries health, sea turtle nesting behavior, coral diseases, endolithic algae, coral nurseries, diver effects on coral reefs, shark genetic connectivity within the Marianas, and more.
The Marine Laboratory is administered by a director that is selected from the faculty and serves on a three-year rotational basis. There are 15 full-time employees at the Marine Laboratory: ten full-time faculty, two clerical staff, two marine technicians, and a dive safety officer. Two faculty members of the College of Arts and Sciences, a marine microbiologist and a behavioral geneticist, are closely affiliated with the Laboratory as well. Several postdoctoral research associates, supported by federal grants, also work with the faculty.
The University of Guam Marine Laboratory is presently housed in three buildings. The facility is used year around. The two-story, 1800-m² research building contains a physiology laboratory, an analytical research laboratory, a lecture hall, conference room, faculty laboratories and offices, and student offices. The technical building includes wood and metal shop facilities and storage for boats and SCUBA equipment. The third building (1100 m²) is a shared facility between the Marine Laboratory and the Water and Energy Research Institute (WERI), which houses our reference collection, a genetics/molecular biology lab and additional office space for postdoctoral investigators and visitors.
The Marine Laboratory’s facilities are well equipped. The analytical laboratory, which supports programs in chemical ecology and natural products chemistry, contains two HPLCs, a GC-MS, a lyophylizer, and three roto-evaporators. A molecular laboratory is well equipped for DNA sequencing, with two PCR thermocyclers, a Li-Cor DNA sequencer, digital image acquisition system, electrophoresis equipment, refrigerated high-speed centrifuges, and an ultracentrifuge. Other laboratories contain a UV/visible spectrophotometer, respirometers, dissecting and compound microscopes including fluorecence and video acessories, an ultra-pure water system, low-temperature freezers, a refrigerated incubator, an autoclave, as well as all the surveying, collecting, and preserving equipment typically found at a marine field station. A scintillation counter and facilities for histology are available in other departments of the University. The University recently purchased a confocal microscope, which is housed at the Marine Laboratory.
The Marine Laboratory also maintains a flowing seawater system for the culture and maintenance of organisms. The shop and technical service wing is staffed by two marine technicians who provide research support. Coral reefs and related habitats are easily accessible from shore or by the laboratory's three outboard vessels: a 21-ft Boston Whaler, a 19-ft Bertram Carribean, and a 14-ft McKee Craft Montenegro.
Guam, a Territory of the United States, is located in the western Pacific Ocean at 13° North, 144° East. Guam is the southernmost and largest island of the Mariana Archipelago.
The island has a population of approximately 137,000 and is administered by an elected local government. The economy is highly dependent upon tourism (more than 1,400,000 visitors per year). Regular airline flights are available directly to and from Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, Australia, Bali, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, and Palau, with connections throughout Asia and the South Pacific.
The 530-km² island rises some 400 m above sea level, has both dense jungles and open savannah, and is surrounded by fringing coral reefs. Air temperature ranges between 24° C and 34° C, and sea surface temperatures range between 27° C and 29° C year round.
The coral reefs are among the most diverse in the world and provide excellent opportunities for research. The marine flora and fauna of Guam include about 377 species of scleractinian corals, 237 species of benthic marine algae, and 950 species of coral reef fishes; more than 1700 species of molluscs have been identified so far. Total known marine biodiversity in Guam exceeds 5,600 species identified to date. The University of Guam Marine Laboratory is unique among the U.S. marine laboratories with modern facilities within this rich biogeographical province.
The Micronesia region encompasses five sovereign, independent nations—the Federated States of Micronesia (which is usually also called "Micronesia" for short and is not to be confused with the overall region), Palau, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, and Nauru—and as well as three U.S. territories in the northern part: Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Wake Island.
(Photos from NASA)
The study discovered that visible differences in the same jellyfish species are environmentally driven.
"It was an eye-opener to see how different species and organisms create relationships with each other in order to thrive and survive."
A team led by Associate Professor David Combosch is looking into if and how corals throughout the Marianas are connected.
D'amy Steward has been working on a project that allows for coral offspring to grow on ceramic beads.
The book celebrates five decades of scientific exploration and adventure at the UOG Marine Laboratory.