Filtration system

The Marine Science Center has a wealth of research equipment and resources that support the diverse research programs of faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.

Marine ecology, fisheries and global change research is supported by a flow-through seawater system, supplying filtered seawater throughout the facility, and to a newly constructed Outdoor Mesocosm Facility (1370 sq. ft.) with thirty-two, 100-gallon seawater tables. In support of nearshore research and diving operations, the MSC is also equipped with a brand new SCUBA tank fill station and maintains and operates three small research boats (13’ Boston Whaler, 15’ Polaris hard-bottomed inflatable, and a 21’ Steiger Craft) and one larger vessel (28′ Parker Sport Cabin). Analytical laboratory equipment used for measuring environmental samples includes an elemental analyzer for solids and an automated ion analyzer, and spectrophotometer for liquid samples.

The Center’s neurophysiology and robotics lab houses several complete electrophysiology monitoring systems, equipped with intracellular and extracellular monitoring capabilities. Equipment in support of the development of biomimetic robots includes an electrohydrodynamic printing system used to print bioelectric interfaces, Nitinol training system to calibrate moving parts of biomimetic robots, and a complete prototyping machine shop with various manufacturing tools including two 3D printers.

The MSC also houses a fully equipped molecular biology laboratory, including a dedicated bench for RNA work equipped with pipettes, a vortex mixer, minicentrifuge, thermal cyclers for PCR, and a bioanalyzer setup for DNA and RNA quantification assays. Shared molecular laboratories also include a Sorvall SuperT21 centrifuge, Yamato Sterilizer SM300 autoclave, and three setups for gel electrophoresis.

The ecological forecasting lab is equipped with various tools that support the environmental and physiological monitoring across broad temporal and spatial scales. These include probes and sensors that monitor air and water parameters such as oxygen, temperature, salinity, pressure, and UV wavelength, as well as infrared cameras and heartbeat monitors, and environmental chambers to directly measure and model physiology of organisms in the lab and field.

In support of coral reef physiological research, a Unisense underwater meter and microsensors allows researchers to measure the oxygen and pH levels in an around corals. An underwater PAM fluorometer allows for measurement of the photosynthetic activity of the coral’s symbiotic algae. Additionally, a YSI Sonde and ADV are used to measure water quality and flow around the reef.

Marine biogeochemistry research is supported by a 72 tank, mixed-gas ocean acidification and culturing system with integrated water mixing/changing, water/gas flow control, dedicated lighting system, low/high temperature control. This system allows for recreation of past/current/future ocean chemistry scenarios to measure the impacts of changing environmental conditions on marine organisms.

Additionally, the biogeochemistry lab is equipped with a variety of analytical equipment.

Specimen/Seawater Collection


The Marine Science Center utilizes a seawater system to provide filtered seawater to our tanks and aquariums. Collection of filtered seawater by non-Northeastern researchers and/or their students is permitted with prior approvals. In extremely limited cases, and with prior approvals, specimen collection may be also be permitted. Please contact our Laboratory Manager, Ryan Hill, to discuss your needs.


  • Scheduling of visits is subject to staff and site availability. The MSC hours of operation are 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Please be aware that those wishing to collect filtered seawater are required to bring their own collection containers.

Cost & How to Pay

We do not charge for small volume seawater collections. For collection of over 500 gallons, please contact our Laboratory Manager, Ryan Hill, to discuss the fee and payment methods.

Additional Information

  • Upon arriving at the MSC, check in at the front desk and submit any outstanding release forms. We require that you also check out at the front desk when concluding your visit.
  • To cancel or reschedule your visit contact the Laboratory Manager as soon as possible.
  • Recreational swimming is not permitted at any time, and unauthorized snorkeling or scuba diving is not allowed.
  • Restrooms and filtered drinking water are available for use in the main building during hours of operation.
  • Unless previously arranged, access to the laboratories and research areas are prohibited.
  • Removal of any item from the grounds is strictly prohibited without prior permission – this includes rocks, shells, and living organisms. Visitors should not cause harm to any living organism at any time; disruptive and/or dangerous behavior will not be tolerated.
  • Be aware that there are active research plots on the grounds. Visitors should not stray from authorized areas.