The Others That Turned 50

By Jim Harvey (20 May 2016)

So as I have been preparing these blogs, I have been noting other marine labs and entities that also were celebrating 50 years of existence. It became obvious that many other marine labs originated at about the same time that Moss Landing Marine Laboratories began. So I went to the NAML site. MLML is a member of the National Association of  Marine Labs, and I went to as many of the listed websites as I could to determine the time they began. I did not include the state or federal labs (e.g. NOAA, EPA, CDFW, etc.) in this discussion. Here is a graph of the results (see list at end of blog):

Number of new marine labs timeline


What you see is that the first marine lab in the United States (at least for the ones that are members of NAML) was the Marine Biology Laboratory, started in 1888. MBL is located in Woods Hole Massachusetts.

Marine Biology Laboratory located in Woods Hole, MA along with many other marine institutions, including WHOI.

Some other notable marine labs that were established at the onset were: Hopkins Marine Station (1892), Friday Harbor Laboratories (1903), Scripps Institute of Oceanography (1905), and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (1930). MLML is the second oldest marine lab on Monterey Bay.

Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories (University of Washington)

You also will  notice from the graph that about the time MLML started there was an explosion in the number of marine labs. In fact, of the 51 marine labs I investigated 17 (33%) were started in the decade of 1960 to 1969.  The other marine lab that began in 1966 when MLML was formed was Shoals Marine Laboratory that serves Cornell and the University of New Hampshire. You might also notice from the table at the end of the blog that we are the median lab (25 labs started before us, 25 after us), so we are not your "average" lab.

Many other things began around 1966, 50 years ago, and I have compiled a few of interest:

1. National Sea Grant


2. Charlie Brown Christmas


3. Grateful Dead (apparently first played as Grateful Dead in San Jose, CA)


4. Superbowl




6. Penthouse magazine

(I don't think I should have a picture here)


7. Star Trek


So MLML began when many other marine labs began, and when a number of other iconic institutions showed up.

Let me know what I missed.



List of the 51 marine labs I used to determine a timeline.

1 Marine Biology Laboratory 1888
2 Hopkins Marine Station 1892 Stanford University
3 Marine Science Institute 1900 University of Texas
4 Friday Harbor Laboratories 1903 University of Washington
5 Scripps Institute of Oceanography 1905 University of California, San Diego
6 Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology 1912 University of Hawaii
7 Chesapeake Biological Laboratory 1925 University of Maryland
8 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 1930
9 Oregon Institute of Marine Biology 1931 University of Oregon
10 Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences 1932
11 Duke University Marine Lab 1938 Duke University
12 Virginia Institute of Marine Science 1940 William and Mary
13 Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science 1943 University of Miami
14 Gulf Coast Research Lab 1947 University of Southern Mississippi
15 Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory 1949 Florida State University
16 Grice Marine Laboratory 1955 College of Charleston
17 Mote Marine Lab 1955
18 Bodega Marine Laboratory 1960 University of California, Davis
19 Dauphin Island Sea Lab 1963 Alabama's Marine Science Institution
20 Hubbs SeaWorld 1963
21 Darling Marine Center 1965 University of Maine
22 Telonicker Marine Lab 1965 Humboldt State University
23 Hatfield Marine Science Center 1965 Oregon State University
24 Wrigely Marine Science Center 1965 University of Southern California
25 Shoals Marine Laboratory 1966 Cornell and University of New Hampshire
26 Moss Landing Marine Laboratories 1966 California State Universities
27 Skidway Institution of Oceanography 1967 University of Georgia
28 Chincoteague Bay Field Station 1968
29 Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce 1969
30 Baruch Marine Field Lab 1969 University of South Carolina
31 Center for Marine Science 1970 University of North Carolina Wilmington
32 Marine Laboratory 1970 University of Guam
33 Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution 1971 Florida Atlantic University
34 Kewalo Marine Laboratory 1972 University of Hawaii at Manoa
35 Coastal Studies Lab 1973 University of Texas Rio Grand Valley
36 Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Sciences 1974
37 Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience 1974 University of Florida
38 Long Marine Lab 1976 University of California, Santa Cruz
39 Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies 1978 San Francisco State University
40 Louisiana University Marine Consortium 1979
41 Coastal Studies Center 1981 Bowden College
42 Keys Marine Lab 1983
43 Blakely Island Field Station 1984 Seattle Pacific University
44 Richard B. Gump South Pacific Research Station 1985 University of California, Berkeley
45 Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute 1987
46 Marine Laboratory 1997 Roger Williams University
47 Alaska Sealife Center 1998
48 Cal Poly Center for Coastal Marine Sciences 2001 California Polytechnic State University
49 Nantucket Field Station 2004 University of Massachusetts
50 Vester Field Station 2007 Florida Gulf Coast University
51 Sitka Sound Science Center 2007