Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

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Boston Whaler

Scientific Equipment

  • dissecting and compound microscopes
  • fluorescence microscopes
  • Zeiss LSM510 confocal microscope
  • 3 temperature-controlled incubators
  • centrifuges, including a refrigerated centrifuge and a Speed Vac
  • analytical balances
  • an ultra-cold freezer
  • electrophoresis equipment
  • thermocycler for DNA analysis
  • fluorimeter
  • BioTek Enoch
    micro-volume spectrophotometer
  • Shimadzu UV/Vis spectrophotometer
  • NanoDrop UV/Vis spectrophotometer
  • integrating quantum radiometer-photometer with submersible PAR light probe
  • computer imaging stations including film and flatbed scanners
  • photomacrographic setup
  • photographic copystand
  • digital cameras
  • super-VHS video cameras for photomicro- and photomacrography
  • digital video camera
  • freeze drier
  • rotary evaporators
  • gas chromato-graph/mass spectrometer with autosampler
  • binary HPLC with dual wavelength detector
  • quatrinary HPLC with diode array detector and 100 vial autosampler
  • biological safety cabinet
  • flow cytometer
  • tissue processor
  • rotary and ultramicrotomes
  • critical point dryer
  • sputter coater
  • access to an Hitachi S-4800 STEM



The Smithsonian Marine Station has been located at its 8-acre campus at 701 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida since May 1999. The SMS Site Plan (shown below) is being developed in phases, and the existing 8,000 square foot Phase I Laboratory, is presently the focal point of the site. It provides offices and individual laboratories for visiting scientists, resident staff and postdoctoral fellows, a conference room and computer room, and general-use laboratories for chemistry, histology, molecular work, confocal microscopy, preparations for electron microscoppy, and a small wet laboratory.

Information for Scientific Visitors to SMS

Non-Smithsonian research scientists who wish to conduct studies at the Marine Station are welcome on a space-available basis. Laboratory services include shared use of the wet lab and histology lab, use of basic microscopes, and use of other Station equipment which is designated for general use. Visiting scientists are responsible for providing their own expendable supplies and must, of course, adhere to the Marine Station’s policies and procedures. Potential visitors should refer to this list of Charges and direct questions and visitor application requests to Head Scientist, Dr. Valerie Paul.

Boats and Collecting Gear

For use in making scientific collections, the Station owns:

• a 15-foot canoe and two 11-foot sea kayaks for work in shallow waters of limited accessibility

• a 17-foot Boston Whaler for work in the Indian River Lagoon

• a 21-foot center console Triumph for diving and near-shore work

• a 21-foot center console Carolina Skiff for work in the Indian River Lagoon

• a 39-foot converted lobster boat, the R/V Sunburst, for use in off-shore waters

The R/V Sunburst is outfitted with radar, a GPS navigation/ positioning system, a video depth recorder, a side-scan sonar device, and a 5.5 kilowatt AC generator. There is also a level-wind hydrographic winch with a drum capacity of over 1000' of 1/4" stainless steel cable for handling collecting equipment, including:

R/V Sunburst

• Phleger corer

• J & O box corer

• Higgins anchor dredge

• 10" diam. pipe dredge

• epi-benthic sled dredge

• VanVeen grab

• mud snapper

• mid-water trawl

• 4 single otter trawls (mesh sizes 1.25-1.5")

• 3/4m & 1m diam. plankton nets (100, 210, 500, 1000um mesh sizes)


The Station has 6 vehicles for local transportation and field work including a 6-passenger station wagon, a 6-passenger SUV, a 3-passenger pickup truck, two 5-passenger vans and a 15-passenger extended van.


Tyson House


Visitors to the Marine Station are housed in the Tyson House on the SMS campus. Overflow visitors rent rooms at local motels in Fort Pierce and Vero Beach, FL.

Reference Resources

Staff and visitors to the Smithsonian Marine Station enjoy user privileges at the 22,000 volume library of the nearby Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University, and access to the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Museum which contains a reference collection of over 50,000 lots of marine specimens from the Indian River Lagoon area.


Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce
701 Seaway Drive, Fort Pierce, Florida 34949
Phone 772-462-6220, Fax 772-461-8154

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