MSRI BuildingThe Marine Science Institute (MSRI) is responsible for cutting edged research on the health and status of the St. Johns River and marine ecosystems. Major projects coordinated through The Institute include Fisheries Independent Monitoring Program (this program provides data for The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and other fisheries managers to regulating Florida’s biological resources), The River Report Card Project is an ongoing collaborative effort by Jacksonville University and University of North Florida to assess health and status indicators from water chemistry and habitat to endangered and threatened species of the St. Johns River, ongoing Manatee Protection Planning and River Status Reports consist of monthly updates to the City of Jacksonville Waterways Commission on many issues arising on County waterways, including off shore waters, from dredging to reef restoration,  High School Marine & Environmental Education Program (Duval County Public Schools) and the Department of Marine Science and its Ongoing Research Opportunities.​​

Rescue Team Disentangles Dolphin Calf in Upper St. John's River
What: a rescue team assembled early this morning (7am) to rescue and disentangle a dolphin calf swimming with a reddish-orange object wrapped around it's head, near the dorsal fin
Where: Jacksonville, Upper St. John’s River, east side of Blount Island 
Rescue Summary: A team consisting of 40 people, using 7 boats found the dolphin at approximately 11am. The dolphin mom and calf were swimming with a larger pod of dolphins. The team waited for an opportunity to separate the pair from the group and move into shallower waters. Rescuers set the net around the mom/calf and removed what we now know was a aerobie (similar to a frisbee)from around the calf's head. A veterinarian evaluated both, treated the calf's wound with some antibiotics and determined that the dolphin could be released back into the wild. Then, at approximately 11:30, both were released together. The pair swam off together and rejoined their pod. It is important to note, the aerobie was cutting into the dolphin's body so without removal as the dolphin calf grows this could have created a potentially life threatening situation for this animal. 
Participating agencies: United States NavyHarbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, Jacksonville Zoo, NOAA Fisheries, Volusia County, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida, Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute, Georgia Aquarium Dolphin Conservation Field Station
To report a sick, injured, or dead marine mammal, immediately call the Southeast Region Stranding Network 24-hour hotline: 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343).


Interested in JU's Faculty Research? Click here to view Marine Science Faculty; click on the name to view their particular interest, research and area of study.
Inside of MSRI Building

Dr. Gerry Pinto and the Marine Science Graduates recently set~up (3) 7ft diameter circular tanks which holds 750 gals  ~  soon to be stocking Hybrid Striped Bass !



Types of Projects:​

Experimental or descriptive research, primary literature review, scholarship or creative activity in any academic field undertaken by Freshman,
Sophomore or Junior undergraduate students enrolled at Jacksonville University. W
e have the potential to fund several awards depending on the number and quality of proposals received. 


Any undergraduate student (traditional day and evening ADP) with a minimum of one full year remaining at JU when they apply for funding to ensure that they will be enrolled during the Student Research Symposium at the end of the project. 

Submission Guidelines:​

Submit a 5 - 10 page double-spaced description of the project (page limit includes images, graphs, diagrams and tables) to Dr. Lee Ann Clements (Chair, Undergraduate Research Fund Committee; ). The proposal should be submitted electronically as an MS Word document, 12 point, Times Roman, Arial or Calibri font, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins. Completed Signature Page is Required (paper copy or scanned)!!!—see attached document for more details

 Fundable costs (including but not limited to):​ 

  • Travel to and from libraries, collecting sites, studios or laboratories
  • Materials and supplies consumed by the project
  • Small items of equipment ($75 -- $500) – equipment is the property of Jacksonville University at the completion of the project.
  • Photocopying
  • Survey costs
  • Software
  • Travel to regional or national meeting to present results

Deadline: 5 pm March 11, 2011


  • Presentation of results at the Student Research Symposium 2012
  • Submission of abstract to NCUR 2012

Recipients will be announced at the Student Research Symposium 2011.




Dr. Dan McCarthy and four JU students (Danielle Laramie, Amy Hulsey, Anthony Flock, and Steve Taylor) and one former student (Julia Lyons) participated in a National Geographic and National Park Service sponsored BioBlitz in Biscayne National Park from April 29 to May 1, 2010. The purpose behind the BioBlitz was  to 1)  identify, and learn about as many species as possible, 2) highlight unique biodiversity protected by NPS, 3) let the public do science in the field with experts, 3) inspire the next generation of organismal biologists and stewards, and 4) guide people in reconnecting to nature. The BioBlitz included over 150 scientists, naturalists and leaders from US Universities as well as state and federal government agencies. Several internationally prominent scientists were there including Dr. Sylvia Earle and Nancy Knowlton.  The BioBlitz occurred during a 24 hour period where counts were made of all identified terrestrial and aquatic animal and plant species encountered in the park. The National Geographic and Park Service conduct one BioBlitz a year at one of the NPS parks within the US. What made this year’s event unique is that this was the first US BioBlitz in a NPS park that is primarily underwater. Consequently, the event required a great deal of logistical coordination as participants needed boats to get from the mainland out to areas to snorkel and explore as well as to be transported to offshore islands such as Elliot Key where activities where occurring. 
The JU team trailered the department vessel, the 26 ft RV Dolphin,  a few days early to get settled in as well as allow more flexibility to explore different areas of the park. Dr. McCarthy and the students camped at Elliot Key (One of the BioBlitz bases) during the event. Initially, during their BIOBLITZ participation the JU team used the RV Dolphin to explore different areas (Boca Chita and Sand Keys) of the park and make collections of various animals such as crabs, sea urchins, worms, clams, snails, etc. Because of their boat, they were able to contribute species to the count in areas where most of the other scientists in the event were not able to go to. When they returned from making their collections, they set up a touch tank to teach visitors on the island about the general biology of the animals they caught. During the course of the day hundreds of public visitors were ferried into Elliot Key and made their rounds through the touch tank as well as other exhibits of the BioBlitz. These visitors included public and private students as well as members of the general public. When the crowds started to slow down, the JU team shifted their duties to working with the team from the Florida Natural History Museum where they used scientific keys to identify as many of the organisms they collected. A number of the species JU students identified will end up being stored with the Museum in Gainesville. Overall, JU contributed nearly 50 species to the total count. At the end of the event, over 800 species had been counted including fish, invertebrates, plants algae, reptiles, birds and mammals. Since a number of unknown species were collected by different scientists, it is likely that the number will increase as identifications are made and submitted to the list. For more information go to National Geographic - Bioblitz

Medusa Head Worm Shell Cucumber
Medusa Head Polychaete Worm                     Tulip Shell, Sea Cucumber & Cowerie

Bearded Periwinkles Black Mangroves  
Beaded Periwinkles                                            Black Mangroves & Limestone at Elliot Key

Eliot Key Steve Taylor Interview     
Public Interaction at Elliot Key                           Steve Taylor interviewed by 
                                                                                National Geographic Reporter