The Marine Science Institute (MSRI) is responsible for cutting-edge 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 Navy, Harbor 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).

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 !

Undergraduate Research

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. We 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


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