Biological Sciences

Research and Institutes

Aquaculture Laboratory

The indoor aquaculture facilities at Florida Tech's main campus total approximately 2,500 square feet, most of which is wet laboratory space. Recirculating systems ranging from small glass aquaria through 720-gallon tanks harbor a wide variety of aquatic species. Controlled environmental factors such as temperature, salinity and photoperiod can be imposed on any of these systems, providing outstanding capabilities for studies of reproduction, early life history, growout, nutrition, behavior and related areas of virtually any aquatic species.

A phytoplankton and live food culture system is available for nutritional support for planktivorous organisms. Support equipment for providing aeration, refrigeration, filtration, water quality testing and particle counting is available.

Center for High Resolution Microscopy and Imaging (CHRMI)

Michael Grace, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Director

The Center for High Resolution Microscopy and Imaging is a multidisciplinary laboratory providing state-of-the art light and fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, scanning probe microscopy and x-ray microanalysis of natural and artificial materials. The CHRMI contains necessary equipment and expertise to prepare almost any kind of sample for microscopic evaluation, to image sample surfaces and cross-sections at very high resolutions and to analyze elemental compositions of materials. Support staff maintains instrumentation and trains users in sample preparation and analyses of microstructure and microchemistry. Image collection is both film-based and digital; support platforms provide detailed image analysis capabilities.

Sportfish Research Institute (SRI)

SRI is dedicated to studies of the sport fishery species that are tremendously important to Florida. Research currently focuses on the use of the Indian River Lagoon as a nursery habitat for juvenile tarpon, the basic biology and ecology of these juveniles, the genetic structure of tarpon populations and the role of offshore artificial reefs in creating habitat for diverse sport fish species. In addition to field and laboratory research, SRI personnel present talks and provide information to local and regional sport fishing organizations and publications.

Funded in part by state and local grants, SRI also seeks funding and participation from corporations associated with the fishing industry and from private individuals. Contact Jon Shenker for more information.

Vero Beach Marine Lab (VBML)

VBML is located on four acres of oceanfront property in nearby Vero Beach. This facility serves as a field station for the university in support of research and teaching in the marine sciences. The beachfront location of VBML provides ready access to field study sites for work on the biology of coastal organisms and for studies of physical and geological processes of the coastal zone. Major research efforts at the laboratory are related to mariculture, the ecology of seagrass.

The center has a seawater system and extensive holding tanks for mariculture work. A two-story laboratory building, equipped with seawater tables and flow-through seawater, supports research on mariculture, ecology and toxicology of marine organisms. Classroom and seminar areas, offices and dry laboratory facilities are provided in the main laboratory building. Contact Junda Lin for more information.

Neotropical Paleoecology Research Group (NPRG)

Devoted to the study of the impact of climatic change on plant communities in tropical South America. Successful conservation of tropical biodiversity requires that we understand the mechanisms controlling habitat and species distributions. Two potent forces induce changes in these distributions: climate change and human activities. My research uses paleoecology to understand the changing patterns of tropical biodiversity.

Through the study of fossil pollen, and charcoal, we reconstruct the history of habitats in tropical South America. These paleoecological records allow us to reconstruct climate change over the last 200,000 years and relate it to patterns of biodiversity, speciation, and human occupation. From these observations we contribute to the current debate on global climate change and species conservation. Contact Mark Bush for more information.

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