Indian River Lagoon

Ft. Pierce, Florida, USA


The Smithsonian Marine Station (SMS) is located on the Indian River Lagoon, an estuary occupying one-third of the east coast of Florida. It is regarded as one of the most important estuaries in North America for its high biodiversity, largely because subtropical and tropical species and their habitats meet there and interact.

Now approaching its 44th year of operation as a unit of the National Museum of Natural History, SMS and its staff are central participants in marine research at the Smithsonian. The station also facilitates long-term, interdisciplinary comparative research as one of the Smithsonian’s network of marine stations and laboratories.

Work at the Smithsonian Marine Station spans a variety of important initiatives, including the study of climate change and nutrient pollution on mangrove growth and seagrass ecology; the ecology of harmful algal blooms; long-term changes in diversity and abundance of marine invertebrates; monitoring invasive species on nearshore habitats; and the natural products chemistry and chemical ecology of marine animals and seaweeds.

The station also supports education through the adjacent Smithsonian Marine Ecosystems Exhibit, which is open to the public, and initiates cooperative ventures in education and public outreach through a grant from the National Science Foundation Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE).

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