Sea Education Association

About SEA

Marine Biological Laboratory

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) is an international center devoted to improving the human condition through basic research and education in biology, biomedicine, and environmental science. The oldest private marine laboratory in the western hemisphere, MBL has a year-round staff of more than 280 scientists and support staff working in such fields as developmental biology and infertility, cell dynamics and imaging, molecular biology and evolution, genomics and global infectious diseases, behavioral ecology and scientific aquaculture, and nutrient cycling and climate change.

Scientists at the Ecosystems Center study terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and issues such as resource management and global climate change. Researchers at The Josephine Bay Paul Center in Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution explore the genetic relationships among living organisms and identify human genes of biomedical importance. Investigators in the state-of-the-art Marine Resources building study, maintain, and cultivate aquatic organisms essential to modern biological, biomedical, and ecological research. MBL also hosts the Boston University Marine Program.

Each summer an additional 1400 scientists and advanced students from around the world come to MBL to conduct research, collaborate across scientific disciplines, and learn from one another. Many use the diverse marine organisms found in local waters because their relatively simple systems make them good models for exploring fundamental biological processes common to all life forms, including humans.

It’s an exciting annual gathering, unrivaled in the world of biology. To date, 49 Nobel Laureates have taught, taken courses, or conducted research at MBL. More than 50 members of the National Academy of Sciences are currently members of the MBL Corporation. In the words of author/physician Lewis Thomas, “The MBL stands as the uniquely national center for biology in the country.”

MBL’s outstanding educational program—six intensive summer laboratory/lecture courses and a number of shorter techniques-oriented courses offered throughout the year—is known throughout the life sciences for kick-starting research careers. Recent additions include the Semester in Environmental Sciences Program for undergraduates, offered by the Ecosystems Center, and the Brown-MBL Graduate Program for Biological and Environmental Sciences.

MBL also serves as a primary source of scientific information for the Woods Hole community through the MBL WHOI Library, which holds more than 200,000 bound journals and books and provides access to 4,000 electronic journals and scientific databases. Together these resources cover the biological literature of the last 300 years.