The Fish and Invertebrate Ecology Laboratory is equipped with dry analytical laboratory facilities, a flow-through ambient seawater laboratory, an aquarium room, a dive locker, a dock, and office space. The location of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center along the Rhode River provides direct access to the Chesapeake Bay and the adjacent Atlantic Ocean. The wide array of facilities and equipment permits researches to not only work extensively within the Chesapeake Bay, but across the globe. The number of people operating within the lab varies seasonally with 8-10 in the winter to 15-20 in the summer with a large influx of interns and visiting scientists.

Laboratory Facilities
Researchers within the Fish and Invertebrate Ecology Laboratory can utilize a wide variety of scientific equipment including dissecting microscopes, compound microscopes, balances, drying ovens, a bomb calorimeter, video recorders (multi-camera, infrared, and ambient light systems) and numerous computer workstations. There is also access to several (< 0°C) cold rooms and other general use laboratory equipment housed at SERC.

In addition to laboratory equipment the lab possesses several water quality meters, corers, bottom grabs, plankton nets, trawls, automated and handheld microwire injectors, microwire detectors, elastomer injectors and a multitude of ultrasonic telemetry equipment (i.e. receivers, hydrophones, tags, and custom-built transmitters). Aquarium room – The aquarium room allows researchers to rear and maintain specimens and conduct experiments in an environment that does not require flowing water. This specially designed room has enough space to hold over 30 55-gallon tanks. Environmental conditions can also be manipulated and video equipment outfitted to conduct in situ observational experiments.

 The wetlab is operated and maintained by the Fish and Invertebrate Ecology Laboratory. Its location, along the Rhode River, provides a unique opportunity to conduct ecological experiments and house organisms in an oligohaline estuarine environment. Ambient river water (0-16 ppt) is pumped through the wetlab nearly year round, from March-December. This main facility possess XX sq. feet and can be arranged to hold a number of sea tables.

Dive Locker
The Fish and Invertebrate Laboratory possesses all the necessary equipment to perform scientific diving operations (i.e. wet suits, dry suits, tanks, regulators, buoyancy compensators, etc.) The Smithsonian Institution is an organizational member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS), an organization dedicated to the advancement of scientific diving through the promotion safe diving techniques and educational programs. Personnel within the Fish and Invertebrate Fish and Ecology Lab have received AAUS scientific diving certification through the Smithsonian Institution and several also posses NAUI advanced certification, enriched air Nitrox certification and dry suit training.

The Fish and Invertebrate Laboratory has five home-ported research vessels ranging from 14-41 ft. The wide range of boat sizes and configurations allows researchers to work extensively throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay. The larger vessel (41 ft.) is designed to conduct a varied array of estuarine research projects, including trawling, coring, scraping, water quality observations, plankton sampling, and training cruises.

The smaller vessels (14-18’) can also operate a multitude of sampling equipment and access the many shallow portions of the estuary.

New boat 41’. This vessel was recently acquired from the US Coast Guard and is outfitted with an A-frame, hydraulics, and a large bimini top.
R/V Macoma - 18’ center console Boston Whaler
R/V Sapidus - 18’ center console Boston Whaler
2-14’ Jon Boats