For interactive maps and field guides, click here.
The Smithsonian Marine Science Network (MSN)
was established in 1998. The MSN operates a unique array of
laboratories and research vessels that spans the latitudinal
gradient of the western Atlantic (Chesapeake Bay, Indian River
Lagoon, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and Panamanian Coast) and
crosses the isthmus of Panama. The Network is dedicated to
understanding the rich biodiversity and complex ecosystem
dynamics that sustain coastal processes and productivity.
MSN scientists study evolutionary, ecological, and environmental
change in the ocean’s coastal zones, increasing scientific
knowledge of these environments, and improving society’s appreciation
of the ocean’s effect on our lives.
Coastal environments are of immense economic and environmental
importance and comprise 95% of the ocean’s fisheries. Our
coasts are the most densely populated and fastest growing
communities in the U.S. The MSN ensures integrated support
of “Understanding and Sustaining a Biodiverse Planet,” a core
Smithsonian grand challenge. MSN goals are to ensure that
the whole of the integrated Network is larger than the sum
of its parts leading to enhanced productivity through collaborative
and comparative research, marine infrastructure development
and support, professional training and outreach, and effective
allocation of resources.
Overview of Marine
Coral Reef Ecosystems Program
National Museum of Natural
Smithsonian Marine Station
at Fort Pierce