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Marine Institute History
Marine Institute History

Through the generosity of Richard J. Reynolds, the UGA Marine Institute on Sapelo Island was established in 1953. Reynolds’ former dairy complex on Sapelo’s south end was converted for use as a marine research laboratory.

The research conducted on Sapelo Island has had a major impact on a variety of coastal topics at the national and international level. In the 1950s and 1960s researchers including Eugene Odum (the    father of modern ecosystem ecology), John Teal, Larry Pomeroy, Donald C. Scott,  A.E. Smalley, John Hoyt, Theodore Starr,  Orrin Pilkey and James Howard began their brilliant careers in the salt marshes, barrier beaches and estuarine environments of Sapelo Island. Oversight of this dynamic development of research on Sapelo was vested with Robert Ragotzkie, George H. Lauff and Vernon Henry.

Many people from all over the world have come to this pristine environment for research and educational purposes. Over 900 peer-reviewed papers have been published from this world-class facility. And for over 35 years the Institute has provided a unique natural classroom for students from colleges and universities around the country.

In 2004, Bill Miller became the director of the MI. New research faculty were hired in 2006 and construction of a new dormitory was completed in May 2007.  These are exciting times! Help ensure the future for this historic and world-renowned research facility by joining the Friends - we all share a heartfelt “love of place” for UGAMI and Sapelo Island.


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