Marine Laboratory

Taking Notes

SCCF’s Marine Laboratory at Tarpon Bay gives our scientists year-round access to freshwater wetlands, the Caloosahatchee Estuary, San Carlos Bay, Pine Island Sound, and the Gulf of Mexico to help us determine the influences of natural disturbances and the effects of people on estuaries and coastal ecosystems.

The Marine Lab’s research uses an instrument array composed of eight near real-time sensors deployed throughout the Caloosahatchee Estuary and Pine Island Sound. Known as RECON, (River Estuary Coastal Observing Network), its unique set of sensors captures data with enormous depth that allows scientists and water managers to better study water quality issues and identify solutions.

The lab is adjacent to the Pine Island Sound Aquatic Preserve and is located within the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, one of a few designated marine wilderness areas in the United States. It’s funded through private donations and local, state, and federal granting agencies. Most research conducted at the laboratory is conducted in collaboration with scientists in academia, local governments, and state agencies. These partners include the City of Sanibel, Florida Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Gulf Coast University, Lee County, Mote Marine Laboratory, the University of Florida’s Center for Coastal Solutions, and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.


The SCCF Marine Lab is located at 900A Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, FL 33957.


8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday as fieldwork allows.


239-395-4617 or

Freshwater Lakes Monitored
Red Tide Sampling Sites
Seagrass Monitoring Sites
Acres of Oyster Reef Restoration

"We have learned so much from the research and monitoring SCCF has done in the estuary and Gulf of Mexico. This dynamic and beautiful place has amazing, year-round access as a 'living laboratory.' With the passionate support of our community and the dedicated help of our partners, we are providing solutions and information that allow Sanibel and Captiva to be the best possible stewards for the marine life and nature that surrounds us."

Eric Milbrandt, Ph.D.

Marine Lab Director

Marine Lab Projects

Seagrass Vertical 4 3
Ding Darling

We sample 10 water quality stations within the national wildlife refuge monthly and conduct seagrass monitoring annually

Jordan Marsh 4 3
Nutrient Management

In partnership with the City of Sanibel, we are reducing stormwater runoff and removing nutrients from the Sanibel Slough

Marine Lab News

We need your help to monitor the water quality of our area.