Jacksonville University (JU) opened the Marine Science Research Institute (MSRI) in 2010 as a Gold certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) facility as part of a planned complex focusing on the St. Johns River. The goal of the university in establishing the new institute was to provide a premier biological and environmental research and education facility.
The MSRI is situated on the riverfront portion of JU’s 200+ acre campus. The MSRI’s ground floor provides dedicated space for work with live specimens in ambient temperatures. The second level contains teaching and research labs, classrooms, meeting areas, and a screened observation deck. The building boasts several innovations in sustainable consumption, including rain water harvesting for wastewater processing and boat wash down, a wetlands system for storm water treatment, and extensive use of recycled building materials.
While the primary emphasis is hands-on biological research and study, the MSRI’s programming also incorporates elements of chemistry, physics and physical science, as well as life sciences, which collectively help further students’ knowledge of the environment and sustainable practices to preserve the future. The MSRI is home to the Millar Wilson Laboratory for Chemical Research, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Laboratory, and the offices for the St. Johns Riverkeeper. These industry professionals perform diverse studies of local freshwater, estuarine and saltwater conditions, and then work closely with professors and students to connect concepts in the classroom with applications in the workplace.