Alternate Title

Gulf Coast Marine Laboratories Past, Present and Future

Document Type

Ocean Reflections


I spent my nearly 50—year career in marine science working at marine laboratories, most of that as a chief executive officer. So, it is appropriate that my reflections are about marine laboratories, rather than my own science. After relating my career course, I turn my attention to the history and development of marine laboratories along the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Surprisingly, the region’s first laboratory was actually constructed in 1903 at Cameron, LA, but operated less than a decade before closing. It was not until after World War II that the university—affiliated marine laboratories of today developed in each of the states and have contributed greatly to our understanding of coastal environments. They now have impressive facilities and operate the region’s GOM research fleet, participate in the global advancement of science, educate and inform a broad spectrum of society, and are at the front line in debates over important public policies. Marine laboratories must strive to achieve excellence in scientific discovery, integration, application and life—long education, while overcoming challenges due to relative isolation from the universities or agencies with which they are affiliated and their vulnerability to coastal climatic events and changes. The GOM marine laboratories have an unprecedented opportunity to contribute to the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems and recovery of their living resources. They also have a responsibility to assist coastal citizens transition the energy economy to limit climate change and adapt to the changes that do occur. More than ever, their science must be relevant, credible, salient and useful.

First Page


Last Page


boesch bio.pdf (157 kB)
Boesch biography