Jackson Estuarine Laboratory
Jackson Estuarine Laboratory (JEL) features well-equipped facilities for conducting research related to aquaculture, seafloor ecology, botany, geology, microbiology, and water quality. A fleet of small estuarine research vessels is based at JEL, including five outboard powered boats ranging from a 12-foot skiff to a 22-foot center console. Boating facilities include a causeway with a 2,000-pound crane and a floating dock with slip spaces for four boats. In addition, JEL has a full analytical laboratory, a sedimentology and benthic (estuary bottom) laboratory, and a microbiology laboratory. Flowing estuarine water is provided to a wet lab in the building, to an experimental greenhouse, and to water enclosures maintained outside during the summer.
In a typical year, about 25 projects are being carried out by the scientists at JEL, with total external funding usually exceeding $2 million. A sampling of recent work includes:
- Restoration of eelgrass and shellfish habitats in Great Bay.
- Identification, assessment and control of invasive species in the tidal marsh.
- Monitoring and assessment of nutrient inputs to Great Bay.
- Use of shellfish to assess bioexposure to toxic chemicals in estuarine and marine ecosystems.
- Sources and fate of mercury in estuarine ecosystems.
- Censuses of native and introduced seaweed populations in Great Bay.
JEL has eight resident faculty from the departments of biological sciences, natural resources, and earth sciences, along with several support staff, research associates, post-doctoral fellows and visiting scientists. In addition, numerous non-resident faculty, graduate and undergraduate students from other UNH departments also use JEL, pursuing thesis work and participating in faculty research.
The lab is located five miles from the Durham campus on the shores of Great Bay Estuary, the largest and most important estuary in New Hampshire.