Outdoor Tank Facilities

In addition to the marine science building's sea water capabilities, we also have an outdoor fish tank area called the "Mesocosms". The Mesocosms, located next to our boat ramp and dock, are part of the aquatic ecology and ecotoxicology laboratory. The facilities house several salt water, estuarine, and freshwater systems with access to 58 tanks (Fig. 1). Salt water is supplied from two dedicated salt water wells, and freshwater is supplied by the city (city water). The estuarine water is supplied by an automated system that mixes salt water and freshwater to the salinity of interest. In addition to the outdoor tanks, the aquatic ecology and ecotoxicology laboratory offers indoor facilities to conduct aquatic toxicology studies, behavioral studies, and to maintain clean cultures in salt water, estuarine water or freshwater (for additional information on the indoor facilities, contact Jone Corrales).

Figure 1. Diagram of the outdoor fish tank area



Freshwater, Estuarine, and Salt Water Systems: Freshwater, estuarine water and salt water is available.

System 1 comprises several tanks that have mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.

  • Two sets of two 820-gal circular recirculating tanks
  • Three 175-gal shallow rectangular recirculating tanks ideal for coral studies
  • Two 600-gal circular static tanks
  • Three 75-gal circular recirculating tanks
  • Three 100-gal circular recirculating tanks

System 2 comprises tanks that are ideal for studies where sunlight is essential. Tanks need to be filled and emptied manually. Mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration is not available.

  • Twenty-four 1000-gal circular static tanks (fiberglass tanks partly embedded in cement to better control temperature)
  • Twenty-four 230-gal circular static tanks (plastic tanks that can be relocated throughout facility as needed)

Salt Water only Systems: Water source is seawater from a salt water well adjacent to the tanks.

System 3 comprises three 10,656-gallon circular recirculating tanks. The area is covered to block sunlight.

System 4 comprises twelve xx-gal unfiltered circular static tanks covered and restricted by a fence and awning to minimize wildlife entry.

The first step to request use of any of these aquatic facilities is to submit a short project proposal. This proposal should outline what you want to do, which system you want to use, how many tanks you need, other equipment needed, funding source (if any), organisms involved (vertebrates will also require IACUC approval), any special needs, as well as the requested start and expected end dates. This proposal should be emailed to Joel Trexler , along with an email from your major adviser stating that he/she has reviewed your plans and supports the project. Technical questions about the facilities can be directed to Bill Chamberlain. After the completion of your the study, you are required to clean the area thoroughly; not adhering to this rule can result in loosing access to facilities. In addition to the proposal, a copy of your Standard Operating Procedures should be submitted as well. The facilities Standard Operating Procedures can be found here. Due to variety of aquatic organisms and the subsequent variety of husbandry needs, these SOP's are broad based and should be used as base to create SOP's specific to the needs of the species being worked with. Finally, if you are interested in conducting any ecotoxicological studies, contact Jone Corrales.