Strategic Plan Top Photo
We are pleased to announce our new Keys Marine Laboratory Strategic Plan and Mission Statement. Under the new direction of Dr. Nancy Thompson since October 2011, we have gained considerable momentum in our endeavor to improve the KML. We are excited to share our plans for development of both the facilities and programs available at the Keys Marine Laboratory. We would like to share a few highlights of our recent efforts.

Phase 1 of our new high quality Seawater Well System, which will enable pH and temperature regulation, began in November 2012. The system has been up and running since May 2015 and has been utilized by many researchers, including one of three ex situ nursery locations for the Pillar Coral Genetic Rescue Project. Phase 2 will eventually include a new Wet Lab Building with temperature/light control and provide a variety of replication options. 

We have created a new KML Science Center for our resident science team and visiting scientists. It also houses real-time computerized Seawater Systems water quality data. It will prove useful for our long term visitors as well by offering a common area for planning field logistics, accessing up to date weather, and sharing ideas.

Dr. Thompson is also leading an education committee comprised of expert academics from the FIO membership to develop programs with a consortium wide benefit which will maximize FIO resources including the KML.

In conjunction with these ambitious plans, we are releasing our new 2016 Rate Sheet which will take effect October 1, 2016. We are keenly aware of the funding challenges all of us in the science and education communities are facing and strive to balance KML's operating costs with the needs of our clients. If you need clarification or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.

We greatly appreciate your continued support and welcome your input during our improvement process. Please stop in during your next visit to meet with Nancy or any of the KML Staff for information or suggestions. We look forward to seeing you all again in the coming year!

You can read the new Strategic Plan below or download it as a PDF here.


Vision Statement

The KML will develop the marine scientists of tomorrow based on a foundation of field science recognized for excellence in the state of Florida, the region, the U.S. and world-wide.


Mission Statement

Above: Dr. Markus Huettel’s Graduate Reef Ecology class (FSU) deploy instrumentation
To develop the marine scientists of tomorrow, the KML mission is to provide students an on site field research experience with complementary classroom instruction and laboratory experiences. The KML will provide state of the art infrastructure including housing, laboratories, classrooms, and vessels. On site science and administrative staff will provide the support needed to conduct research and classes in a safe environment. On site faculty will mentor students in an environment that encourages collegiality between on site staff, visiting and on site faculty and scientists, and students. An in house research program will enhance the expertise of on site and visiting scientists and students while providing information for the sustainable management of tropical and subtropical resources.


Goals Over the Next 5 Years

  1. Establish the Keys Marine Laboratory as a financial management, research and education center as defined within the MOU between the FWC and FIO and develop an organizational structure that will achieve the mission.
    • Objective 1: Establish a permanent director position with the authority to make structural and functional decisions to meet the mission and advance the vision of the KML. The KML Director will also be a member of the faculty at the Univ. of South Florida. The KML Director will implement an organizational structure to meet the mission including developing an annual operating budget in consultation with KML staff and the directors of the FIO and FWC/FWRI. The budget and operations of the KML will be transparent and available to all FIO members and the FWC through the USF budget system. An annual report including the activities and budget distribution will be provided annually to FIO at the end of each fiscal year. The KML director with FIO members and FWC will complete a development plan that includes the resources needed to move towards the expanded academic and research mission of the KML.
    • Objective 2: Become an active member of the Organization of Biological Field Stations and utilize the OBFS Operations Manual to implement the best practices at KML. This includes development of a business plan, a site plan and establishing an academic advising committee to provide advice on establishing an in house research program and an on site academic program.
  2. Expand the use of the Keys Marine Laboratory by academic and research institutions within the state of Florida and the U.S.
    Above: Dr. Herber’s Ecology Club (Brevard Community College) explore the Middle Keys marine ecosystems
    • Objective 1: In sequence, the focus will initiate with the state of Florida and institutions in the US outside of Florida. An assessment will be completed of the current usage. Within the membership of the FIO that are not currently utilizing the KML, each will be queried as to what barriers currently exist that limit or prohibit usage of the KML in support of their academic and or research programs. A report that describes these barriers and how to eliminate these barriers will be completed.
    • Objective 2: A development plan will be completed which will provide a road map for infrastructure expansion and improvements with timelines.
    • Objective 3: Work with FIO members to develop core on site faculty expertise which equips undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research and teaching in the context of changing information needs to optimize the conservation and management of marine ecosystems in Florida and the region.
    • Objective 4: Become an active member of the Organization of Biological Field Stations to interact and exchange information about structure and function by raising awareness about the KML and it’s vision and mission.
    • Objective 5: Working with FIO and FWC develop an operating budget to support the expanded mission of KML and pursue avenues for funding including from federal, state and local agencies, the National Science Foundation and private foundations and organizations. Collaborations will be pursued with private industry groups.
    • Objective 6: Review the current fee structure to insure that it is sufficient to cover the operational costs and change the fee structure as needed to insure all costs are covered. All funds obtained as fees will remain in the KML operating budget for the sole purpose of KML operations.
    • Objective 7: Work with FIO members and FWC to utilize the KML to host meetings, workshops and retreats sponsored by FIO members and FWC and other state agencies and institutions.
  3. Initiate and implement an in house research program
    • Objective 1: Work with the FWC to include the KML in on going research locally and throughout the state of Florida where appropriate.
    • Objective 2: Work with FIO member institutions to engage in collaborative research that is both ongoing by meeting with scientists to determine appropriate collaborations; and planned for the future by participating in proposals for funding. Collaborations will initially focus on laboratories in the Florida Keys and south Florida.
    • Objective 3: Work with federal agencies in the Florida Keys and throughout South Florida to establish collaborative research relationships, which include the KML.
    • Objective 4: Establish and hire a post doctoral fellow to implement in house research with the Director. Faculty and scientists at the SUS will be included as in house research programs develop.
  4. Initiate the development and implementation of a highly recognized and accredited academic program
    AAUS diver certification class (Smithsonian Institution) beginning a training dive
    • Objective 1: Establish an Academic Advisory Committee with members from academic institution representing the full suite of FIO universities. The Academic Advisory Council will complete an academic curriculum plan that provides an academic program for undergraduate and graduate students from Florida, the U.S. and the world. This academic plan will define the infrastructure needs on site to support the curriculum. The infrastructure requirements will be developed within the context of encouraging collegiality between on site staff, visiting faculty, on site faculty and students. The plan will result in a safe and secure learning and research environment.
    • Objective 2: Work with universities and colleges that focus on educating under-represented groups to develop collaborative academic and research programs that enhance the experiences of students
    • Objective 3: Provide a core of scientific, administrative and maintenance staff to lead and support field, classroom, laboratory research and education.
    • Objective 4: Establish core faculty on site who reflect the academic focus of the FIO members. On site faculty will conduct research at the KML which will provide the basis for the on site curriculum. This curriculum will lead to the conferring of graduate marine science graduate degrees from consortium colleges and universities.
    • Objective 5: Develop an intern program that focuses on in house research and provides science support to visiting scientists. Each intern will conduct research under the guidance of a mentor whom the student and student advisor will identify from the student’s host institution.
  5. Enhance the KML’s stature within the local community and the communities of the Florida Keys
    • Objective 1: Initiate a bimonthly evening seminar series for non scientists relying on FIO members and FWC scientists to present ongoing research on local marine issues
    • Objective 2: Participate in community events by holding open houses to allow the local citizens to learn about the activities at the KML