Seawater Top Photo
The Keys Marine Laboratory offers a new state-of-the-art Well Seawater System with the ability to control temperature and manipulate pH in a variety of 27 flow-through tanks and tables. Water from the well is circulated through a degassing tower and sand filtration system, to four 1700-gallon holding tanks. Seawater tanks and tables range from 45-gal to 1000-gal. System effluent is UV-sterilized before returning to Florida Bay.

The Bay Seawater System offers a variety of replicate experimental tanks, large holding tanks, and wet tables available for use by visiting scientists and education groups. Seawater is pulled directly from near-shore Florida Bay and splashed into a settlement pond. Aerated seawater from this pond is distributed to tanks and tables, with some options for filtration in several of the tanks. Over-flow from the holding pond feeds directly into The Shallows, our large 220,000 gallon saltwater mesocosym.

Access to the two Seawater Systems offer researchers the ability to conduct field work and laboratory experiments on site at KML. With the inclusion of large volume tanks, ecosystem research can be conducted with side by side mesocosm experiments at the same time.

Please contact the laboratory with any questions you may have about the laboratory seawater system, tank configurations, and pricing. See FORMS page for Seawater Use Request Form (SURF) in addition to submitting your  Facility Use Request Form (FURF) to reserve space. 


For Current KML Tank Roster please see to Forms page

Tanks and Shallows Pic
A state of the art well-based sea water system allows for manipulations of water quality and in particular, simulating thermal and pH changes, as projected to occur in tropical and sub-tropical systems while simulating present and past conditions.

The intellectual merit of the system is the result of the interplay between the ability to conduct field work and laboratory experiments on site at KML rather than transport specimens back to the home laboratory, placing the specimens at risk of loss. Because of the inclusion of large volume tanks, ecosystem research can be conducted with side by side mesocosm experiments at the same time. The design allows research to be conducted applying the best practices and protocols providing publishable results that can be compared to similar research completed elsewhere. Water can be distributed from our 1700 gallon tanks to any combination of 20 experimental tables in 4 combinations of pH and temperature. Experimental tanks range from 40 gallons to 750 gallons and provide replicate tanks to accommodate research design.

The system is maintained and managed by an onsite KML science staff member with two scientists as backup. In this way, there is 24/7 coverage for the system and can be attended to at any time to insure experimental integrity. The new system provides a basis for research on tropical and sub-tropical species and systems with results that can be compared with research conducted elsewhere. Effluent is sterilized via UV before being discharged back into the ocean. Click on the photos below to enlarge.


Saltwater is pumped from the well into a 15 ft. tall degassing tower which eliminates hydrogen sulfide and oxygenates the water.
Secondary water treatment in the 1700 gallon tanks includes the ability to manipulate temperature through the use of heat pumps and chillers (inset image) and pH via CO2 injection and dosing parameters designated by the researcher.
The 1700 gallon tanks are continuously monitored for salinity, pH, conductivity, ORP, temperature and dissolved oxygen. Data is logged with YSI 5200 inits via Aqua Manager (, which allows user-defined pH manipulation and dosing.
Research team from the University of Maryland staining corals for Paleothermometry field experiments, utilizing 130-gallon seawater raceways for holding tanks.
Student researcher assistants from University of North Florida demonstrating the versatility of one of the 130-gallon seawater raceways configured for Porites astreoides spawning experiments.
Coral researcher from University of Buffalo assessing coral spawning recruits in temperature- controlled 40-gallon flow-through seawater tanks.
Wet Lab Pavilion Pic
The open-air Wet Lab Pavilion is supplied by the Baywater System directly from Florida Bay. This is ideal work space for both student groups and researchers, offering wet tables, acrylic tanks, sturdy bench space, salt water and freshwater hoses. The lab is located next to the seawall, providing quick access by boat to drop off specimens. The open air format helps cool things down in the heat of summer. Click on the photos below to enlarge.

3 wet tables (23” x 6’ x 10” deep) under the Wet Lab Pavilion hold live specimens for observation.
Flow-thru acrylic seawater tanks: ten 6"x6"x6" 0.8-gal capacity, eight 12"x15"x12" deep 8-gal capacity, six 12"x24"x12" deep 12-gal capacity.
Twelve 12-gal replicate acrylic seawater tanks (12" x 24" x12" deep), inquire for optional filtration (50µ - 0.35µ) for these tanks.
Tanks and Shallows Pic
Our Baywater System draws from the lagoon near the wet lab, is aerated and allowed to settle in the large holding pond shown above. From there, water is pumped to the tanks in and surrounding the wet lab and to the Shallows behind the lab. Seawater parameters (Temp, O2) are taken daily and are available on request from laboratory staff. Please contact KML for pricing and availability of tanks and The Shallows. Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Shaded (filtered sunlight) wet tables and a variety of holding tanks.
Two 350-gal capacity tanks (6' diameter maximum, maximum depth 24").
One 1100-gal capacity (8' diameter, 36" maximum depth).
Four 12' long fiberglass raceways 21” wide, 16” deep, 150-gal capacity (seawater aeration & holding pond in the fore-ground).
The Shallows are a huge, flow-thru seawater pond located on the lab grounds. This pond is ideal for large scale experiments run under "semi-field" conditions.
The pond has a 220,000 gallon capacity, with a maximum depth of 4'.