CofC Logo

Laboratory History

The George D. Grice Marine Laboratory, named in honor of the 14th president of the College, is located at Fort Johnson, on James Island, across Charleston Harbor from downtown Charleston. The facility houses classrooms, student laboratories, research laboratories, faculty offices, an aquarium room, and a research collection of marine invertebrates and fishes. It has combined its extensive marine science library holdings with the holdings of the Marine Resources Research Institute of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to form the Cooperative Marine Research Library at Fort Johnson.

The Fort Johnson property has historic associations dating back more than 200 years. Among the remains of fortifications dating from the Revolutionary War are a brick powder magazine and, from a later period, the foundations of a Martello tower. The opening rounds of the bombardment on Fort Sumter that began the Civil War were fired from these fortifications.

Grice Department DiagramSince 1955, the Grice Marine Laboratory (originally “The Fort Johnson Marine Biological Laboratory” and later the “Grice Marine Biological Laboratory”) has served as the core facility in support of the undergraduate and the graduate programs in marine biology of the College of Charleston. As such, it provides essential academic programs, courses and associated laboratories, advising, and research training and participation for about 400 undergraduate majors and 55 graduate students. These programs lead to the Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology and to the Master of Science degree in Marine Biology, respectively. The laboratory provides office and research laboratory facilities and clerical, administrative, and technical support for nine Department of Biology faculty integrally involved in the conduct and the administration of these programs. Laboratory and other facilities are provided by GML to graduate and undergraduate students involved in marine research. The undergraduate major in Marine Biology is supported through courses taught at GML, through an undergraduate summer research program, and through undergraduate research projects. Graduate students in the Marine Biology Graduate Program provide essential academic support to the Department of Biology through instruction in more than 50 sections of core freshman-level laboratory courses per annum. The Marine Biology Graduate Program, centered at the laboratory, is cooperative, and involves in excess of 90 faculty members from more than 15 departments at regional academic and research institutions. GML faculty work collaboratively with scientists at these institutions as well as with colleagues nationally and internationally. GML is an integral and equal player at the South Carolina Marine Resources Center at Fort Johnson, where it works cooperatively with the NOAA⁄NOS Laboratory, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Marine Resources Research Institute of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and the Medical University of South Carolina's Graduate Program in Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences.

GML also supports the Environmental Studies Graduate Program and other programs in the marine sciences at the College of Charleston through two primary means: (1) provision of training to students through marine biology courses, graduate and undergraduate, at GML; and (2) interpersonal interactions between individual members of the GML faculty and other faculty and scholars at the College of Charleston and elsewhere in South Carolina.

In the Fall of 1997, the name of the laboratory was changed to the Grice Marine Laboratory to reflect a broadening of its mission at the College of Charleston. The mission was increased to include all aspects of the marine sciences.