Marine Education CenterHABITATS

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Marine Education Center, Cedar Point

The site offers a unique array of habitats and ecosystem types. Four primary habitat types are identified, each offering different rich teaching opportunities. 

The location and function of these habitats play an important role in both building design and building location. We positioned the buildings to capitalize on the views of the habitats and to offer access to different points across the property that will enrich the hands-on educational opportunities for our audiences in classrooms, laboratories, outdoor and off-shore field experiences.

The new facility will support the expansion of existing programs and the addition of new programs for marine science education to students K-12 and undergraduate students from colleges across the country.

The center will welcome the public and offer programs that will increase the understanding of how coastal sciences and research enhance the quality of their lives, promote sustainability of coastal resources and how individuals can use this knowledge to make responsible decisions concerning coastal resources.

GCRL Marine Education Center at Cedar Point
Forested Bayhead
Bayheads are forested wetlands (swamps) that include a variety of tree species. Bayheads have a visible ravine of wetland with a tree canopy and mucky, organic soils. They provide a path for storm water runoff to travel to nearby marshes and bayous.





GCRL Marine Education Center at Cedar Point
Pine, Live Oak & Magnolia Maritime Forest
The spreading canopy of Live Oak, Southern Pine and Southern Magnolia anchors the soil and serves as a wind buffer to temper the harsh forces storms that assault coastal shorelines. Temperatures and winds are moderated under the tree canopy, which increases moisture levels and allows a dense understory of herbs and shrubs to develop.


GCRL Marine Education Center at Cedar Point
Tidal Marsh
Tidal marshes are influenced by the motions of the ocean tides. They slow shoreline erosion and act as a buffer against storms. These marshes provide vast areas of habitat and food for juvenile fish and shellfish including blue crab and shrimp. Migratory waterfowl seek shelter and build nesting sites in the tidal marsh habitat.
GCRL Marine Education Center at Cedar Point
Coastal Bayou
Coastal bayous found in flat, low-lying coastal regions slow down water and provide important habitat. They have poorly defined meandering shorelines to a wetland of tidal marshes. The bayous protect inland areas from storm damage. Mississippi Gulf Coast bayous are home to American alligators, a variety of species of fish, herons, turtles, shrimp, snakes and other coastal inhabitants.





Miss Peetsy B.

We will offer our audiences unique and engaging educational and recreational activities with minimal impact to the environment.