The Narragansett Laboratory is uniquely located on three acres of federally owned land overlooking Narragansett Bay and adjacent to the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Atlantic Ecology Division. This location allows us to work closely with international, federal, regional, state, and academic scientists, and to participate in undergraduate and graduate education programs as advisers and students. Our proximity to several major fishing fleets, including Point Judith, Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Massachusetts, helps our collaborations and reminds us of the immediate effects of our research.
What We Do
The Laboratory supports research on the effects of changing oceanographic and ecological conditions that affect the productivity, health, and socioecology of the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. Using state-of-the-art satellites to monitor surface waters and phytoplankton blooms; putting nets in the water to monitor composition and abundance of plankton communities; putting people on fishing and research vessels to study shark, marine mammal, and sea turtle distribution and biology; talking to people in fishing communities about their observations and concerns; and putting technology into the hands of fishermen to record data are just some of the ways the Narragansett Lab is helping lead ecosystem research in the Northeast U.S. These data inform stock assessments of protected and commercially fished species and the study of relationships among these species, their habitat, and the human communities that rely on them.
Who We Are
Staff at the Narragansett Laboratory represent several branches at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center as well as other NOAA offices.
Originally built for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Sportfish and Wildlife and dedicated in October 1966, the lab moved to NOAA Fisheries in 1970 and has been operated since by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Several of the early programs are still active, resulting in the longest continuous shark tagging program in the United States and one of the largest plankton and oceanographic data archives in the region. Other programs that were once active at the lab, including the research aquarium facility and Narragansett Bay Project, have since made way for new areas of research such as collaborations with the fishing industry and development of tools and techniques for ecosystem-based fisheries management.