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Within the Northwest Region of the USGS the Marrowstone Marine Field Station (MMFS) represents the exclusive marine/seawater-based research facility.

The MMFS poduces and delivers exceptionally high quailty treated seawater for controlled research in marine disease ecology. The availability and delivery of exceptionally high quality seawater represents one of the finest operational attributes of the MMFS, a result of the facility’s ideal location along the northwestern shore of Puget Sound. Capacity for the safe and responsible handling of endemic marine pathogens is provided by facility infrastructures and procedures including Biosafelty-Level-2 containment, effluent treatment, and designated spaces for pathogens, quarantine, and SPF fish production.

Laboratory Facilities, Resources, and Capabilities


The MMFS Mt. Baker Laboratory
The Mt. Baker Laboratory. (Public domain.)

Mt. Baker Laboratory

The Mt. Baker Laboratory is designated as the nursery area where specific pathogen-free, immunologically naïve marine fishes are reared. The laboratory includes approximately 3,200 square feet of tank space that is plumbed and organized for rearing of marine fishes under specific pathogen-free conditions. Additional space in the laboratory is designated for live feed production. Special disinfection procedures are implemented for all personnel and items entering this laboratory to prevent the inadvertent introduction of fish pathogens.



The MMFS Mt. Rainier and Mt. Olympus Laboratories
Mt. Rainier and Mt. Olympus Laboratories. (Public domain.)

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Olympus Laboratories

The Mt. Rainier and Mt. Olympus Laboratories contain approximately 6,200 square feet of wet lab space and are organized with replicated tanks, sea-tables, and aquaria for experimental manipulations. These laboratories are used for maintaining collections of wild organisms and for conducting challenge studies using SPF or wild fishes. All effluent from the laboratories is treated with hypochlorite for safe and responsible handling of endemic fish pathogens. The laboratories contain designated spaces for quarantine / isolation and experiment preparation and processing.



The MMFS Fish Health Laboratory
The Fish Health Laboratory. (Public domain.)

Fish Health Laboratory

The Fish Health Laboratory is used for sample processing and is equipped with the latest equipment and techniques utilized in fish health diagnostic and research laboratories. Laboratory space is designated for aseptic cell / tissue culture, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, PCR (DNA and RNA amplification), fish necropsy, etc. Additional fish health laboratory (Link to Fish Health Project Description) resources are utilized at the Western Fisheries Research Center which maintains a state-of-the art fish health research facility.



The MMFS Visiting Scientist Quarters
The Visiting Scientist Quarters. (Public domain.)

Visiting Scientists Quarters

The Visiting Scientist Quarters is a three-story dwelling, originally built in 1896 as the light keeper’s residence for the Lighthouse Service on Marrowstone Island (the light has since been updated and moved to a pedestal in the front yard). The latest round of renovations were completed in 2005, and the 2500 square foot quarters currently provides comfortable accommodations for visiting scientists including 5 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, meeting space, and a lounge.