Duke Marine Lab is a campus of Duke University and a unit within the Nicholas School of the Environment. The mission is education, research, and service to understand marine systems, including the human component, and to develop approaches for marine conservation and restoration. Today, the Marine Laboratory operates year round to provide educational, training, and research opportunities to about 3,500 persons annually, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled in the university's academic programs; visiting student groups who use the laboratory's facilities; and scientists who come from North America and abroad to conduct their own research. A seminar/lecture series features many distinguished scientific speakers from across the nation and abroad.
Location: Beaufort is the third oldest town in the state and is surrounded by fishing and agricultural communities. The area is well known for its historic and scenic attractions as well as being a seaside resort. Cape Lookout National Seashore Park and the Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve are within easy boating distance. The area's system of barrier islands, sounds, and estuaries is rich in flora and fauna, and diverse habitats, including rivers, creeks, mud flats, unspoiled sand beaches, dunes, marshes, peat bogs, cypress swamps, bird islands, and coastal forests, making the area an excellent haven for both nature lovers and those interested in the pursuit of marine science. The Beaufort-Morehead City area provides location for five other facilities that collectively are one of the higher concentrations of marine scientists in the nation. These are the University of North Carolina's Institute of Marine Sciences, the North Carolina State University Seafood Laboratory, the North Carolina Aquarium at Bogue Banks, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Ocean Service Center for Coastal Fisheries Habitat Research at Beaufort. This concentration of marine scientists provides a critical mass for the pursuit of science and education.