Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory
Founded in 1965, the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory (DBML) is dedicated to the research of biology and geology in the coral reefs and the organisms that live there. Originally it was only funded partially by the University of the West Indies (UWI), but is now a fundamental part of the UWI Department of Life Sciences. It is also now part of the new Centre for Marine Sciences. DBML is the premier marine biology research institution in the Greater and Lesser Antilles since its founding.
Discovery Bay is almost a square, a mile wide and almost 50 m deep. The fringing reef runs across the entrance to the bay and almost separates it from the open sea. The lab sits on the west side of the bay only 300 m from the reef crest. Shallow back-reef and lagoon environments are immediately accessible by snorkeling or in small boats. Students and researchers can also find other shallow-water hard and soft bottom habitats in the vicinity and a variety of coastal environments are within driving distance of the lab.
A short boat trip out of the bay takes you to the fore reef directly in front of the lab where permanent moorings allow students and researchers to make repeated visits to the same location without difficulty. A diverse reef community exists here on the submarine terraces only a few hundred meters wide. Beyond the last drop-off point at 60 m, the deep fore reef falls vertically to about 130 m descending continuously towards the Cayman Trough.
The main lab building houses five labs, a photographic lab, an instrument room, a library/seminar room, offices and a large "wet laboratory." The wet lab is divided into six bays, running salt and fresh water, and there is a two-tier central wet table with twelve shallow and six deep tanks among others. DBML is equipped with a glass-distilled water supply, dissecting and compound microscopes, spectrophotometers and a wide array of other lab equipment for use. There is also a small library and research collection onsite. The laboratory compound is quite safe with 24-hour security complete with watchman and patrols
Three meals a day are provided and snacks are available at all times. Authentic Jamaican dishes are served so students can enjoy a real taste of Jamaica. DBML houses the students in large dormitory rooms that sleep a maximum of four persons each. Every suite includes a private bathroom and a veranda overlooking the bay. When not snorkeling or studying, students can dive in the sand volleyball court located immediately adjacent to the dormitory buildings.