Established in 1955 by the College of Charleston as the Fort Johnson Marine Biological Laboratory, its name was changed in November 1965 to George D. Grice Marine Biological Laboratory in honor of the man then president of the college. The laboratory, on James Island about six miles by road from downtown Charleston, is on a portion of the site of old Fort Johnson, close to the end of a peninsula that juts into Charleston Harbor. State and federal laboratories involved in studies of estuarine and marine environments are also located at Fort Johnson.
Laboratory activities include both research and teaching. The college’s biology faculty has taught most courses offered, but other local scientists have participated in instruction, most importantly in directing research of many students pursuing the master’s degree. Laboratory and office space for resident faculty and facilities for research in many areas of biology are available. Student (both undergraduate and graduate) and faculty research has included studies in cell biology, molecular biology, ecology, fisheries biology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, oceanography, physiology, and systematics.
The library at Fort Johnson, jointly operated by the College of Charleston, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has significant holdings in marine sciences. Additionally, the laboratory’s zoological collections, composed largely of fishes but with an appreciable representation of invertebrates, are utilized in research and teaching and are frequently consulted by investigators from other institutions.
Chamberlain, N. A. “Fort Johnson Marine Biological Laboratory, College of Charleston.” American Zoologist 3 (August 1963): 274–75.
Sanders, Albert E., and William D. Anderson, Jr. Natural History Investigations in South Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1999.