As a result of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, many of the laboratorys facilities were destroyed or heavily affected. Fortunately staff and faculty were not physically injured. The laboratorys dorm is providing temporary housing for offices and for some of the employees who lost their homes. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center and Aquarium (MEC&A) was a total loss as were almost all structures in that part of Biloxi and that operation has been moved into a temporary facility on the GCRL campus in Ocean Springs. The GCRL campus sustained a 20- plus- foot storm surge that devastated all the buildings near the water and several at higher elevations. The striped bass facilities, aquatic toxicology lab, marine aquaculture operations and native salt marsh plant greenhouse took hits ranging from serious damage to total loss. All of the other structures, except for the Howse Oceanography building, are still standing but experienced water from the storm surge. In the Caylor Building, The Gunter Library sustained about 1.5 feet of water, and the computer and IVN lab was totally destroyed. Most of the fisheries scientists have been displaced from their offices and laboratories by about two feet of muddy storm surge. For photos, please go to GCRL after Katrina . Marine aquaculture programs at the Cedar Point site are still in operation. Marine fish project and shrimp farming experiments continue. The cover to our commercial-scale shrimp farming facility and the shrimp in several raceways were lost, but there are enough raceways with unaffected shrimp that the experiments in progress were not compromised. Other buildings at Cedar Point will require mostly minor repairs. Research vessels were moved to safe harbor according to hurricane protocol and fared well.
With assistance from outside contractors and volunteers together with the laboratorys staff and faculty, researchers are expected to be back on the water and investigations underway within six weeks of Katrina. The recovery, however, will be far from over. Now the hard work also begins of cleaning mud off vials, attempting to recover data from inundated hard drives and assembling the equipment and facilities to restart our research.