Through the generosity of Richard J. Reynolds, the UGA Marine Institute on Sapelo Island was established in 1953. Reynolds’ former dairy complex on Sapelo’s south end was converted for use as a marine research laboratory.

The research conducted on Sapelo Island has had a major impact on a variety of coastal topics at the national and international level. In the 1950s and 1960s researchers including Eugene Odum (the father of modern ecosystems ecology), John Teal, Larry Pomeroy, Donald C. Scott, A.E. Smalley, John Hoyt, Theodore Starr, Orrin Pilkey and James Howard began their brilliant careers in the salt marshes, barrier beaches and estuarine environments of Sapelo Island. Oversight of this dynamic development of research on Sapelo was vested with Robert Ragotzkie, George H. Lauff and Vernon Henry.

Many people from all over the world have come to this pristine environment for research and educational purposes. Over 1000 peer-reviewed papers have been published from this world-class facility. And for over 60 years the Institute has provided a unique natural classroom for students from colleges and universities around the country.

In 2013 the Office of Research at UGA began supporting UGAMI. These are exciting times. Help insure the future for this historic and world renown research facility by joining the Friends – we all share a heartfelt “love of place.”