Conduct Research

boardwalk with research equipment

Research policies

UGAMI is open to any qualified investigator who proposes research that is consistent with the missions of UGAMI and its partners and does not conflict with existing research or educational activities.

Research requests

All researchers must fill out a Sapelo Island research request and a UGAMI researcher housing reservation form (please download, complete and save the form, then email it to Gracie Townsend at This includes class visits in cases where the instructor or students are planning a project that may be published in a scientific journal.

Animal collections

UGAMI maintains Georgia DNR scientific collections permit for non-listed fish, invertebrates and plants. Researchers and students can be issued a subpermit. Collecting subpermits must be in your possession while working in the field. For more information, please contact Natalie Schrey.

Animal use

All research and teaching projects using live vertebrates, including fish, are regulated by the UGA Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). UGAMI maintains a UGA IACUC permit for field collections that covers educational trawls and undergraduate demonstration projects. However, if you or your students are planning a research project that may be published in a scientific journal, you will need to obtain a permit and appropriate IACUC training. This may be obtained either directly through UGA’s IACUC or as a Memorandum of Understanding between UGA and your home institution. If you are planning a project that falls into this category, please contact Natalie Schrey.

Hazardous and toxic materials

Please contact Natalie Schrey if you are transporting gas cylinders; using toxic/dangerous chemicals or dewers of inert, liquid gases; or anticipate generating any hazardous waste. Anyone using chemicals must have current Georgia Board of Regents certifications on file for Global Harmonizing System – Right to Know (GHS-RTK) and Hazardous Waste (annual recertification required).  You are responsible for providing your own personal protective equipment.

The safety of faculty, staff, students and visitors is of paramount importance at UGAMI. UGA’s Chemical and Laboratory Safety Manual (CLSM) provides detailed guidance and procedures outlining the safe operation of all research, teaching and public service labs owned or operated by the university.

Please take time to review the updated CLSM, which defines roles and responsibilities, safe laboratory practices and details the operational structures in place for effective accountability and compliance with all federal, state and local agencies.

Projects involving Island residents

As a courtesy, we recommend that you contact the Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society (SICARS) early in the planning phase of any proposed research that involves Island residents. Contacting the local churches may also be beneficial.

If you have a project that involves human subjects, be aware that you will need to obtain approval from the University of Georgia’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) or you will need to work under a Memorandum of Understanding between UGA and your home institution’s IRB. For UGA investigators.

Letters of support

We can generally provide a letter of support for proposals to conduct research at UGAMI. It is also sometimes possible to leverage existing data, education and outreach programs, and information management. If you are interested in exploring these options, please contact Merryl Alber.