Frequently Asked Questions

PHONE: 850.697.4119 (office); 850.545.2841 (cell) OR EMAIL: FCOLEMAN@FSU.EDU

Why does the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab need a new research lab building?

  Our current laboratory is a 1968-era concrete block building that serves well as a “wet” laboratory – that is, a lab that serves as a staging area for field research and within which seawater is readily available for holding animals and conducting experiments.  The laboratory lacks sufficient space for new faculty, graduate students and visiting researchers.  In addition, it is not well suited for “dry” laboratories and the use of the state-of-the art technology required to expand our research capabilities. The new laboratory building would provide more lab space, offices, and meeting space than currently exists on our campus. 

 At that time the laboratory was built, researchers and students from main campus (45 miles away) used the lab intermittently for field research. For a number of years in the early 2000s the lab saw significantly reduced activity.  In 2006, a new Director took over with a vision and plan of growth for the lab.  This was the first time a director’s workplace was located at the lab and the first time there was on-site faculty conducting research.  Since that time, the lab has continued to grow and is currently involved in a search for additional research faculty. 

Our vision is to become a leader in conducting and supporting exceptional research that advances marine ecosystem science and conservation, addressing questions that are local to global in scope, range from the molecular to the ecosystem in scale, and involve the human communities within which the marine laboratory is embedded. To fulfill our vision, a new research facility is key. 


Why is the new building called Discovery Hall?

 The new building is called Discovery Hall because of the incontrovertible relationship between research and discovery -- research being the action through which discoveries are made. Discovery is the spark of science. It plays a vital role in our development as scientists and as human beings, discoveries that we share through community engagement.   Of course, the new building can be named by a generous donor or donors who step forward to make this building a reality.


How much will it cost?

Discovery Hall is estimated to cost around $7.5 million, which includes all brick-and-mortar, technology and furnishings. The cost will be shared with the university. In fact, the Office of Research has provided a match for every dollar that we raise. 

Our deadline for raising funds has been extended from 30 December 2018 to 31 March 2019, during which time we must raise an additional $300,000. If we meet this goal, we could earn an additional extension.

A number of naming opportunities are available and can be viewed here:  


 What is unique about Discovery Hall? 

 Discovery Hall is designed to promote collaborative research and networking among students, faculty, and visitors. The first floor will house a large lobby featuring an exterior wall of full-height windows facing south towards the waterfront, overhead ambient lighting, and an adjoining vestibule. We envision that it will have an aquarium displaying organisms from the local area and have interactive displays that provide opportunities for students of all ages to learn about the coastal and marine environment. It is an enclosed space that that leads to the Event Space.

 The event space will be the foremost public space in Discovery Hall. Our vision for this area is that it will be a Gallery of Florida Art with rotating exhibits by Florida artists or art about Florida and an auditorium for lectures, events, and receptions sponsored by the Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, the Vice President for the Office of Research, and partners from the local community. It is located beyond the lobby and leads outside to a ground-level terrace made of limestone pavers.

 The second floor will house state-of-the-art laboratories will support scientists working on pressing problems related to our watersheds, fisheries, saltmarsh and seagrass ecology, and climate change. They will be equipped to support the variety of advanced research capabilities of resident and visiting scientists from across the globe with broad expertise in marine and coastal sciences. The labs, located on the second and third floor of the building, will be sufficiently large to accommodate faculty as well as their graduate students and post-doctoral associates. These laboratories will face the waterfront.


Where will Discovery Hall be located?

Discovery Hall will be located across the street (Coastal Highway 98) from the existing laboratory on 72 acres of mixed pine woodlands. This places the new building on relatively high ground along the bluff of a small creek that flows into the boat basin leading out to the Gulf of Mexico. 

There will be several looping paths through the woodlands to showcase the 100+year old longleaf pine forest* and associated species-rich flora and fauna.  These trails will also meander through relatively open fields filled with passionflower and salt bush replete with associated longwing and monarch butterflies.  Wildlife that can be seen along these trails includes bear, turkey, diamondback rattlesnakes, Great Blue Heron, and the speedy six-lined racerunner lizards.  Alligators can be seen in the creek from time to time as well.  These woodlands will be used for both demonstration projects as well as coastal research on plant and animal communities.

  *The longleaf pine component is being restored to re-introduce fire to this tract that has not been burned in 60+ years. This is a work in progress that will take years to complete. We invite visitors to watch the progression happen season after season


How can I become involved in the Discovery Hall project?

We invite you to participate by making a gift that will help us translate our vision into reality. Naming opportunities are available at many levels for a variety of prominent spaces. To begin your involvement or if you have questions, please contact Dr. Felicia Coleman, Director of the laboratory by phone:  Office (850) 697-4111 or Cell (850) 545-2841) or by email (  If by email, please put “Discovery Hall” in the subject line.

 Join us in making Discovery Hall a reality. Discovery Hall will contribute significantly in helping Florida State University increase its impact on science, art, and education locally, nationally, and globally.  This marvelous new building will be transformative, defining our future not only to our students and faculty but to our many collaborators and our community. 

Last Updated: Friday, December 21, 2018 at 1:19 PM