A new ocean conservation and research facility coming to Mystic Aquarium

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — Mystic Aquarium is getting ready for a high tech expansion. With ceremonial shovels in hand ground was broken on a new state of the art Ocean Conservation and Research Center.

An animated tour through the 9-thousand square foot facility shows the new laboratories and classrooms.

“It brings together all of our labs which are right now scattered throughout the campus,” says Stephen Coan, Ph.D., the CEO of the Sea Research Foundation.

The five million dollar center will also provide a single space for the aquarium’s scientists and researchers to collaborate.

“We’ve waited almost ten years to see this happen,” says Dr. Coan. “So it’s a really big day for us.”

Phase one of the high tech expansion will be to rehabilitate the rehabilitation or animal care facility by the end of next year.

“We literally rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of animals annually so it needs to be updated,” says Dr. Coan. “That’s what we’re doing.”

Getting those animals back into the wild is part of the conservation efforts which are a major part of the aquarium’s mission. As that mission to continues to grow the focus will be on Long Island Sound.

Researchers want to understand what’s going on there. They’ll look at the rising tides, non source pollution, and the ever changing lobster population.

“That’s just one indicator of an ecosystem that is changing very very rapidly so we need to better map Long Island Sound,” says Dr. Coan. “We need to be studying it and that’s not occurring at an ideal pace particularly given the threats to the coastline.”

The new conservation and research center is expected to be built by the end of 2017.

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