Mission, Strategic Plan, and Impact

Shoreline With Boats



The mission of Shoals Marine Laboratory is to provide outstanding experiential, place-based education and to support innovative research programs focused on understanding and sustaining the marine environment.

Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) is dedicated to undergraduate education and research in marine science. Since 1966, SML has offered undergraduate students a unique opportunity to study marine science in the field with exceptional faculty from institutions throughout North America. Learning at SML is grounded in truly "hands-on" educational experiences. SML courses and internships provide rigorous training in a diversity of marine subjects and prepares students for careers in the fields of marine and environmental science and sustainability. All SML programs are infused with in our ethos of responsible natural resource use and management, valuing scientific and community collaboration, and public service.



Shoals Marine Laboratory is a world leader in the study, appreciation and conservation of sustainable, healthy oceans. Our hallmarks are experiential, place-based education, sustainability in action and innovative research to advance the understanding and protection of marine ecosystems.


Navigating to the Future

Shoals Marine Laboratory's 2018-2028 Strategic Plan represents the contributions of more than 100 participants, spanning across our alumni, faculty, long-time supporters and university leaders, who participated in six workshops and online surveys over the past year. Participants helped to identify the strengths, challenges, and opportunities for SML. This community input was provided to a team of field station and marine laboratory leadership experts as well as the SML Executive Committee (comprising UNH and Cornell leaders) to help us formulate our vision and goals. In addition, UNH’s Office of Campus Planning undertook the interpretation of strategic goals into a master facilities plan. Throughout the planning process, five ideas emerged as beacons that will serve as goals for the next 10 years.


Beacon 1: World-class place-based, experiential and immersive science education

Beacon 2: Scientific discovery and application to today’s environmental challenges for the coasts and ocean

Beacon 3: Interdisciplinary and problem-based collaboration

Beacon 4: An engaged and supportive SML community

Beacon 5: Sustainability leadership


These beacons will anchor our strategic plan and guide our actions, investments and partnerships as we sail ahead into the next decade. We are excited to have you join us to ensure that SML rises to the challenge of meeting our goals and fulfilling our mission. If you have questions or suggestions regarding our plan, we hope you will reach out. Together we will ensure that SML continues to advance understanding, discovery and sustainability of the marine environment.


Strategic Plan 2018-2028


Impact Reports

Read the stories in our impact reports and discover how SML provides world-class, experiential marine science education for undergraduate students, and supports innovative research programs focused on understanding and sustaining the marine environment.