Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
In 1966 the Georgia Science and Technology Commission proposed the creation of an oceanographic research center "of major proportions" on Skidaway Island for "its close proximity to an important metropolitan center, its sheltered location on natural deep water channels, its convenient access to the open sea, its strong aesthetic appeal, and its virtually virgin state." The newly formed Ocean Sciences Center of the Atlantic, created by the Georgia General Assembly in 1967, was responsible for the creation of the facility on land donated by the Robert C. Roebling family and the Union Camp Corporation. The Skidaway Institute of Oceanography opened in 1968, when the Ocean Sciences Center appointed its first director, hired staff, and converted the Roebling's plantation buildings into offices and laboratories. In 1971 the Ocean Sciences Center was dissolved, and the institute was transferred to the University System to serve as a base of operations and central facility for marine interests.
Skidaway Institute does not itself grant degrees, but its faculty members hold adjunct appointments at colleges and universities in Georgia and around the country and serve as mentors for undergraduate and graduate students who ultimately receive degrees from their home institutions. Visitors to the Skidaway campus stay in ten small apartments and cottages and have access to the largest marine sciences library collection in Georgia.
Skidaway Institute has solidified its future as an internationally recognized research institution, and its work will be vital in managing Georgia's future population, projected to become fourth in the nation over the next few decades. Planners must make careful decisions informed by a clear understanding of Georgia's rivers, estuaries, and nearshore regions in order to preserve the quality and quantity of water sources. New understanding of the mechanisms of life in the oceans influences efforts to manage and harvest the ocean's living resources, and Skidaway scientists can interpret changes in the ocean to predict weather patterns. Researchers from the institute will also continue to develop answers for critical societal problems, including commercial, military, and recreational maritime operations, and the improvement of security along U.S. coastal borders.
Elizabeth Cooksey, "Skidaway on My Mind: Looking Back at the Beginnings of the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography," Skidaway Scenes, July 2003.
Georgia Science and Technology Commission, Oceanographic Research in Georgia: A Proposal to the Environmental Science Services Agency (Atlanta: Georgia Science and Technology Commission, ).
Bill Hayes, "Thirty Years of Marine Education at the University of Georgia Marine Education Center and Aquarium," Skidaway Scenes, March 2003.
James Barlament, University of Georgia
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.