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Health & Science

College Shutdowns Hit Marine Lab Hard


So far, there’s no evidence the coronavirus has any affect on sea life. But the disease is having a profound impact on a North Florida marine lab that supplies sea life to institutions of higher learning.

Gulf Marine Specimen Lab Executive Director Cypress Rudloe is sadly contemplating a revenue stream that literally dried up overnight.

“The big problem that happened to us is that the universities have all shut down and one of our main incomes is biological supply, where we supply all these specimens to teachers so they can teach their school groups about different marine invertebrates and sea life.”

Rudloe said those schools are by no means limited to the locals, such as Florida State and Florida A&M.

“Some of the animals we ship out have been used in cancer research and we supply the entire country from Harvard and Brown University to Cornell and all the other universities in the United States with these animals for teaching and education purposes.”

The impact, lamented Rudloe, has been significant.

“We’ve pretty much lost an entire quarter of revenue, or about $167,000.”

Rudloe explained the Lab’s delicate balance between income and outgo is now completely out of whack.

“The amount of money that we charged for it (the specimen sales) offset the tourism and field trips. By the time we were diversified between the two, we were able to survive, but we’ve always been a non-profit. So the reserve to weather this isn’t there as of now, which is why we need the help from the general public.”

And he said there are several ways to make that connection.

“There’s a place to donate on our web site and they can also follow us on Facebook where you can donate, send us a check, any way they want to reach out to us. We are still open as of now, but we’re going to monitor the CDC and government and see what the next steps are. The first concern we have is the general health of people and our animals, so safety first!”

Sound advice for everyone in this COVID-19 era.