Location and Facilities

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab is located on the eastern end of Dauphin Island, a 17-mile long barrier island approximately three miles from the mainland and thirty-five miles south of Mobile, Alabama. It is surrounded by Mobile Bay, Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. The 35-acre campus is bordered by Mobile Bay to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and is a five-minute walk from the Mobile Bay Ferry and Historic Fort Gaines.

Instructional & Research Facilities

Campus wide, University Programs instructional and research facilities include: 5 lecture/lab classrooms, 3 seminar rooms with web conferencing capabilities, a library and computer center; a culture lab, a wet lab; a flow-through mesocosm; a marine mammal necropsy center, and oyster hatcheries (operated by Auburn University).

Most Dauphin Island Sea Lab research is housed in the Marine Science Hall (MSH), which contains 24,000 square feet of common and faculty research labs, as well as faculty, post-doc, graduate, and administrative offices.

The MSH marine chemical instrumentation facility operates as a technical support lab with equipment measuring dissolved nutrients, total carbon and nitrogen in plant, animal or sediment materials, C12 and C13, dissolved inorganic and organic carbons, total nitrogen in liquids, chlorophyll fluorescence, metals and some non- metals traces.

Marine Science Hall recently expanded the marine chemical instrumentation space. Pictured is the Skalar San ++ auto analyzer for dissolved nutrient analysis.

MSH technical support services are available to assist in dive support, as well as designing and adapting field equipment needed in support of research projects.

The Shelby Center for Ecosystem-based fisheries management, a LEED certified 10,000 square foot facility, is home to marine fisheries labs, a 200 person seminar auditorium, an atrium, web enabled conference room, and administrative offices

Research Vessels

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab maintains two research vessels, the R/V E.O. Wilson and the R/V Alabama Discovery.  


The R/V E.O. Wilson is a 46 foot Fiberglass vessel made my Newton industries.  It is powered by twin John Deere marine engines with a cruising speed of 16 knots.  It has the capacity to carry up to 20 people.  As a research vessel it comes equipped with 500 llb rated davit, a winch with the capabilities of pulling a 20 foot net, and the capacity to do long-line and vertical line research and instrument deployment. The vessel is equipped with state of the art VHF, Fathometers and GPS instrumentation.




The R/V Alabama Discovery is a 65 foot x 23 foot wooden vessel covered in fiberglass built by Chesapeake Boat Works in Maryland.  The vessel has twin 650hp Cummins engines and can cruise at 15 knots.  It can carry a class of 38 students for its educational mission.  For research cruises the vessel has  a 500lb side davit, a large winch with the capabilities of pulling a 45 foot net and full instrumentation package. 



In addition to the Wilson and the Alabama Discovery, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab maintains several small (14 to 30 feet) outboard boats and skiffs.

Student Housing

Challenger & Beagle Dorms

The main dorm buildings on the Sea Lab campus are used year-round, both for field trip groups as well as summer programs. Each dormitory can house up to 86 people in 43 rooms, each containing 2 twin beds, a dresser, desk, closet space and a single unit air-conditioner. A common area with a tv and dvd player is available for groups staying on the first floor, as well as vending machines on the first floor. There are two handicap-accessible, community-style restrooms on each floor. 


Albatross offers a two-story efficiency apartment complex with twelve units for graduate students and visiting faculty. 

Coin operated washing machines and dryers are available on campus.

Facilities at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab have been renovated and constructed to provide access to all users.

To assist DISL in accommodating any special needs that a student may have, please notify your specific Registrar before your arrival of any disabilities or conditions that require special accommodations. Regina Kollegger is the Registrar for University Programs.

May's Cafe

The newly rennovated May's Cafe, named in honor of long-time DISL employee May Tillman, sports a fresh salad bar, home cooked breakfast, lunch and dinners, and a cheerful staff. 

May's Cafe

Campus Map