Remembering the Marine Ecology Laboratory, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, 1965-1987: An historical and personal perspective

Donald C. Gordon


The Marine Ecology Laboratory (MEL) was one of the principal federal scientific laboratories at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) in Dartmouth, NS. Created in 1965 as an independent laboratory under the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, it grew out of the previous Atlantic Oceanographic Group with the broad mandate to study the structure and dynamics of marine ecosystems supporting marine fisheries. With time, it developed a well-rounded program of basic and applied ecological research and earned an international reputation for excellence. In 1987, it fell victim to a major reorganization of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, driven by Ottawa managers, and was closed despite widespread protest from the scientific community. However, once the dust had settled from this unfortunate incident and, despite declining resources, ecological research at BIO continued to flourish under a new organizational structure.


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