Research Facilities

On the cutting edge of environmental teaching and research initiatives, the Duke University Wetland Center and the Duke Marine Laboratory are uniquely positioned to develop wetland science management and conservation technologies and policies. Duke scientists, having recognized the urgency for integrated multidisciplinary research, established the nation's first School of the Environment. The Wetland Center, as part of the Nicholas School of the Environment, is housed in the Levine Science Research Center, a building facility where disciplines can coalesce around the most critical wetlands issues. The Wetland Center has chemical analysis labs, microbial labs with two laminar flow hoods, and dedicated radioisotope facilities. For more than 70 years, Duke has provided excellence in education and research in diverse fields including ecology, botany, geology, zoology, forestry, coastal management and marine science, natural resource economics and policy, and environmental management.

The Stream and Wetland Assessment Management Park (SWAMP) is on a restored section of the Sandy Creek stream and floodplain within Duke Forest near Duke University’s West Campus. A project of the Duke University Wetland Center, the SWAMP ecosystem serves as an outdoor classroom and field laboratory for students and researchers and provides a site for research on biological diversity, hydrology, mosquito control, invasive plant species and other environmental concerns. 

As part of a major research university, the Center is able to add a significant dimension to teaching and research through cross-campus interdisciplinary degree programs, faculty appointments, and cooperative projects with faculty members in Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment, as well as the Departments of Botany, Zoology, and Geology.  The Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and Schools of Law, Business, and Engineering are among other academic units providing interdisciplinary support to the research being conducted at the Center. By reciprocity agreement, Duke students may also take courses at the nearby University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

While researchers have the advantage of state-of-science facilities and a large wetlands library on the Duke campus, North Carolina itself provides an exceptional outdoor laboratory, containing over 5 million acres of diverse freshwater and saltwater wetlands, including pocosins, Carolina bays, mountain bogs, freshwater and saltwater marshes, and bottomland hardwoods.

The Duke Marine Laboratory is a 15-acre campus located 180 miles east of Duke's main campus. It is situated on Pivers Island within the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and adjacent to the historic town of Beaufort. Overlooking North Carolina's system of barrier islands, sounds, and estuaries, the Marine Lab is bordered by Core Banks and Bogue Banks, in an area well known for its rich flora and fauna, and scenic coastal and wetland landscape.