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NOAA's Undersea Research Center for the Southeastern U.S. & Gulf of Mexico, University of North Carolina - Wilmington, Center for Marine Science, 5600 Marvin K. Moss Lane, Wilmington, NC 28409, Phone: (910) 962-2440 / Fax: (910) 962-2444 / Email: / Website: Email SEGM ( SEGM website (

Oculina and angel fish
NOAA’s Undersea Research Center for the Southeast and Gulf of Mexico (SEGM) conducts undersea research in a region that includes: 4,400 km of coastline; 1.2 million square km of U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone; 60 percent of the nation’s wetlands and estuarine drainage area; the nation’s most valuable developed oil and gas resources; most valuable recreational fishing and marine-related tourism industries; second most valuable commercial fishing industry; and the only emergent, living coral reef ecosystems in the continental U.S.

SEGM’s Florida Keys Research Program is a global leader in coral research, supporting over 5000 reef dives per year in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS). The Aquarius undersea lab, situated 3 miles off Key Largo, is the world’s only offshore “inner space” station, housing 6 aquanauts for weeks per mission, and sending real-time video and data to the Internet for research, education, and outreach projects.


  • Provided research to support continuation of ban on bottom fishing and trawling in a portion of the Oculina Banks, to ensure protection of the world’s only known deepwater stand of ivory tree coral
  • Documented invasion of South Pacific lionfish, a venomous predatory fish that has invaded southeast waters, taking over reefs from Florida to North Carolina and Bermuda
  • Discovered oil and gas cold seeps and gas hydrates at the Gulf of Mexico seafloor; methane hydrates are the world’s largest potential fossil fuel reservoir and alleged factor in abrupt climate change
  • Recovered and preserved artifacts from the disintegrating wreck of the USS Monitor , which lies at 263 ft depth off Cape Hatteras in the nation’s first national marine sanctuary
  • Determined causes and impacts of low-oxygen events on coastal ecosystem in “dead zone” off the Mississippi River delta
  • Mapped habitat and assessed fish populations in existing and proposed deep-water shelf edge reefs
    and deep coral banks
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NOAA's Undersea Research Program
1315 East-West Highway, R/NURP - Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: (301) 734-1000  Fax: (301) 713-1967  
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Updated: November 30, 2005