BEAUFORT – Duke University officials broke ground on a new 20,000 square foot research facility at the school's marine lab in Beaufort on Monday morning.
The Orrin Pilkey Marine Science & Conservation Genetics Center will be the first new lab building at the site since the 1970s. The facility named after Dr. Orrin Pilkey, a retired Duke professor , who spent many summers and some semesters at the Beaufort marine lab.
Dr. Pilkey said the type of research done there can't be done at the university's main campus in Durham.
"Marine labs must be near the marine environment. You understand, you get an intuition for the environment. You watch the tides, you smell the smells, you see the waves, you see the storms," said Pilkey.
Researchers will map the genomes of endangered or threatened species in the new labs.
Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment, Dr. Bill Chameides, said researchers will map the genomes of endangered or threatened species in the new labs.
"It's an extremely powerful way to figure out what's happening with endangered species in the ocean today. With this lab we're pushing ourselves out into really the cutting edge of research in conservation sciences," Chameides said.
Construction of the $6.7 million facility is being funded by donations.