Marine Science Station

Marine Science Station


Marine science is cross-cutting and complex – covering ecology, genomics, environmental management, and everything in between. At the OIST Marine Science Station (OMSS), we have the resources and the expertise to support research across these fields. We are creating a world-leading facility that attracts scientists dedicated to discovering solutions to global issue.

- Mr. Yoshikatsu Nakano, Research Support Leader, Marine Science Section

Cutting-edge resources

Although only established in 2016, OMSS already houses an essential molecular biology laboratory and space for animal husbandry. In June 2020, OIST built an underground tunnel that carries clean, fresh seawater from the ocean directly to
the facility, creating the ideal conditions for keeping marine organisms.

OIST’s vision is to develop OMSS into a world-leading research station, fully equipped with a scientific research vessel, diving facilities, a state-of-the-art husbandry system, and an aquarium.

Ideal location

The marine ecosystems surrounding Okinawa are rich and diverse, providing researchers with unique opportunities and fascinating challenges. Within just a few miles of OIST facilities are mangrove forests, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and one of the world’s northernmost regions of coral reefs, which has a high level of coral diversity.

These ecosystems are confronting a changing environment. The coral reefs that exist very close to Okinawa’s shoreline are exposed to ongoing intensive coastal development. Across the world, aquaculture and artificial coastal defenses are replacing mangrove forests, and plans are in place to mine the deep-sea hydrothermal vents around Japan.

The unique environment around Okinawa, and the pressures it faces, allows researchers to directly investigate the impacts of sediment runoff, urbanization, and climate change—and to discover innovative, real-world solutions to these issues.

Beyond the lab

Okinawa’s people have a culture strongly connected to the ocean, and OIST’s marine scientists firmly believe in involving the local community in the development of OMSS and its research.

Located close to a busy fishing port, OMSS sits within Onna village, a region whose economy revolves around the fishing and tourism industries. OIST is working with local and regional authorities to establish a museum and education programs and to further engage the community in marine science, conservation, and the area’s coastal development plans.

Diverse expertise

Alongside the operation of the OIST Marine Science Station (OMSS), the staff in the OMSSS assist with the maintenance and management of marine monitoring systems and other equipment and provide technical support and consultation across multiple research areas.

Learn more about the OIST Marine Science Section (OMSS)