Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Seawater System and Marine Animal Facility

April 5, 2016 (updated 4/25/2016)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Daniel K. Inouye Regional Center (IRC) Laboratory and Office Complex located on historic Ford Island (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii) houses a state-of-the-art sea water, animal holding and research facility for marine biological investigations. The seawater system, aquatic life support equipment, and adjacent laboratory and office complex offer a remarkable array of possibilities for studying the living marine resources of the pacific region.

About the Sea Water Facility

A sea water well collects water from over 1200 feet below ground level and is used to supply naturally filtered sea water to the 
        marine animal tanks, research laboratories, and aquaria room. The cool sea water pumped from the well is also used to enhance the 
        efficiency of the building's cooling systems.
A sea water well collects water from over 1200 feet below ground level and is used to supply naturally filtered sea water to the marine animal tanks, research laboratories, and aquaria room. The cool sea water pumped from the well is also used to enhance the efficiency of the building's cooling systems.
A sea turle swims in one of the sea water tanks.
A sea turtle swims in one of the sea water tanks.

The 87,000 gallon facility contains eleven separate water treatment systems used to maintain water quality parameters at different levels and to allow operators to hydraulically isolate various tanks for research or animal husbandry purposes. Water treatment equipment includes sand filters, protein skimmers, UV disinfection units, biological filters (including algae scrubber units), heat exchangers (temperature control), calcium reactors, and degas towers. Four 20-foot diameter tanks with adjacent decking and enclosures are used for monk seal rehabilitation, observation, and staging for trans-shipment. Six 8-foot diameter tanks are used for injured or recovering marine turtles. The remaining outdoor tanks consists of two 24-foot diameter tanks, a 20-foot diameter tank with an underwater viewport, and two 8-foot diameter tanks set up with independent life support systems. A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system is utilized for computerized monitoring and control. High-resolution pan-tilt-zoom video cameras and infrared illumination is provided for behavior studies and remote monitoring. Seawater can also be supplied to a climate controlled aquaria room. With multiple electrical service hookups on the ceiling, dividing curtains, floor drains, and wash down equipment, the aquaria room provides flexibility for manipulation of photo period and source lighting.

Diverse projects such as vertebrate and invertebrate husbandry of various life stages, algae cultivation, hydroponics, and other endeavors can be supported by the modern research infrastructure, indoor and outdoor spaces, flexibility to tie into existing water treatment equipment, and ability to stand-up customized aquatic life support systems.

Features and Capabilities

The modern research infrastructure of the Inouye Regional Center (IRC) includes a library, auxiliary electrical plant, high-speed 
        communications, and campus-wide wireless networking. The center houses the offices and labs for NOAA staff who are leaders in the 
        areas of biology, oceanography, fisheries, ecology, meteorology, economics, resource management, and other disciplines. Laboratory 
        spaces can be configured for research, production, as well as teaching. The complex also contains dining services, meeting rooms, an 
        auditorium, and pier-side facilities which are home port for the NOAA Ships 
        Oscar Elton Sette and Hiʻialakai.
The modern research infrastructure of the Inouye Regional Center (IRC) includes a library, auxiliary electrical plant, high-speed communications, and campus-wide wireless networking. The center houses the offices and labs for NOAA staff who are leaders in the areas of biology, oceanography, fisheries, ecology, meteorology, economics, resource management, and other disciplines. Laboratory spaces can be configured for research, production, as well as teaching. The complex also contains dining services, meeting rooms, an auditorium, and pier-side facilities which are home port for the NOAA Ships Oscar Elton Sette and Hiʻialakai.
  • Salinity manipulation
  • Customizable heated or chilled water temperature
  • Tank level and flow rate alarm controls
  • Recirculating system with minimal water usage and effluent
  • Additional outdoor spaces (configurable for specific research needs) with utilities and other services in close proximity
  • Outdoor hook-ups for seawater (including the capability to fill large truck reservoirs)
  • Location is conducive for the culture of species requiring high levels of photosynthetically available radiation (PAR).
  • Climate controlled food prep/laboratory space
  • Machine shops
  • Networked video cameras for remote observation and behavioral studies
  • Classroom and meeting spaces
  • Walk-in freezer
  • Adjacent staging areas for truck or helicopter transport operations
  • Assistance with experimental set up and logistics
  • Dedicated effluent system leads to municipal wastewater treatment with no direct discharge into surface waters
  • Secured outdoor areas, tanks, and laboratory spaces with multiple layers of controlled entry
  • Emergency back-up generator with automatic transfer switching and fuel tank for multiple days of operation

For More Information

Kevin Wong - Facilities Services and Safety Program Manager
Email: kevin.wong@noaa.gov
Phone: (808) 725-5344

Mailing Address:
NOAA Inouye Regional Center (IRC)
Attn: NMFS/PIFSC/Facilities
1845 Wasp Boulevard, Building 176
Honolulu, HI 96818