Kasitsna Bay Laboratory

Kasitsna Bay Lab

The Kasitsna Bay Laboratory is a unique marine research and teaching laboratory located near Seldovia, across Kachemak Bay from Homer. The laboratory is owned by NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) and operated in partnership by NCCOS and the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Onsite personnel from UAF and NOAA are available to help with all questions and your stay at the lab.

On the southern side of Kachemak Bay, where the laboratory is located, marine water influence from the Gulf of Alaska provides cold, nutrient-rich waters that sustain an abundance of rich nearshore ecosystem types—kelp beds, seagrass systems and tidal-flat communities—as well as the pelagic system and deeper waters of Kachemak Bay. The large tidal range in Kachemak Bay (up to 30 feet) exposes many of these nearshore systems on a daily basis and allows their exploration for research, education or recreation. The head and northern shore of Kachemak Bay are strongly influenced by the glacial outflow of the Harding Icefield, creating a more brackish environment that adds to the overall biodiversity and heterogeneity of the bay.

Courses at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory

UAF offers several formal field classes through the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory, including courses that teach about intertidal ecology, marine sampling techniques, kelp forest ecology, ocean acidification experimentation, and scientific diving. These courses are open to all students, including from other universities, on the undergraduate and graduate level. The classes expose students to the unique marine environment in Kachemak Bay, and offer opportunities to conduct small independent projects.

Scientific Diving Program

The Kasitsna Bay Laboratory is home to UAF’s cold-water scientific diving program and is available to approved research divers from other institutions. All divers must be research-certified under the American Academy of Underwater Sciences or hold an equivalent NOAA certification. For diving, the lab has a scuba locker with warm showers and an area to dry gear, scuba compressor, tanks, lead for weight belts, and boats for rent.


The Kasitsna Bay Laboratory is an excellent location to conduct research on high-latitude and/or estuarine areas and a variety of marine ecosystem types. Laboratory and support facilities are available to approved researchers from academic and government institutions. Facilities at the lab include:

  • Dormitory (8 double rooms, two kitchens, 2 living rooms, amenities)
  • Bunkhouse (8 four-bed rooms, two kitchens, 2 common-use bathrooms, living room, amenities)
  • One large wet lab with running seawater
  • Ocean Change Experimental System (OCES)
  • Four small science labs with miscellaneous lab equipment
  • Classroom
  • Walk-in temperature control room
  • Dive locker (with lockers for students, warm showers, gear washing and drying areas) and separate compressor room; dive tanks available to certified and approved divers
  • Boats are available to adult (over 18) and certified lab users: 26 ft whaler with operator, 32 ft Munson boat with operator, 3 Zodiak rubber skiffs

Lab Use Request form [fillable PDF]
(Please note that the "print" button will not work unless you download the form.)

Kasitsna Bay Lab Invoice [fillable PDF]
(Please contact Carol Kaynor if you have any technical problems using this form.)

Dedicated to excellence in marine science education through K–12 and community education, Kasitsna Bay Laboratory is a place where people can learn about marine and coastal ecosystems. The  Kasitsna Bay Laboratory bunkhouse is able to house large groups up to 36 people, the lab has access to a small rocky/gravel beach perfect for exploration at low tide, the wet lab maintains a marine invertebrate touch tank, and other beaches are in walking distance. Inquiries are welcomed from individuals and groups interested in conducting or participating in lab activities.

Mailing address

University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 204
Seldovia, Alaska 99663

For questions, contact Katrin Iken.