As the education and outreach arm of The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf
Coast Research Laboratory, the MEC endeavors to enlighten the citizenry to produce
a cadre of well informed and knowledgeable stewards of our coastal ecosystems.
The MEC encompasses 28,000 square feet in six major structures, all connected by outdoor
walkways, trails, and the Bayhead Suspension Bridge.
Education yesterday, today and tomorrow
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the former home of the MEC, the J. L. Scott Marine
Education Center and Aquarium in Biloxi. Rebuilding presented a unique opportunity
to recast the experience the MEC team wanted participants to have. The focus was placed
on maximizing the environment as the primary teaching tool.
The reimagined facility provides an beautiful coastal backdrop for participants to
have fun, engaging STEM-focused immersive experiences. The 100-acre site features
trails that guide visitors through different coastal habitats, outdoor and floating
classrooms and a pedestrian suspension bridge. The buildings at the MEC are tucked
into the environment and house public exhibits, laboratories and beautiful meeting
The real beauty of the MEC is how well it is designed to perform its primary function:
educating students and the public about Mississippi’s valuable and productive marine
and coastal resources. Thousands of students, visitors and coastal residents visit
the MEC to learn science-based information to help them be active stewards of the