The idea of the foundation of the Marine Science Station has started in late sixties and beginning of seventies and became true in summer 1974, when the program of marine sciences at the college of science has started with support from UNESCO. This was simultaneous with the increase of the shipping traffic in the port of Aqaba and related extension of the Ports Corporation and urbanization in the city of Aqaba, which is considered as the only sea access for Jordan located on the Gulf of Aqaba with a coast hat don’t exceed 27 km.
Due to the economical, touristic, social, and scientific importance of this relatively short coastal stripe, the University of Jordan decided to contribute in development support in Aqaba city and protection of the Gulf’s environment, and studying its resources, then it established the Marine Science Station and program of marine sciences. In 1981, Yarmouk University became a second supporter in addition to the University of Jordan and contributed to the administration of the MSS and supporting its programs and goals.
The principle of the MSS is to become a scientific institute for research related to the applied and theoretical marine sciences in wide and diverse fields and directly focused in the marine environment and its resources like fish, coral, and sediments, in addition to aquaculture and studying pollution and its verities.
In 1985 the MSS has started the monitoring program for environmental pollution and its impact on marine environment. The increase of the anthropogenic activities along the coast has led to the increase the role of the MSS to provide specialists in different marine sciences which urged the MSS to send some workers to earn PhD degrees in marine physics, biology, geology and chemistry and aquaculture and environment pollution and coral physiology.
In order to be able to reach its goals and perform its mission, both universities (YU and JU) have provided the MSS with all technical requirements like labs, instruments, boats, diving unit, library, and Aquarium. Moreover, dormitories and auditorium were provided. The MSS has also increased studies and research and contributed in education programs and scientific research program in addition to training and technical programs and has contributed in providing consultancies and scientific studies on environment and biology for the favor of local and international organizations. The MSS is also operating many projects and programs related to pollution, marine environment, aquaculture and corals, which are still running and even increasing. The MSS has signed many Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with many universities and research centers worldwide to raise scientific qualification and scientific research.
Toward a scientific center that focus on research and studies related to applied and theoretical marine sciences, to fulfill the message of the university and its goals.
To increase scientific research related with marine environmental sciences and enrich the collaboration with private sector and local community sectors, in order to increase environmental awareness in Jordan and to develop the role of the MSS as a scientific center to become on the top of marine scientific centers on the regional and global level.
The MSS is considered as the only research center that is specialized in studying marine environment on the northern coast of the Gulf of Aqaba.
1- Excellent laboratories that enable the researchers to perform their work
2- Specialized researchers team with high qualifications.
3- Organizational plan and professions for all vacancies that is fitting to the university roles
4- Existence of a committee of the MSS comprised of the university of Jordan and Yarmouk University.
6- Contribution in the local and international projects
1- Lack of financial resources to guarantee the continuity of scientific research and its requirements of high expenditures.
2- Lack of interests in marine studies from the Jordan universities through not sending postgraduates students abroad.
3- Scarcity of technical cadre that specialized in marine sciences
4- Linkage of the MSS with the JU aqaba branch
1- Increase of financial resources through participation in international research projects and research workshops
2- Existence of the faculty of marine sciences which provide the station with the specialized technical cadre
3- Providing ideal environment for postgraduate studies in the field of marine sciences
4- Increase of the rate of administrative affairs through linkage with the universities
1- Missing technical and research expertise
2- Inability of the MSS to increase their annual allocated budget from both universities
3- Increase of the operational of the MSS facilities with lack of resources.
4- Unrecognition of the role of the MSS by the Aqaba Development Company and ASEZA.
- Increase of scientific research in marine sciences
- Spotting light on the importance of the coral reef and caring for it.
- Enhancing the role of the MSS to become the pioneer on the regional level in marine sciences field.
- Providing ideal environment for scientific research related to marine sciences
- Monitoring changes on marine environment of the gulf of Aqaba that are simultaneous with the industrial activity of ASEZA
- Providing data base documenting all environmental information in the Gulf of Aqaba.
- Establishment of monitoring programs for water quality and marine habitat in the Gulf of Aqaba
- Toward an eco-friendly aquaculture.
Fields and focal points of the strategic plan:
It includes one or more of the following based on the interests of the colleges and academic centers or research centers:
1- Educational process:
The MSS provides its services for the student of the marine sciences collage at the University of Jordan/Aqaba many specialized scientific laboratories to become the applied educational center for all courses through at the university
2- Scientific research:
The MSS has enhanced scientific research by performing researches in all fields of marine sciences which exceeds hundreds which were published in in specialized international journals, then the MSS has collected its published articles as archives covered the period between 1974 until 2013. This was a contribution by researchers and postgraduate students from the MSS, the University of Jordan, Yarmouk University, and other Jordanian Universities, in addition to other researchers and postgraduate students from Germany, France, UK, and USA. Moreover, the MSS has published a volume titled “Revision of Marine Science Researches in the Gulf of Aqaba” and the books of “Handbook of Jordan Beach’s” and “The Fishes of the Gulf of Aqaba”.
The MSS has also contributed effectively in scientific publication in the field of marine sciences which has positively effected on the touristic, economic, and social field trough recommendations based on scientific and research principles, which in turn has helped the sustainability of the development in the right track.
The output of the scientific research was based on the availability of qualified human cadre and local and regional and international financial resources due to support of the Deans of Scientific Research in both Universities (JU & YU) as well as related institutes like the Higher Council for Science and Technology HCST, Scientific Research Support Fund SRSF in the ministry of higher Education, ASEZA, and Aqaba Ports Cooperation.
Moreover support was coming from regional and international cooperation like Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Ministry of German Sciences, Meddle East Region Cooperation (MERC), NATO Scientific Research Organization (NATO-SFP) which have offered financial and technical fund and contributed in promoting the infrastructure of the MSS. Moreover, Scientific Research Projects in the Universities and German, French, and American Organizations have contributed to research at the MSS.
3. Society and its development service
Marine Science Station is involved in the local community through diving unit team in the ongoing activities in the marine environment protection through periodic clean-up campaigns of the Gulf of Aqaba in coordination with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority.
The MSS has continuously participated in all environmental activities organized by various sectors of civil society so as to create a permanent link between the community and the marine environment in the Gulf of Aqaba and decision-makers in the Special Economic Zone.
The MSS's achievements are not only limited to scientific research, but it has practical achievements in order to enrich the knowledge of marine culture and raise awareness of the important segment in the community like school students, and that was the establishment of marine aquarium, which was the best way to connect to the local and international audience in various segments and nationalities to express the beauty of nature and marine life in the Gulf of Aqaba. This Aquarium has served as a mean of visible scientific education through samples of live marine organisms which present in aquarium tanks, in addition to mummified organisms. The MSS's contribution was done through marine shows as a part of the activities for different schools in their headquarters and provide a full explanation about the marine life, as well as giving educational lectures through scientific and cultural meetings that fall within the concerns, especially in the field of environmental awareness. The station did not neglect the training side by finding ways of joint cooperation between the MSS and in collaboration with several agencies such as the Business Development Center / Skills Program and others, which dispatched a distinctive amount of Bachelors graduates in various disciplines in the field of science and engineering that have been trained in the MSS’s laboratories and worked in several projects. Those have proved their skills which was the motivator to be appointed by the MSS in the project with different positions.
The MSS is also supplying the local market with fresh fish from the fish farm in the station.
On the media level, the MSS has contributed through television interviews giving a glimpse of detailed research studies and consultations that provide the local community, official institutions and private companies. In addition to presenting description about the Aquarium and life patterns of marine organisms in the Gulf of Aqaba.
Moreover, the MSS is participating in seminars and specialized workshops on marine environment, and to participate in several campaigns in collaboration with the Royal Society for the Protection of the Marine Environment to clean beaches and clean the bottom of the sea. The MSS is also involved in providing studies and consulting that are involved directly in preparation of environmental strategies in the Kingdom.
4. Financial resources
Financial resources of the MSS is divided into four main sections:
- The contribution of the two universities (the University of Jordan and Yarmouk University) in the amount of 65,000 dinars per year for each university. This represents 27% of the total annual budget.
- Research projects revenues. This represents 20% of the total annual budget.
- Revenues from studies and consulting services. This represents 33% of the total annual budget.
- Aquarium revenues. This represents 20% of the total annual budget.
The MSS has carried out during the period between 1974 and 2015 more than (40) research project with total revenues of (5,000,000) dinars, and more than 50 studies and consultations with total revenues of (2,250,000) dinars.