Sapelo Research Requests


We are pleased that you are interested in conducting research on Sapelo Island. The UGA Marine Institute (UGAMI), the GCE-LTER Program, the Sapelo Island NERR and Georgia DNR are all interested in fostering scientific research on the island, and have collaborated to put together this application and guidelines. Most projects will be approved and managed internally by one of these organizations (your "sponsor"), but projects raising special concerns will be evaluated by a committee with representatives from all four organizations.

What we need from you

We need to make sure that research on the island is consistent with our guidelines. To accomplish this, we need you to fill out an online application form. We also need to track research projects, including information on locations and funding. To accomplish this, once a project is approved, we need you to fill out annual research progress reports until the project is officially "closed", with all materials removed from the site and the site recovered from any disturbance.

GCE-LTER affiliates conducting research funded by or leveraging the GCE NSF grant (i.e. GCE-sponsored research) should use the online forms available on the private GCE web site to submit requests. For all other research, please use the SINERR research request form to submit your request and indicate the appropriate sponsoring organization (SINERR, UGAMI or GA DNR). Links to these forms are provided below.

Also please note that access to Sapelo Island is controlled, and you will have to make additional arrangements with your research sponsor for transportation to and from the island and for housing. Information about the logistics of conducting research at UGAMI is available here.

Research Request Form and Report Links

GCE-sponsored Research (GCE-funded or leveraged activities)

» Fill out a new research request application (GCE login required)

» View or update an existing application (GCE login required)

» View approved research applications

UGAMI, SINERR or GA DNR-sponsored Research (non-GCE-funded research)

» Register and fill out a SINERR research request and indicate the relevant sponsor

Annual Research Progress Report

» Download annual report template for ongoing projects

General guidelines for research projects

There is a lot of interest in doing research on Sapelo Island. In order to keep the island useful as a research reserve into the future, we seek to minimize any long-term impacts associated with research. In particular, research that creates long-lasting disturbances (e.g. site is visibly disturbed >1 year after experiment is removed) affects large areas (e.g. >100m x 100m) or introduces non-native genetic stock (i.e. species that either do not occur on the island, or do occur but are non-native) is of concern, and may require some negotiation and review before approval. Similarly, if personnel accessing the research site are likely to create a long and visible impact or trail out to or around the research site, we may require boardwalks to be installed.

We also need to track the location of research as this will allow us to supply future investigators with a history of projects and activities associated with a particular site that may add or detract from the selection of that area as a suitable research site. Also, this mapping will allow us to manage against conflicts that might arise over a particular research site(s). These factors require initial information on the proposed study location, followed by more detailed information on the final study location in annual reports.

We also need to know who is associated with ongoing experiments in the field. To accomplish this, your sponsor will provide an adhesive vinyl label that you can fill out with a permanent marker and place at the research location. You can also generate labels from this web site after your application is approved, and print them onto waterproof paper or labels yourself using a laser printer.

Finally, we need research sites to be fully cleaned up once the work is finished. Even if you have completed your data collection, you must submit annual reports until the site is cleaned of all research materials and has recovered from disturbance.

Thank you for your understanding. If you have any questions, please contact your sponsor or the Research Coordinator of the Sapelo Island NERR (contact information below).

Permitting for sample collection

Note that any collection of living organisms done in the state of Georgia requires a Scientific or Educational Collection Permit. Consult with your sponsoring organization about whether they have a permit that can cover your research, or if you need a separate permit. For information about GA DNR collecting permits, visit For information about interstate transport permits, visit

Please contact Rachel Guy, SINERR Research Coordinator, for specific guidance on obtaining permission to sample sensitive plant and animal species or for information related to special requests such as bird banding assistance.

Rachel Guy
Research Coordinator
Wildlife Resources GA DNR/ Sapelo NERR
P. O. Box 15, Sapelo Island, GA 31327
phone: 912-485-2251
FAX: 912-485-2141



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.