Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Looking Back
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Looking Back
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Looking Back
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Looking Back
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Looking Back
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Looking Back
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Looking Back

Basic and Applied Ecological Research

The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, a research unit of the University of Georgia, pursues basic and applied research at multiple levels of ecological organization, from atoms to ecosystems.

SREL is located near Aiken, S.C., on the Savannah River Site, a Department of Energy facility, and the first national environmental research park. The lab’s research extends beyond the site to regional and global projects. To date, the lab has more than 3,000 peer-reviewed publications.

Michael H. Smith

Groundbreaker

SREL’s Longest-serving Director (1973-1999)

Michael H.. Smith

Notable Achievements & Milestones

  • The building of a 30,000 square-foot facility that serves as SREL’s main complex today
  • Established Par Pond Laboratory to assess chronic exposure to low levels of radiation
  • Established the SREL Conference Center to provide science education to the public
  • Supported the creation of a public outreach program: “Educating the ecologists of the future is an important part of SREL’s mission.”
  • Recognized internationally as an expert on population genetics and the effects of radiation on the ecosystem
  • Instrumental in establishing a lab at Chernobyl and research collaborations in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
  • Recipient of the C. Hart Merriam Award, the highest honor awarded by the American Society of Mammalogists
  • Authored close to 300 publications
  • Operating budget grew to over $10 million
  • The first tenured-track faculty positions were established
  • Ten symposiums conducted, including the first on thermal ecology
  • More than 240 theses and dissertations completed
  • Received award for best wildlife research paper in the nation from
    The Wildlife Society
  • Over 1000 studies were published, including conservation research to save the wood stork and the gopher tortoise
  • Longest amphibian study in the world began; later earns a Guinness World Record