First-of-its-kind Ocean Science and Discovery Center to Open at Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University’s Steele Ocean Science Building. Credit: Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University has announced the development of the new Beaty Center for Marine Biodiversity in honor of entrepreneur and conservationist Mr. Ross Beaty and his family.

This first-of-its-kind ocean research and discovery center is made possible by a generous $8.2-million donation courtesy of the Beaty family.

The Beaty Centre for Marine Biodiversity will be developed in collaboration with Discovery Centre International. It will be located on the first and second floors of Dalhousie University’s Steele Ocean Sciences Building. The center will be an interactive ocean-focused science and discovery center for both the Dalhousie community and the public.

“We are grateful for the Beaty family’s generosity and Discovery Centre International’s collaboration on this unique project,” said Dr. Frank Harvey, president and vice-chancellor (acting) of Dalhousie University. “Their support exemplifies what is possible when people and organizations with a shared passion and vision come together as a team to make great work happen. The ocean research center we are creating — and the learning, research and outreach that will take place there — will not only benefit our students, our researchers, and our community members, but also our country and the world.”

“Education and awareness about marine biodiversity are crucial to support informed action to protect it, particularly in light of today’s twin crises of global warming and species extinction,” said donor Ross Beaty. “I am pleased to support Dalhousie University’s efforts to share its extensive expertise in marine science through the creation of this center.”

The Beaty Centre for Marine Biodiversity will create new hands-on learning opportunities to enrich the experiences of undergraduate and graduate students. The center will be available and accessible to members of the public and feature interactive displays that showcase Dal’s ocean-related research – and solutions that are addressing the world’s marine biodiversity crisis. Exhibits will target school-aged children Grade six and up, adults, Nova Scotia visitors and the Dalhousie community.

“This is an exciting project for Dalhousie,” said Dr. Charles Macdonald, dean of Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Science. “This new innovative and interactive ocean education center will not only be setting our students up for success in their chosen careers, but it will also allow us to share our research with the community in ways that were not possible before. It will inspire people to think differently about the ocean and how they interact with it. And it will empower them to take action — to protect the ocean, its species and its delicate ecosystems.”

The 8,000-square-foot center will feature more than 60 exhibits, including the skeleton of a 63-foot blue whale, which will be mounted to the atrium of the Steele Ocean Sciences Building. Visitors will also have access to a life-size kelp forest, a climate change sphere, educational displays about species facing extinction, and aquaria filled with the diverse plant life and animals that live off Nova Scotia’s coast. The Beaty Centre for Marine Biodiversity will also feature the Mi’kmaq concept of Netukulimk—a profound way of knowing and living in balance with Wskitqamu, or the earth, and one another, in peace.

Discovery Centre International’s expertise in engaging youth through interactive science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is pivotal in bringing Dal’s new Beaty Centre for Marine Biodiversity to life.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with Dalhousie on this exciting initiative,” said Dov Bercovici, president of Discovery Centre International in Halifax. “We look forward to showcasing Dal’s vital work in marine biodiversity conservation, including how this world-leading ocean research university is making waves not just locally, but also nationally and internationally.”

Construction of the Beaty Centre for Marine Biodiversity is scheduled to begin in January 2024 and be completed by early 2025. The total cost of the center is $12.2 million. With the generous support from Mr. Beaty, the university will be raising the remaining $4 million through philanthropic support.


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