The Miami Science Barge is a floating urban ecological laboratory and public environmental education center, powered by renewable energy, that will catalyze local efforts to build a sustainable Miami.
The Barge is designed to be a major focal point for STEM education and sustainability initiatives in Miami. The 120 by 30 ft steel deck is occupied by interconnected technical modules in three categories: living systems, marine experiments, and renewable energy backbone.
Living systems include aquaponics (tilapia, greens, shrimp), hydroponics (strawberries, tomatoes, eggplant), aquaculture hatchery display (mahi, pompano, seahorses), and a constructed wetland for nutrient recycling (marsh grasses). All systems will be zero discharge and use local seawater or rainwater capture.
Marine experiments will engage visitors with Biscayne Bay. Oysters, crabs, seagrasses, and mangroves will be cultivated in cages lining the perimeter of the Barge. A special sea-level platform will allow visitors to sample water quality, salinity, microorganisms, and contaminants. Small, remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) with cameras will stream videos of marine life around the Barge.
The renewable energy structure is dependent on solar panels, biodiesel generators, and batteries. Visitors will learn how to produce their own sustainable power in their everyday lives.
Students K-12 will attend guided field trips, and the public will be welcomed aboard for tours and workshops. Pricing will vary for individuals, groups, and schools, but no child in Miami will be denied access to the Barge for inability to pay. The Miami Science Barge will float in Biscayne Bay and launch by early 2016.