Research Organisms
Helping scientists unlock fundamental secrets of biology to understand the world and ourselves.
Groundbreaking Research at the MBL New Research Organisms Strategic Initiative
Chainshark Embryos
Chainshark Embryos. Credit: Tom Kleindinst

Even deceptively simple-looking animals can help unlock the secrets of life. At the MBL we study creatures that hold the keys to understanding fundamental questions in science—questions about ourselves, our origins, and our environment. These creatures can also help us understand how evolution generates the marvelous array of creatures on Earth or help us combat the effects of climate change.

Learn more about some of the animals we are studying and how they are bringing us closer to solving some of the most important problems of our time.

African Clawed Frog


frogs in a tank
Learn more about Xenopus
Atlantic Horseshoe Crab

Limulus polyphemus

Horseshoe crab
Learn more about the Atlantic Horseshoe Crab

Ambystoma mexicanum

Axolotls with natural differences in pigmentation in Karen Echeverri’s MBL laboratory.
Learn more about Axolotls
Bat Sea Star

Patiria miniata

Bat Sea Star
Learn more about Bat Sea Stars
California Two-Spot Octopus

O. Bimaculoides

california two spot octupos on a black background. Credit: tom Kleindinst
Learn more about the California Two-Spot Octopus
Comb Jelly

Mnemiopsis leidyi

Comb Jelly
Learn more about Comb Jellies
Common Cuttlefish

Sepia officinalis

Common Cuttlefish (S. officianlis)
Learn more about Common Cuttlefish
Flamboyant Cuttlefish

Metasepia pfefferi

Flamboyant cuttlefish
Learn more about Flamboyant Cuttlefish
Green Algae


Learn more about Micromonas
Hummingbird Bobtail Squid

Euprymna berryi

Hummingbird bobtail squid (Euprymna berryi). Credit: Tim Briggs
Learn more about Hummingbird Bobtail Squid
Lesser Pacific Striped Octopus

Octopus chierchiae

Pygmy zebra octopus
Learn more about O. chierchiae
Little Skate

Leucoraja erinacea

little skate on a white background credit: J Andrew Gillis
Learn more about Little Skate
Northern Star Coral

Astrangia poculata

Learn more about the Northern Star Coral

Brachionus manjavacas

Brachionus rotifer. Courtesy: Kristin Gribble
Learn more about Brachionus Rotifers
Sea Lamprey

Petromyzon marinus

sea lamprey
Learn more about Sea Lamprey
Sea Robin

Prionotus carolinus

juvenile sea robin in someone's hands
Learn more about Sea Robins
Striped Bass

Morone saxatilis

Striped Bass
Learn more about Striped Bass