top of page


La Parguera + Ceiba, Puerto Rico.


Coral reefs are an essential part to the culture and well-being of many people living in Puerto Rico and are essential to a healthy thriving global ecosystem. However, coral reefs are declining at a rapid pace due to climate change and other anthropogenic pollution. Today’s Caribbean coral reefs are characterized by high abundance of algae, but little coral and low numbers of herbivorous organisms. Herbivores like sea urchins and crabs eat the algae on coral reefs to make more room for corals and other organisms to grow to help restore the natural balance of coral reef ecosystems.


The Center for Research and Restoration of Marine Organisms (CIROM in Spanish) facilities are the first land-based nurseries for marine organisms in Puerto Rico. CIROM has two facilities, one in Ceiba and the other in La Parguera at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Department of Marine Science (DMS). The CIROM facilities were developed and are run by ISER Caribe, with collaboration and/or funding from Puerto Rico Department of Natural Environmental Resources (DNER), Department of Marine Science, UPRM (DMS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Restoration Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.  

Our mission at CIROM is to aid in the recovery coral reef ecosystems through producing ecologically-important marine organisms such as herbivores and corals. These animals reared in our systems are used for ecosystem- based coral reef restoration efforts in Puerto Rico. The CIROM facilities are currently rearing three types of sea urchins (Diadema antillarum, Echinometra viridis and Tripneustes ventricosus), multiple species of corals, and herbivorous crabs (Maguimithrax spinosissimus), as well as a type of algae know as sea lettuce or Ulva spp, and two types of microalgae (Isochrysis galbana and Chaetoceros gracilis). The algae are used to feed the herbivores while they are raised in the nursery.   


At CIROM, we also provide training and education to local stakeholders, public educational tours and volunteer opportunities upon request. If you are interested in any of these opportunities, please fill the >> Interest Form

Guided tours


ISER Caribe offers guided tours of the Centro de Investigación y Restauración de Organismos Marinos (CIROM in Spanish) facilities located in La Parguera and Ceiba, Puerto Rico. This immersive experience, suitable for all, offers a firsthand exploration of marine biology at our coral and sea urchin nurseries. Participants will discover the intricate world of marine ecosystems through engaging activities and hands-on experiences. As you navigate the facilities at our coral, sea urchin and crab nurseries, witness firsthand the dedication of ISER Caribe to environmental stewardship and community engagement while participating in insightful discussions and contributing to the collective effort to preserve our oceans for generations to come.



Internship Program


The ISER-CIROM Internship Program is a transformative experience for middle to high school students providing hands-on exploration of marine biology at our coral, sea urchin and crab nurseries. Through a semester long commitment, students not only gain practical experience in coral and sea urchin husbandry, but also engage in meaningful research projects, fostering a deep understanding of marine ecosystems. The program's objectives include environmental stewardship and community engagement, underscoring ISER Caribe's commitment to marine conservation. Participants benefit from hands-on training, guest lectures by marine biology experts, and enriching field trips, all aimed at nurturing a passion for marine biology and inspiring future careers in the field.

Facility Contact * 

CIROM La Parguera  

Isla Magueyes 

Carr. 304 al final, Bo. La Parguera 

Lajas PR, 00677 


CIROM Ceiba 

Roosevelt Roads 

Ceiba PR, 00735 

(Across from Pure Adventures)

* Nursery visits and tours are available by appointment only. *

To inquire about a tour or volunteer opportunities please contact us! 

bottom of page