This document establishes the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) authority, responsibilities, and administrative procedures for ensuring the proper care, use, and humane treatment of vertebrate animals used in research and teaching at MBL.


  1. The MBL considers the use of animals in research and teaching as an integral part of scientific discovery and biomedical advancements.
  2. The MBL is committed to its scientific and ethical obligation to treat animals involved in research and teaching humanely. All Principal Investigators/faculty, staff and students involved in research and teaching using animals maintain the highest ethical standards of care and use.
  3. All research at MBL shall be conducted in accordance with all applicable laws, regulations, guidelines and policies governing the care and use of animals in research, including the Public Health Service (PHS) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
  4. All research involving the use of vertebrate animals (mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, fish and fertile vertebrate eggs) must have a protocol approved by the MBL’s IACUC before the research can begin.


The IACUC is a Standing Committee established by the MBL Director and President. The Institutional Official (IO) who is a member of the Compliance Committee will summarize any key issues (if they exist) from the IACUC and report to the Committee.

  1. The IACUC shall provide oversight for compliance with all relevant laws and regulations for all animals used for research and teaching purposes at MBL.
  2. The IACUC shall operate in accordance with the federal and state laws, regulations and polices describes in the following documents:
    • a. The Public Health Service Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Revised 2015);
    • b. The Guide For the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (ILAR 2011); and
    • c. The United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Welfare Regulations (As of Jan 1, 2017).
  1. The IACUC shall have the responsibility to approve, to require modification of proposed activity involving vertebrate animals, and the authority to prohibit a project’s use of vertebrate animals.
  2. The Director of the Division of Research shall serve as the Institutional Official (IO) for MBL.
  3. The IO shall have the administrative and operational authority to commit institutional resources to ensure compliance with the federal and state regulations governing MBL’s Animal Care and Use Program.
  4. The IACUC and the Attending Veterinarian shall report to the IO.


  1. The Committee is charged with the responsibility for:
    • a. Reviewing the MBL's program for the humane care and use of animals;
    • b. Providing oversight for all animals used for teaching and research purposes at MBL.
  1. The IACUC operates in accordance with federal and state polices set forth by the regulations and guidance of the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services.
  1. The IACUC is granted the authority to:
    • a. Provide supervision, coordination, and review of every project proposed to include the use of vertebrate animals.
    • b. Review and approve, disapprove or require modification of proposed activity involving animals
    • c. Prohibit a project’s use of vertebrate animals for research and teaching.
    • d. Conduct semiannual evaluations of institutional Animal Care and Use Program.
    • e. Ensure methods for reporting and investigating animal welfare concerns are in place.
    • f. Review and investigate concerns about animal care and use at MBL.


Responsibilities of the Institutional Official (IO)

  1. Legally commit, on behalf of the MBL, that the MBL will meet the requirements of the USDA Animal Welfare Act and Regulations. This applies only to regulated species.
  2. Sign MBL’s Assurance that commits the MBL to meet the requirements of the PHS Policy.
  3. Make recommendations to the MBL Director and President regarding appointment of IACUC members.
  4. Ensure that the program goals of quality animal care and use are in alignment with the MBL’s research and education mission.
  5. Monitor MBL’s compliance with all applicable animal welfare laws, regulations, and policies.
  6. Ensure that the number and type of animal facilities are maintained at the level required to ensure animal welfare, provide research support resources needed to advance research and teaching.
  7. Sign forms, reports, and letters on behalf of the MBL, and interact with the IACUC in overseeing MBL's Animal Care and Use Program.
  8. Upon receipt of semiannual inspection reports, incident reports, and recommendations from the IACUC, determine, in consultation with the IACUC, whether deficiencies are significant or minor and whether appropriate corrective actions have been identified and implemented.

Responsibilities of IACUC Chair

  1. Oversee the IACUC’s review and approval, modification, or disapproval of animal use protocols, annual review of protocols, and amendments to protocols.
  2. Supervise a review of the MBL's program for animal care, use, and inspection of all animal facilities every six months.
  3. Prepare and sign off on the semiannual report to the Institutional Official (IO).
  4. Make recommendations to the IO regarding IACUC membership.
  5. Submit annual reports (through the IO) to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW) and the USDA.
  6. Investigate and prepare a report to OLAW, submitted through the IO, of all reportable incidents.
  7. Evaluate reports of potential violations to existing Animal Care and Use regulations or this policy, and investigate and report findings to the full membership of the IACUC.
  8. In consultation with the IACUC, review the reasons for any activity that leads to suspension of a protocol, take appropriate corrective action, and report that action to regulatory agencies, as needed.


  1. The IACUC shall be comprised of at least 5 members: a veterinarian experienced in laboratory animal research; a scientist; a non-scientist, and a member of the public who has no affiliation with the MBL other than IACUC membership
  2. The IACUC members shall be carefully chosen to ensure representation of the wide range of research and teaching activities conducted at MBL and the diverse perspectives of MBL Community and the public.
  3. The IACUC members shall be appointed by the MBL Director and President in consultation with the IO, according to federal regulations.

Meeting Frequency and Quorum

  1. The IACUC shall meet as often as necessary to fulfill its institutional responsibilities, but it should meet at least once every 6 months.
  2. A quorum is a majority (greater than 50%) the voting members of IACUC. All matters requiring a vote by the IACUC requires a simple majority of the quorum.
  3. Minutes of the Committee meetings shall be taken and kept on file by the IACUC recording secretary as part of the official records of the IACUC proceedings.

Conflict of Interest

No member may participate in the IACUC review of an activity in which that member has a conflicting interest (is personally involved in the activity), except to provide information requested by the IACUC.