UMass Boston

Beacon Lab

Student participate in the Beacon Lab


Who We Are

The mascot for the University is the Beacon. A lighthouse that will lead you toward safety and away from danger. The School for the Environment with funding from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and partnering with SeaAhead has developed a lab dedicated to leveraging the expertise and students from UMass Boston to serve Bluetech, Energy, Aquaculture, Coastal, and Ocean Needs (BEACON Lab).

What We Do

Blue Economy startups. This Lab was developed to serve blue economy startups by fostering innovation and collaboration between the private and public sectors in industry and academia. The ADA-compliant dock is accessible at all tides on the Boston Campus and is available for use. There are enclosed lab spaces on the dock that is available for use allowing students and developers to test technologies in ocean water and provide real-time data to all. In addition, various vessels are available from UMass Boston Marine Operations.

Workforce Development

UMass Boston is good at attracting and retaining diverse students in STEM. In a recent survey, we had the 3rd most diverse student body in the country. Currently, we have a program with SeaAhead and Blue Swell that forms a cohort of 6 interns and provides wraparound services (expectations meeting for interns and hosts, DEI training for hosts, monthly meetings, and wrap-up celebration at the end of the semester for all). The BEACON Lab will leverage the University’s student body and expose them to cutting-edge science and technology development.

Current services via the BEACON LAB

Vessel-based acoustic seafloor mapping in waters <1 – 20 m

  • High-resolution 3D Swath Bathymetry: achievable grid cell sizes <10cm
  • High-resolution 2D Sidescan Sonar Imagery: achievable grid cell sizes <5cm 
  • Seismic reflection (sub-bottom) profiling (op. freq. 2-16 kHz)


Particle Size Analysis

The lab is a mixed-use facility with space for meetings, online conferencing, powerful computer workstations, and benches for electronics and analytical work.


Director PhD Mark Borrelli has extensively studied coastal processes and acoustic surveying with over 2 decades of experience. 

Research Engineer Francesco Peri, specializes in Ocean sensor development, buoy design and deployment, and quantification technologies for in-field chemical and biological detection he also holds both a 100-ton captain’s license and research diving certification.

Lab Manager Bryan McCormack, currently pursuing a PhD in Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.


For more information on the BEACON Lab and the services we offer, reach out to Dr. Mark Borrelli at