The FMEL site is surrounded by a 291 acre preserve of similar habitats including freshwater wetlands, mangrove forests and a scrubby pine flatwoods. On the FMEL eastern boundary, the Indian River Lagoon includes seagrass beds, shallow sand bottoms, spoil islands, as well as bird rookeries. An adjacent rookery has been designated as one of the ten most important rookeries in the state by the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission. The convergence of these habitats provides an exceptional outdoor classroom setting which afford students the opportunity to experience the contrasts and similarities of all of these habitats during an hour- long walk and/or canoe paddle.
Over 130 species of plants have been identified in the area and a wide variety of vertebrate and invertebrate animals make the area their home. Among the flora and fauna are some threatened/endangered species including the bald eagle, the manatee, the gopher tortoise, the coral root orchid, the butterfly orchid, and various bromeliads.
Physical facilities include modern laboratories, offices, a library, and teaching/conference facilities. The Roundhouse is a screened pavilion which sits in the midst of a coastal oak hammock and can accommodate large experimental set-ups in an ambient, but controlled environment. Classroom facilities are located by a tidal creek and nestled among mangroves and include adjoining wet laboratories and field access.
Other facilities include a biological safety level III laboratory for handling viruses and other agents, an insectary for holding exotic mosquitoes, a metal and wood working shop, scanning electron microscope, biochemistry and molecular laboratories, a computer and graphics lab, and a photographic darkroom. The FMEL offers an experienced staff of researchers and educators, a singular site, and ample physical facilities.