The large number of students in the 1960's, together with widespread interest in the marine environment, meant that course activities needed to find new premises and facilities for their operations. The decision was made to establish a laboratory at Tjärnö by the Kosterfjord. Thus, Tjärnö Marine Zoological Station was founded in 1963. Stockholm University used the station for their marine university education from 1965. During 1970-ies the station changed its name to Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory. About the same time activities became all-year-around and research started in small scale. The station grew with buildings and employees mainly during 1980-, 1990- and 2000-ies.
From 2008 to 2016 the station was a part of the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences (renamed Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Infrastructure in 2016). Since 2018, Tjärnö Laboratory is a part of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, and the name since 2019 is Tjärnö Marine Laboratory.