CARMABI was founded as a marine biological research station in 1955.
His Royal Highness, the late Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, laid the first stone of the institute.
From the start, aside from research, applied nature conservation and education were also important areas of activity brought together in 1962 under the allied National Parks Foundation of the Netherlands Antilles (better known as STINAPA).
In 1996 CARMABI and STINAPA merged into one organization, the Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity Foundation, better known under the original acronym CARMABI.
Today CARMABI provides facilities and logistical support to upwards of 70 visiting researchers and graduate students per year, manages nine protected areas on Curacao, the largest of which is the 1860 hectare Christoffelpark, and runs an educational program reaching about 12000 school children per year. Combined research output by staff and visiting researchers amounts to about 25 scholarly publications and reports per year.