- Contributor: John Stumbos
- Author: Katherine Kerlin
The new Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute at UC Davis will bring a new undergraduate program in marine sciences, a spruced-up Bodega Marine Laboratory, and enhanced opportunities for collaboration and education among marine scientists spread across UC Davis.
From the laboratories at the university’s main campus near the state’s political center of Sacramento to the shores of Bodega Bay on California’s north coast, a diverse group of marine scientists and policymakers at UC Davis has been studying the most critical issues affecting oceans, and the creatures and people who depend on them. Now, the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute will begin to connect, strengthen, and leverage those efforts.
UC Davis evolution and ecology professor Rick Grosberg (above) is the institute’s founding director.
“I hope to take the incredible expertise on our main campus and at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory to assemble a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program in marine science,” said Grosberg. “One of our goals is to pull together an exceptionally strong and diverse group of faculty and really build the health of the coastal ocean.”
The institute’s work primarily will focus on coastal Northern California — from north of Monterey to the California-Oregon border.
Ten faculty currently reside at Bodega Marine Laboratory, while 69 campus faculty consider themselves marine scientists. By providing a collaborative framework, the institute aims to enhance opportunities for research, teaching, outreach and stakeholder engagement surrounding marine sciences.
The Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute features four key components, expected to be rolled out over the next five years:
- Research enterprises that use novel combinations of existing expertise at UC Davis in the physical, biological and social sciences to address issues affecting coastal and ocean environments.
- New degree programs. CMSI plans to introduce a highly interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program in marine sciences, expected to launch in 2014. New graduate and professional training programs in marine sciences are also being developed.
- The Bodega Learning Center aims to educate and engage the public — from “K to gray” — about marine and coastal issues. It will be located at Bodega Marine Laboratory, with plans to further develop visitor exhibits and programs for schools, professional training and lifelong learning throughout Northern California.
- The Center for Coastal Ocean Issues will provide a forum for engaging with stakeholders, from the beginning, to identify and address challenges related to human, natural and economic coastal health. This includes bringing together scientists, government agencies, policymakers, ocean industries and the public.
The UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory sits amid the Bodega Marine Reserve about 100 miles west from the UC Davis campus and is ideally located for studying coastal health and human impacts that could affect it. The facility is in one of the world’s four major upwelling areas, which are highly productive — yielding 20 percent of global fish production while occupying less than 1 percent of the ocean surface area. BML is also near one of the most densely populated regions of the state — the San Francisco Bay area — where coastlines are increasingly impacted by human activities.
The laboratory was founded in 1960 by UC Berkeley and was transferred to UC Davis in 1983. Recent work includes research on ocean acidification and climate change, invasive species, fisheries management, the effects of oil spills on marine life, and a program to bring back the endangered white abalone from the brink of extinction.