Marine Science Sites and Facilities
The main UCSC campus is spectacularly located at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking Monterey Bay, the country's largest National Marine Sanctuary and one of the world's most diverse marine ecosystems. Our coastal campus is on a seaside bluff a short distance from the main campus and houses Long Marine Laboratory, including the Center for Ocean Health and Seymour Marine Discovery Center. It is a major hub for research, teaching, and outreach.
Long Marine Laboratory is world renowned for innovative research in marine mammal physiology and ecology, marine invertebrate ecology, and marine toxicology. The research conducted at Long Marine Lab depends on a seawater system capable of delivering 1,000 gallons per minute of high-quality filtered seawater.
Researchers and staff at Long Marine Lab have developed specially designed tanks and equipment that are used for studying marine mammal diving physiology, bioacoustics, and cognition. Facilities for marine mammal work include five large pools and five smaller pools. The lab has housed a wide variety of marine mammals over the years, including Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, southern sea otters, California sea lions, a northern elephant seal, harbor seal, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, and Arctic ringed seals and spotted seals.
Additional research facilities at Long Marine Lab include seawater laboratories for plankton and marine invertebrate research; radioisotope labs; environmental analytical labs for extraction and precise measurements of trace levels of organic pollutants in water and tissue; a culture lab for marine invertebrate larvae and juveniles; a research SCUBA-diving, small-boat, and field-research support facility; and a station for remote sensing of surface currents.
The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is dedicated to educating people about the role scientific research plays in the understanding and conservation of the world's oceans. This breathtaking seaside learning center brings the adventures and explorations of ocean science to life. Powered by Long Marine Laboratory, the Seymour Center offers hands-on immersion into the world of ocean exploration and discovery. At the 20,000-square-foot visitor center, guests can touch a shark, explore the latest discoveries in ocean science, and take in the spectacular Monterey Bay, called the "Serengeti of the sea" for its incredible diversity of marine life. The center offers a deeper dive into the research conducted at Long Marine Lab and a chance for everyone to find their inner scientist through rich experiential learning programs, including school fieldtrips, summer youth programs, Science Sundays, volunteer opportunities, internships, and more.
In 1974, Santa Cruz residents Donald and Marian Younger donated approximately 40 acres of land on the open coast near Monterey Bay for the development of a UCSC coastal marine research station. Approximately 25 acres of the donated land became the Younger Lagoon Reserve, a relatively undisturbed coastal lagoon with fresh and saltwater marsh that has been surrounded by agriculture for most of the last two hundred years. The reserve contains wetland, beach, and upland environments and supports a variety of vegetation types and wildlife species. Younger Lagoon Reserve became part of the University of California Natural Reserve System in 1986 and is now managed by the UCSC Natural Reserve unit.
The Earth and Marine Sciences (EMS) building on the main UCSC campus houses the headquarters of the Institute of Marine Sciences and many of its affiliated faculty and researchers. Also based here are the Marine Analytical Laboratory, with scientific instrumentation and equipment for research in marine chemistry, biology, and geology; and the MEGAMER facility (Microbial Environmental Genomics, Applications, Modeling, Experimentation, & Remote Sensing), which supports the development of methods and instrumentation needed for collection of real-time data in the ocean via remote processing.