An Innovative Center for Marine Research

The Institute of Marine Sciences is a unique collaborative effort to increase our knowledge of the world's oceans, the complex processes that affect their behavior, their fascinating inhabitants and to understand their economic importance and also the impact people and changing environmental conditions and climate have on them.

Our researchers ask questions that are as old as the ocean basins and as current as today’s weather. What real estate will rising sea levels consume and when? What do deep-sea sediments tell us about ancient climates, and great earthquakes, past and future? What do marine mammals hear and how do they respond to human-generated sound in the ocean? How do elephant seals migrate thousands of miles with absolute precision? What can kelp forests and other marine plants tell us about the health of our coastal ocean? How has terrestrial runoff contributed to what appear to be an increasing frequency of harmful algal blooms? What strategies will work best for protecting endangered species?

Our renowned faculty and researchers conduct investigations as close to home as Monterey Bay and as distant as the ice shelves of Antarctica and the deep-sea floor around the margins of the Pacific Basin. While scientists associated with the Institute have very broad and global interests, there is a focus and concentration in the coastal zone, the areas most impacted by diverse human activities. This is where many of today’s recognized problems and challenges are focused, including: ocean dumping, waste water disposal and urban runoff; impacted commercial and recreational fisheries and Marine Protected Areas; agricultural runoff, excess nutrients and harmful algal blooms; recreational use of nearshore waters and water quality; climate change, sea-level rise and ocean acidification. Our partners include many scientists from other educational institutions and organizations around Monterey Bay, and from federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, National Marine Fisheries Service, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which are located on or adjacent to the Coastal Science Campus.