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The institute has facilities both on campus and off campus that are designed to support the diverse group of IMS scientists and their research programs. Institute staff are equipped to provide technical support for intensive laboratory research and in remote field locations throughout the world.


Earth & Marine Sciences Building

Earth and Marine Sciences Building  
Earth & Marine Sciences Building (UCSC)  

The Earth & Marine Sciences building on the main campus houses the headquarters of the Institute of Marine Sciences and many of its affiliated faculty and researchers. The IMS Director and two staff, the Administrative Manager and Marine Analytical Lab Manager, have offices in this building. Faculty researchers have departmental laboratories to support their own groups of research staff, post-docs, graduate, and undergraduate students. IMS provides limited office and lab space for Professional Researchers, post-docs, and visiting scientists. Shared use lab and computing facilities are available for faculty, researchers, post-docs, and affiliated technicians and students.


On-Campus Facilities include:


MEGAMER image  
Flow Cytometer (Carter)  

Founded in 2005 and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the MEGAMER (Microbial Environmental Genomics, Applications, Modeling, Experimentation, & Remote Sensing) facility located in the Earth & Marine Sciences building offers instrumentation, instruction,  and support for visiting scientists and UCSC researchers  with a keen interest in the development of methods and  instrumentation needed for collection of real-time data in  the ocean via remote processing. Specialized  instrumentation includes:


  • Cytopeia Influx three-laser flow cytometer and high speed, bench-top cell sorter with three-laser excitation paths, two scatter detectors and eight fluorescence detectors
  • Fluid Imaging Technologies FlowCAM
  • Molecular Devices GenePix 4000B two laser DNA scanner
  • Apple Xserver eight node, 16 processor, OSX based server equipped with the iNquiry bioinformatics software.


Marine Analytical Laboratory

In this central lab complex within UCSC's Earth and Marine Science Building, scientific instrumentation and equipment support research in marine chemistry, biology, and geology. Analytical instrumentation instruction in use of equipment, consultation in experimental design, sampling, analysis, and data interpretation, and general assistance in all aspects of analytical science are provided by the lab manager. Major equipment includes:

  • Finnigan Element High-Resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer
  • Perkin-Elmer 4300DV Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer
  • GC, GC-MS, LC systems
  • Carbon and nitrogen analyzers
  • Electrochemical Analyzers
  • Spectrophotometers, fluorometers, and nutrient analyzers
  • Radiation detection and counting equipment

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Coastal Campus Facilities:

Joseph M. Long Marine Laboratory

  LML aerial
  Aerial of Long Marine Lab (Lezin)

Located on the edge of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the research and education facilities of the Long Marine Laboratory (LML) provide a state-of-the-art home for interdisciplinary research and teaching on marine life, coastal conservation, water science, climate change impacts and other marine and coastal science issues. The close proximity of the lab permits ease of integration of activities with the campus' instructional and research activities.

The Center for Ocean Health building at LML is a premier research facility for coastal conservation, policy, and research. Built entirely with private support, the center opened in 2001 with 23,000 square feet of labs, offices, and classrooms, providing much needed facilities for faculty, researchers, and students.

Long Marine Laboratory is known throughout the marine research community for innovative marine mammal research in areas such as diving physiology, physiological ecology, bioacoustics, and cognition. Active research at the lab is also conducted in the areas of nearshore invertebrate marine biology, ecology, and issues surrounding ocean health. Available facilities includes:

  • Outdoor seawater pools and pens for holding pinnipeds, sea otters, and small cetaceans
  • Seawater laboratories for fish, plankton, and marine invertebrates
  • Radioisotope labs
  • Culture lab for fish and marine invertebrate larvae and juveniles
  • Controlled photoperiod labs
  • Plankton culture labs
  • Research scuba-diving facility and small boat staging area
  • Meteorological station
  • Remote sensing surface current station (CODAR) in cooperation with NOAA
  • 1,000-gallon-per-minute seawater delivery system, wet and dry labs, and staff support


Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Laboratory

Preschool children discovering the touch tank  
Preschool children discovering the touch tank. (Seymour Center)  

The Seymour Marine Discovery Center is a gateway for the public to learn about marine research and ocean conservation. It replicates the look and feel of a working marine laboratory, with hands-on exhibits that feature the everyday tools of scientific exploration. Visitors learn abou the types of questions scientists ask and get a glimpse of the processes that generate insights and understanding. The goal is to instill in visitors a deep and lasting appreciation of the role research plays in understanding and protecting the world's oceans.

Directions to LML & the Seymour Center

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Diving and Boating Support

The institute manages the university Diving Safety Program (DSP), which is housed in an office in the Center for Ocean Health. The program supports scuba diving and small boats used by UCSC classes faculty, researcher, and staff based in the Monterey Bay and worldwide. In order to ensure safe scuba diving and scientific boating practices, the DSP provides training and oversight for all scuba diving (scientific and recreational) and scientific boating activities conducted under UCSC auspices.

  Scientific Diving Class
  Scientific Diving Class (Clabuesch)

IMS also manages a fleet of boats and diving equipment for researchers to gain access to nearshore, open coastal, bay, and inland habitats. Kayaks, inflatables, fiberglass, and aluminum vessels ranging from 11 to 35 feet in length are available. Portable scuba compressors and a variety of underwater sampling gear are also available for researchers and classes. UCSC is an organizational member of the American Academy of Underwater Sciences.


Boats at LML  
Boats (Clabuesch)  








Directions to LML & the Seymour Center

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Additional Research Facilities

Scientists affiliated with the Institute of Marine Sciences have opportunities to conduct field research at four unique field locations.

  • Younger Lagoon: 1 of 33 protected reserves in the Univeristy of California Natural Reserve System. Access is restricted to research purposes. The lagoon is one of the few remaining natural wetlands along the central California coast and is an important stop for migrating birds.
  • Año Nuevo Island: 25-acre reserve located about 20 miles north of Santa Cruz, one-quarter mile from the mainland. A unique habitat heavily colonized by four species of pinnipeds numbering in the thousands, the island also supports a diverse seabird population and rich intertidal zone.
  • Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve: 4,000 acres located on the spectacular Big Sur coast south of Monterey. This is an imporant instructional and research site for studies extending from the subtidal zone to mountain ridges.
  • Fort Ord Natural Reserve: Located on part of the former Fort Ord Army Base, Fort Ord Natural Reserve supports excellent examples of maritime chaparral endemic to the Monterey Bay region.



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