The Institute of Marine Sciences


The mission of the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) is to strengthen and promote marine science research and instruction.

IMS meets our mission by providing research opportunities, funding sources, facilities, equipment, research support, education, outreach programs and administrative services for the institute’s scientists, local marine organizations, the California school systems and general public.

Our vision is to be a leader of innovative resource that crosses research boundaries in marine science and coastal sustainability.



Marine Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz has a history extending back over 50 years. When the original Campus Master Plan was being written in the early 1960s, a decision was made that the new campus was an ideal location for ocean research and education and would be the only coastal campus for the northern two-thirds of the state. Over the subsequent years, marine research and education have grown and matured along with the campus.

The Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) is an Organized Research Unit (ORU) that was formally approved in 1976 as the Center for Coastal Marine Studies. In 1985 the Center was renamed to reflect an expanded role and scope. The Institute has the responsibility to encourage, develop, and support marine research and education, which includes attracting new scientists and external funding, as well as building and facilitating mutually productive collaborations between Institute scientists and federal and state governmental agencies, as well as non-governmental marine organizations.

The Institute has facilities and support staff both on the UCSC Main Campus and at the off-site Coastal Science Campus, located on the coastline ten minutes from Main Campus. It is comprised of IMS Researchers, along with affiliated Faculty and graduate students from six academic departments, whose research efforts align with one of the eight IMS research cluster groups.

The Institute has attracted a number of government agency marine programs and marine conservation organizations to the Long Marine Lab site over the past 15 years. The acquisition of additional oceanfront land and the construction and growth of new facilities has led to the development of what has now been recognized and renamed as the Coastal Science Campus.