The Marine Science Institute (MSI) was established in 1969 at UCSB, and is the focus for marine, coastal zone, and freshwater research; marine policy studies; and educational outreach in marine science. MSI administers and supports research projects involving faculty, professional researchers, technical staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students from 14 disciplines.
The origins of marine science at UCSB date to 1935, even before the college became part of the University of California system. Activity around the discipline grew and by 1956 the campus had established its first marine biological lab. In 2004 the Marine Science Research Building became home to MSI. This 65,000 square foot building is aptly perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and brings together faculty, professional researchers, technical staff, graduate and undergraduate students from 14 disciplines across the UCSB campus.
Over the decades, the scope of marine science at UCSB has expanded and become highly interdisciplinary, with professionals from the departments of biology, geology, ecology, geography, chemistry, materials engineering, oceanography, environmental science and public policy engaged in teaching and research at MSI. This diversified and multidisciplinary approach has led to a more comprehensive understanding of the world’s oceans and their connections to other earth systems, while fostering transfer of knowledge, research tools and techniques across disciplines.
Throughout its history, educational outreach has been a priority at MSI where programs for students at all levels of education have enriched and expanded curricula. In 2009 ground was broken for OCTOS, Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science. In partnership with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, OCTOS will house technologically state-of-the-art hands-on interactive exhibits that inspire and train the scientists and science teachers of the future.