About the Department

The Ocean Sciences Department includes faculty, students and staff involved in oceanography and other marine sciences and offers undergraduate and graduate courses in these disciplines. Through faculty sponsors, students have access to a wide variety of research facilities and equipment, including on-campus analytical chemistry, geology and molecular biology laboratories for marine research; computing and imaging facilities; an on-shore marine laboratory two miles from campus (Long Marine Laboratory), with aquariums and holding tanks that are supplied with running sea water; and a unique field station on Año Nuevo Island (19 miles north of Santa Cruz), especially suited for studies on pinnipeds and marine birds. The department supports collaborative studies utilizing the innovative technologies of the nearby Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), the Naval Postgraduate School, Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station, California State University's (CSU) Moss Landing Laboratory, and other facilities. Students may also work at other University of California facilities, including the Bodega Marine Laboratories and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In addition to research and instructional activities along the California coast, interests of the core faculty and their students include biological, chemical and physical oceanography; plus sediment, marine organic and trace metal biogeochemistry; marine plankton, phytoplankton ecology, paleoceanography, aquatic microbial ecology, ecological modeling and remote sensing (satellite oceanography); numeric modeling of coastal and basin-scale dynamics; and midwater ecology and climatology, among others. 

Ocean Sciences Department affiliated faculty in other departments represent a deep resource of research interests and methodologies including those pertaining to coral reef and kelp forest ecology, plate tectonics and continental margins, marine mammal behavior and physiology, and natural products from marine organisms. Student research projects have included participation in major scientific expeditions to various marine environments ranging from Polar Regions to the tropics.