University of Southern California The USC Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering

Coastal and Marine Environmental Studies 

The USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies supports marine and environmental science and education at the University of Southern California. The institute has offices on the USC campus in Los Angeles and manages the USC research laboratories and conference facilities on Catalina Island.

The core research efforts are in Marine Environmental Biology and works to understand marine organisms, their interactions in complex marine ecosystems, and the emergent properties of the communities that result from these interactions. By design and by necessity this work includes studies at all levels of biological organization: molecular, genetic, organismal, population and community, and the intersection between the activities of organisms and the abiotic world.

The interdisciplinary and integrative nature of our research presents opportunities to create unique linkages across scales, educating our students in the connections between molecular biology, physiological ecology, neurobiology, and the larger-scale functions of organisms and ecosystems.

The USC Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center is a state-of-the-art research center and teaching facility on Catalina Island, 20 miles offshore from Los Angeles., that's available for use by USC faculty and students, researchers from other universities, conference organizers and a wide range of educational groups.


The Center Offers

  • A location on a small cove at the "quiet end" of Catalina Island and in close proximity to a marine reserve and deep ocean waters.
  • Eight laboratories that accommodate up to 24 researchers and 60 students.
  • A full service waterfront to support marine-based research and education.
  • Conference facilities for up to 85 participants.  
  • Housing for up to 65 overnight visitors and meal services for up to 150 diners.



  • Develop software applications for mapping ocean parameters such as temperature, circulation, water quality to monitor climate change.
  • Evaluate coastal and oceanic ecosystems and ocean acidification.
  • Evaluate the impacts of ocean carbon seqestration.
  • Evaluate thei mpacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. Microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, and geobiology.
  • Conservation biology and the population and quantitative genetics of marine species, using state-of-the-art genomics approaches.


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