Southern California Marine Institute and UCLA collaborate in creating marine research facility

Originally published in The Daily Bruin
Author: Seth Ronquillo

City Dock #1, a $430 million project, would allow UCLA undergraduate and graduate students to tackle projects they were unable to undertake in the past because of the lack of marine facilities on campus, said UCLA assistant professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences Burkard Baschek, a leading proponent of the project.

“We have the tools and the people, but we do not have the facility,” Bascheck said.

Collaborators hope to study ocean physics and sustainable fishing practices.

Scientists also hope to address marine environmental issues in California, including climate change and the effects of sewage outfall in the bay.

The project’s initiators have applied for the Annenberg Foundation, a private foundation, to fund City Dock #1.

Since UCLA is not a marine campus with easy access to the ocean for marine research, Baschek said he approached Southern California Marine Institute and got approval from UCLA four years ago to spearhead the project.

Initiated recently, the project is expected to be completed in the next five to 10 years.

Through the proposed facility, students and professors would be able to collaborate with researchers from other universities, including California State universities and the University of Southern California, whose researchers have experience in oceanography and marine science, said Tom Chavez, assistant director of SCMI.

Besides students and professors, City Dock #1 would also cater to government institutes, academic associates and private industries, said UCLA spokeswoman Kim DeRose.

DeRose said City Dock #1 would benefit the immediate community of the Los Angeles Port, as its lecture halls would be available for public outreach to educate the community about the ocean.

“This is coming at a really important time to study the environmental issues at hand,” she said.