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Seymour Marine Discovery Center

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It's the best place to study marine science on the west coast! Due to a unique combination of natural geological features and currents, the Monterey Bay is one of the richest marine environments in the world. During the long days of spring and summer, the California current moves water south towards the equator and strong northwesterly winds blow along the coastline. This combination creates seasonal upwelling of nutrient-rich, low-temperature water from the deep ocean up to the surface nearshore. Here the enriched water spurs microscopic plankton. The tiny organisms support the center of the marine food web from shrimp to whales.

The protected and clean waters of the bay provide a safe harbor for resident and visiting marine life. Harbor seals, southern sea otters, bottlenose dolphins, and two porpoise species are here year-round. California sea lions, northern elephant seals, northern fur seals, four dolphin species, 13 whale species, and the threatened Steller sea lion come here at different times of the year. Thousands of different kinds of invertebrates, animals without backbones, are supported by the rich water and wide assortment of intertidal and subtidal substrates. Over 450 different kinds of large marine algae live in the Monterey Bay, as well as thousands of migratory and resident sea and shore birds and many different kinds of fish.

It's because of these incredible numbers and types of sea life that the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was created in 1992. Extending from Cambria in San Luis Obispo County to just above the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, it is the nation's largest national marine sanctuary.

Hidden under the sea surface is the huge Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon, larger than the Grand Canyon. Deep sea environments are a short boat ride away for researchers and whale watchers instead of hundreds of miles off the continental shelf.

Over the years this rich natural environment has attracted over 20 marine education and research facilities to locate on the borders of the bay. When UCSC first opened in 1965, the marine sciences were an important part of the campus planning. Now, with the dynamic combination of university scientists, analytical equipment, facilities, collaborative research, and public outreach, UCSC is on the forefront of marine science research and education in the Monterey Bay.

Long Marine Laboratory is the oceanside research center for UCSC's Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS), an organized research unit focusing on marine science. In 1974, Donald and Marion Younger donated 40 acres of coastal bluff and freshwater lagoon north of Santa Cruz to UCSC for the establishment of a marine laboratory and for wetland preservation. The Joseph M. Long Marine Laboratory was dedicated in 1978 to honor the substantial contributions to the university made by Joseph M. Long, founder of Longs Drugs. Initial construction of the marine lab was made possible through generous private support, and ongoing operating costs of the lab are supported by the university as well as contracts, grants, and gift funds.

As soon as the lab's first buildings were constructed, curious visitors began to arrive. Bill Doyle, first director of IMS and the lab, recognized the value of an interested public and supported the establishment of the Friends of Long Marine Lab, a non-profit group that supports the lab's public education program.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Tue10:00 AM5:00 PM
Wed10:00 AM5:00 PM
Thr10:00 AM5:00 PM
Fri10:00 AM5:00 PM
Sat10:00 AM5:00 PM
Sun12:00 PM5:00 PM
Notes: Holiday Closures December 25, 2012 January 1, 2013 March 31, 2013 July 4, 2013 November 28, 2013 December 24-25, 2013 December 31, 2013


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