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UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara

Marine Science

Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science
Division of Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences
Life Sciences Building Room 4314
Telephone: (805) 893-2979
Program Chair: David Valentine


The Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science (IGPMS) offers studies leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in marine science. This program recognizes the intrinsic interdisciplinary nature of modern marine science and the necessity for cross-disciplinary, graduate-level training through a program which brings together many marine faculty located in nine departments on the UCSB campus. These include the departments of Anthropology; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Chemical Engineering; Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology; Earth Science; Geography; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Mechanical Engineering; and the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. All participating faculty maintain strong marine-oriented research programs which accommodate students from both the IGPMS and their own individual departmental graduate programs.

The program emphasizes the understanding of the ocean as an integrated system. Research areas in the program currently under active investigation include biological, chemical, and physical oceanography, marine geochemistry, marine geology and geophysics, marine biology, paleoceanography, ocean optics, and remote sensing, and ocean engineering. Some students focus on a particular disciplinary area for their research (e.g., biological oceanography, marine geology, physical oceanography, etc.), but enter the program because they seek a broader training in marine science than can be provided within the framework of traditional departmental programs. Others complete interdisciplinary dissertations involving expertise in two or more sub-disciplines within marine science.

The program accepts students with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a biological or physical science, engineering, or mathematics. In addition to program requirements, candidates must meet university degree requirements found in the chapter “Graduate Education at UCSB.” Master’s and doctoral candidates in the program must be registered as full-time students in classes in the participating departments or in IGPMS classes. Individualized programs of instruction can be undertaken by students enrolled in the program and interdisciplinary research is greatly facilitated by the breadth of faculty available as advisors and thesis committee members.


Applicants may apply for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree program. The M.S. program is small and oriented toward research. An M.S. degree is not required to enter the Ph.D. program. In addition to fulfilling all university requirements for admission to graduate status, described in the chapter “Graduate Education at UCSB” the applicant will normally hold a bachelor’s degree in a biological or physical science, engineering, or mathematics. Such a degree should include at least one year each of calculus/statistics, chemistry, and physics. Applicants are required to submit the UCSB application for graduate admission, official undergraduate transcripts, and three letters of recommendation from individuals who can best assess the applicant’s academic and research potential. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test is not required for applicants to the graduate program. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take either the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam. Exceptions to this requirement will be considered for those students who have completed an undergraduate or graduate education at an institution whose primary language of instruction is English. The minimum TOEFL score for consideration is 550 when taking the paper-based test (PBT) and 80 when taking the internet-based test (IBT). The minimum IELTS score for consideration is an Overall Band Score of 7 or higher. TOEFL or IELTS scores must not be more than two years old at the time of application to UCSB. Applicants should specify their general areas of interests within marine science on their application and provide a clear and focused statement of purpose. Applications will be reviewed and directed to appropriate faculty within the program for consideration. Applicants to the program must be accepted by a major professor with whom they wish to work and who has agreed to supervise the student’s graduate training and thesis research. No student will be admitted without a faculty sponsor. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to contact individual faculty in the program directly. For more information on how to choose a faculty sponsor applicants may visit the website at or inquire to the Marine Sciences Program for assistance. Applications are considered for fall admission only and should be received with all supporting materials by December 15.


Department of Chemical Engineering
Michelle O’Malley, Ph.D., University of Delaware, Assistant Professor (Bioengineering
Energy, Efficiency & Sustainability)

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Alison Butler, Ph.D., UC San Diego, Professor (bio-inorganic chemistry of the marine environment, biological role of vanadium, acquisition of transition metal ions by marine microorganisms)

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology
Mark A. Brzezinski, Ph.D., Oregon State University, Professor (biological oceanography, elemental cycling, phytoplankton ecology)
Deron Burkepile, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Assistant Professor (marine community ecology, trophic interactions, herbivore ecology)
Craig A. Carlson, Ph.D., University of Maryland, Professor (marine microbial ecology, bacterioplankton, dissolved organic carbon, marine biogeochemistry)
Erika J. Eliason, Assistant Professor, Ecological & Evolutionary Physiology, Marine Biology, Zoology
Gretchen E. Hofmann, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Professor (marine animal physiological ecology)
Sally J. Holbrook, Ph.D., UC Berkeley, Professor (population ecology, marine vertebrate predation and competition)
Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez, Ph.D. Swansea University, U.K., Professor (diversity and function in marine phytoplankton combining molecular approaches, carbon physiology and biogeochemistry in the lab and in the field)
Armand M. Kuris, Ph.D., UC Berkeley, Professor (parasitology, marine ecology, crustacean biology)
Sally MacIntyre, Ph.D., Duke University, Professor (physical and biological oceanography and limnology, bio-physical coupling, mixing, water column microstructure)
Douglas McCauley, Ph.D., Stanford University, Biology/Hopkins Marine Station, Assistant Professor (Understanding the ecology of communities and ecosystems in a rapidly changing world)
John M. Melack, Ph.D., Duke University, Professor (limnology, biogeochemistry, wetland ecology)
Holly V. Moeller, Assistant Professor, Biological Oceanography, Microbial Ecology, Population and Community Ecology
Roger Nisbet, Ph.D., University of St. Andrews, Scotland , Professor (theoretical population ecology, marine toxicology)
Alyson Santoro, Ph.D., Stanford University, Assistant Professor (microbial ecology, microbial oceanography, nitrogen cycling, marine archaea)
Russell J. Schmitt, Ph.D., UC Los Angeles, Professor (marine community ecology and population biology, consumer-resource interactions; marine invertebrates and reef fishes)
Adrian C. Stier, Assistant Professor, Aquatic Biology, Ecology, Marine Biology, Population and Community Ecology
Elizabeth G. Wilbanks, Assistant Professor, Quantitative Biology, Marine Science, Microbial Ecology & Evolution, and Molecular Biology

Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Tony De Tomaso, Ph.D., Washington University School of Medicine, Associate Professor (self/non-self recognition and the evolution of immunity; stem cell and developmental studies of regeneration; ecological and evolutionary impacts of allorecognition on larval settlement behavior)
Kathleen Foltz, Ph.D., Purdue University, Associate Professor (cellular and molecular biology, marine invertebrate development)
Joel Rothman, Ph.D., University of Oregon, Professor (regulation of development and differentiation; regulation of programmed cell death and cell division; mechanisms of tumorigenesis)
William C. Smith, Ph.D., UC Santa Cruz, Professor (chordate embryogenesis and morphogenesis, developmental genetics of marine urochordates)
J. Herbert Waite, Ph.D., Duke University, Professor (protein chemistry, biomolecular materials in marine invertebrates, adhesive proteins)

Department of Geography
Leila Carvalho, Ph.D., University of São Paulo, Brazil, Associate Professor (regional and large-scale climate variability and modeling, global climate change, and tropical-extratropical interactions) 
Tim Devries, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, Assistant Professor (numerical models of ocean circulation and biogeochemistry, ocean carbon and nutrient cycles, ocean circulation and climate variability, inverse methods, probabilistic models, data assimilation)
Tommy Dickey, Ph.D., Princeton University, Professor (atmosphere-ocean &upper ocean mixing; turbulence & internal waves)
Qinghua Ding, PhD, University of Hawaii, Assistant Professor (climate dynamics)
Charles Jones, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, Associate Professor (precipitation variability, extreme events, weather forecasts, predictability studies, regional modeling, monsoon systems, and climate change)
David Lopez-Carr, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Professor (population (migration, fertility), health, environmental change, deforestation, rural development, Latin America) 
Nick Nidzieko, Ph.D., Stanford University, Assistant Professor (coastal physical oceanography, role of turbulent mixing and transport in estuarine biogeochemistry, autonomous platforms and adaptive sampling)
David Siegel, Ph.D., University of Southern California, Professor (physical and bio-optical oceanography, numerical modeling, turbulence, air-sea interaction and theoretical ecology)
Libe Washburn, Ph.D., UC San Diego, Professor (bio-physical interactions, submesoscale ocean processes, turbulence and mixing, air-sea interaction, and marine pollution)

Department of Earth Science
Jordan F. Clark, Ph.D., Columbia University, Professor (hydrogeology)
Matthew Jackson, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ‘Joint Program’, Associate Professor (Geochemistry and Igneous Petrology)
Edward Keller, Ph.D., Purdue University, Professor (earth surface processes, environmental geology)
David W. Lea, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology—Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Professor (chemical oceanography and paleoceanography)
Lorraine E. Lisiecki, Ph.D., Brown University, Associate Professor (climate of the last 5 million years, using mostly marine records)
Susannah Porter, Ph.D., Harvard University, Associate Professor (Precambrian and Cambrian Paleobiology, Early Eukaryote and Early Animal Evolution)
Alex Simms, Ph.D., Rice University, Associate Professor (sedimentology, quaternary science, coastal responses to climate, sea-level, and other changes)
David L. Valentine, Ph.D., UC Irvine, Professor (biogeochemical cycling, bicrobially mediated transformations in marine sediments and waters) 
Syee Weldeab, Ph.D., University of Tübingen, Germany, Assistant Professor (paleoclimatology, paleoceanography, monsoon history, marine geochemistry)

Department of Mechanical Engineering
Frederic Gibou, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, Professor (computational mathematics, modeling and simulations, and interface problems)
Paolo Luzzatto-Fegiz, Ph.D., Cornell University (Thermal Science & Fluid Mechanics)
Eckart Meiburg, Ph.D., University of Karlsruhe, Professor (fluid mechanics, computational fluid dynamics) 
Igor Mezic, Ph.D., Cal Tech, Professor (our current research is centered around operator-theoretic approach to analysis of nonlinear dynamical systems, applications in microfluidics and (bio)-nanotechnology)

Bren School of Environmental Science and Management
Christopher Costello, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Professor (environmental regulation and natural resource management with a particular emphasis on information, its value, and its effect on management decisions. Topical interests include biological diversity, introduced species, regulation of polluting industries, and marine policy)
Steven D. Gaines, Ph.D., Oregon State University, Professor (marine community ecology, dispersal, biogeography, biostatistics) 
Ben Halpern, Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, Professor (marine ecology, conservation planning)
Trish Holden, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Professor (environmental microbiology, coastal and estuarine bacterial ecology, soil microbiology)
Bruce Kendall, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Professor (applied ecology, quantitative ecology with emphasis on population dynamics of organisms)
Hunter Lenihan, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Professor (community, conservation, and restoration ecology, fisheries oceanography, polar and deep-sea biology, adaptive management of marine resources)
Samantha Stevenson, Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder (Climate Modeling, Drought, Oceanography, Climate Dynamics)


Emeriti Faculty 
Alice L. Alldredge, Ph.D., UC Davis, Professor (biological oceanography, zooplankton ecology, carbon cycling)
David J. Chapman, Ph.D., Stanford University, Professor (phycology, biochemical evolution)
James J. Childress, Ph.D., UC San Diego, Professor (ecological physiology of invertebrates and fishes, biological oceanography, physiology of deep-sea animals)
Peter M. Collins, Ph.D., University of London, Professor (endocrinology, hormonal regulation in vertebrates)
Catherine Gautier, Ph.D., University of Paris, Professor (earth radiation budget and cloud processes, radiative transfer and remote sensing, global climate processes and earth system science)
Rachel M. Haymon, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Professor (marine geology and geochemistry)
Robert S. Jacobs, Ph.D., Loyola University, Professor (pharmacology, cellular and molecular mechanism of action of marine natural products and toxins)
James P. Kennett, Ph.D., Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, Professor (paleoceanography, marine geology)
Wilbert J. Lick, Ph.D., Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Professor (oceanography and limnology, applied mathematics)
Bruce P. Luyendyk, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Professor (tectonics, geophysics, paleomagnetism)
Ken C. Macdonald, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Professor (marine tectonics and magnetism)
Stephen R. McLean, Ph.D., University of Washington, Professor (fluid mechanics, physical oceanography, sediment transport)
Joel Michaelsen, Ph.D., UC Berkeley, Professor (climatology/meteorology, climate change, marine resources, temporal and spatial statistics)
Daniel Morse, Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Professor (molecular genetics, biochemistry, marine biology, developmental biology)
Barbara B. Prezelin, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Professor (phytoplankton physiology and productivity, regulation of marine photosynthesis, bio-optical modeling)
Raymond C. Smith, Ph.D., Stanford University, Professor (biooptics, remote sensing)
Susan C. Stonich, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Professor (human dimensions of global environmental change, coastal zone development, especially aquaculture and tourism, Latin America and Asia)
Robert K. Trench, Ph.D., UC Los Angeles, Professor (coral reef biology; biochemistry, physiology, and phylogenetics of symbiosis)
Robert R. Warner, Ph.D., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Professor (evolutionary ecology and population biology; ecology and behavior of coral reef fishes) 
Oran Young, Ph.D., Yale University, Professor (environmental institutions/regimes, fisheries management, protection of marine mammals, offshore oil and gas development, compliance and enforcement, impacts on coastal communities and polar regions)

In addition to the regular faculty, the following researchers work with the Marine Science Program:
Carol Blanchette, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Jennifer Caselle, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Jenifer Dugan, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Kevin Lafferty, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Milton Love, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute) 
Stéphane Maritorena, Ph.D., (Earth Research Institute)
Robert Miller, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Aileen Morse, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Norman Nelson, Ph.D., (Earth Research Institute) 
Carter Ohlmann, Ph.D., (Earth Research Institute and Marine Science Institute)
Gail Osherenko, J.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Uta Passow, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Langdon Quetin, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute) 
Dan Reed, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute) 
Leonel Romero, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)
Robin Ross-Quetin, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute) 
Rachel Simons, Ph.D., (Marine Science Institute)