Top down view of bright green strands of seagrass in a tank of water

About Us

The Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute

California's Coastal Treasures

The coastal regions of California are home to almost 70% of California’s population and thousands of resident and migratory species of plants and animals. Our coasts are a major driver of the state’s economy, generating $787 billion in annual wages and $2 trillion of gross domestic product.

As a cultural resource, our coastal ocean also provides a vital sense of place to the state’s diverse population. At the same time, changing conditions wrought by climate change, land-use modifications, global economic forces and natural resource extraction are challenging old models of sustainable coastal management. 

A map of California in watercolor shades of green, with blue accents in the ocean and indicating Lake Tahoe, and brown shades indicating the Sierras. Map markers indicate the location of Bodega Marine Laboratory and Reserve on the coast, plus UC Davis main campus and UC Davis Health inland, and Tahoe Environmental Research Center on the state line bordering Nevada
Our Approach

Meeting these challenges with knowledge requires cross-disciplinary collaboration across the full spectrum of the natural and social sciences. To design robust and equitable solutions, the scientific community must build alliances with the decision-makers and stakeholders who are vested in the sustainable use of our coastal and ocean resources.

Why UC Davis?

The UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute (CMSI) is uniquely positioned to foster these solutions.  Our world-class research and educational facilities on the coast of northern California, Bodega Marine Laboratory and the Bodega Marine Reserve, lie at the epicenter of one of the most productive and economically valuable marine ecosystems in the world.  Our proximity to Sacramento, the decision-making hub of the state, allows us to engage a diverse group of policymakers and stakeholders locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. As an institution, UC Davis has distinguished research centers that link the key iconic features from California's Sierra Nevada, central valley, the San Francisco Bay watershed and the coastal ocean.

The Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute and Bodega Marine Laboratory honor and uphold the UC Davis Principles of Community.


Our Mission and Goals

CMSI's mission is to serve our society by:

A downward view of the entrance to Storer Hall. The front of the building has glass doors and large glass windows, with linoleum flooring and rugs at the entrances. Three students are visible walking in and out of the doors and above them hangs the skeleton of a beaked whale.
Students enter Storer Hall, the on-campus home of the UC Davis Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute. Photo by Gregory Urquiaga
  • Advancing collaborative, use-inspired cross-disciplinary research on the most pressing challenges in the sustainability of coastal ocean systems.
  • Supporting science-informed management of coastal and ocean resources through proactive, two-way dialogue with decision-makers.
  • Training diverse and creative innovators in coastal and marine science and policy who are prepared to meet the evolving environmental, economic and social challenges and opportunities of our time.

Learn more about our goals and plans for the next five years in CMSI's 2020-2025 Strategic Plan:

Our Strategic Plan


Explore how we're turning our goals into actions: