The USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies brings together all of the marine and environmental sciences at the University of Southern California, and its crown jewel is a unique marine lab on Catalina Island, the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center. Some of our programs are entirely focused on the mainland campus of USC, some are focused on the Catalina Island marine lab, and many use both locations.

The Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island supports research throughout the year. The labs are busy, particularly from May through September, and we recommend that you apply for research space at least five months in advance.

To conduct research at the Wrigley Marine Science Center, click here.


“I’ve been working out at the Wrigley Marine Science Center for 25 years now and have found it to be one of the best marine labs in the country. The staff are unbelievably helpful and friendly, and the facilities (e.g., dive locker, small boats) are perfect for the types of research I do. They’ve made it easy to get out there and have great housing accommodations, especially if you need to be in the field at all hours of the day (or night)!”
—Dr. Chis Lowe, California State University, Long Beach
"I have been conducting experiments on living planktonic foraminifera at the Wrigley Marine Science Center for over 30 years because it is a unique facility with easy access to open ocean environments. The laboratory staff has provided us with excellent support and the diving and boating infrastructure has been very dependable. As a result, we have been able to dive for organisms on a regular basis and conduct research continuously during our field seasons. This excellent support combination has allowed us to complete a wide range of experiments that has produced 36 publications in refereed journals and edited books."
—Dr. Howard Spero, University of California, Davis
“Textbooks and reference manuals take students only so far – to really get to know the processes of interest and learn, first hand, how to use the technologies needed to measure various attributes of the environment, one needs a challenging field environment in an inspiring place and better still with a comfortable bed and three meals per day. The Wrigley Marine Science Center offers all these things for those interested in both marine and terrestrial environments and the week-long field excursion that is part of our spatial data acquisition is consistently viewed by faculty and students alike as one of the highlights of our Geographic Information Science & Technology Graduate Programs.”
—Dr. John P. Wilson, University of Southern California
"We have been coming to WMSC for many years now to do experiments with planktic foraminifera. Its location on the lee side of the island is ideal because it’s easy to reach deep, open ocean waters within minutes using a small boat, collect organisms, and get them back to the laboratory quickly. Furthermore, the housing, laboratory, computer, and waterfront facilities at WMSC are top-notch, and the staff are always extremely helpful in accommodating our needs, even in the midst of the always hectic summer field  season. We’ve also benefited from interacting with other scientists visiting WMSC to do other experiments or to participate in workshops. The environment, facilities, and staff together have contributed significantly over the years to the success of our research."
—Dr. Ann Russell, University of California, Davis