AltaSea Urban Marine Research Center

Focus Areas > Maritime Affairs > AltaSea Urban Marine Research Center

In late 2007, the Port of Los Angeles approached the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI), a marine laboratory shared by a consortium of (at that time) 10 southern California universities including USC and proposed moving the lab from an isolated location in the Port to a more accessible and much larger facility. In 2008, the Port and the Annenberg Foundation sponsored a grant to USC Sea Grant (James Fawcett) to research and write a "visioning study" for an envisioned new laboratory. After extensive interviews with marine researchers to define the needs of an expanded laboratory, Dr. Fawcett began a series of outreach meetings with the communities surrounding the ports, other non-SCMI educational institutions and the general public to seek comments on the study. Later, the study was presented to the Los Angeles Harbor Commission and work began on developing both the institutional and financial support for the project. Dr. Fawcett has now been involved in bringing this project to life for almost four years. Working with the Executive Director of SCMI, his board of directors, USC faculty and administrators and administrators of the other partner institutions (UCLA and a nith California State University campus have now joined SCMI as members), he continues to be a liaison between USC, the Port of Los Angeles and the other parties. This is an important development project for the marine science community in the Los Angeles region and Dr. Fawcett's skills both in marine policy and experience in the project development process will continue as the project moves ahead.  As a result of his work, a new non-profit corporation, AltaSea, has been formed to administer the 34 acre waterside site in the Port and to develop marine research and R&D facilities there.  Work is now proceeding on design of the SCMI Laboratory, the first phase of the AltaSea Project.  


Related Research
  • Fawcett, J.A. (2009). City Dock #1, Marine Research Institute Opportunity Site: Visioning Study. Study prepared for the Port of Los Angeles and the Annenberg Foundation. Los Angeles: Southern California Marine Institute
National Focus Area

Sustainable Coastal Development

For More Information

Dr. James Fawcett | 213.740.4477

  • USC Sea Grant
  • 3454 Trousdale Pkwy, CAS 200
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
  • (213) 740 - 1961