Research and Teaching Facilities

The Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island is a fully equipped research and education facility with a 30,000 square-foot laboratory building, a high-volume seawater system, a well-equipped waterfront, and housing and dining. The center offers researchers and educators access to the following facilities:

  • Research laboratories are available and can accommodate up to 16 researchers each. Each lab has freshwater sinks and seawater aquaria.
  • A computer lab for teaching and research, and a T1 Internet connection through a fiber-optic link to the main USC campus.
  • Two teaching laboratories are available: a large lab that accommodate up to 36 students and a small lab that accommodates 20. Each lab has freshwater sinks and seawater aquaria.
  • Stockroom equipped with basic glassware, chemicals, small lab equipment and a freezer.
  • Machine shop with tools and large equipment for repair or fabrication.
  • Lecture hall with 85 seats and Internet connections, projection monitors and audiovisual equipment.

The labs have access to an unlimited volume of clean, high quality seawater for aquaria. The seawater is drawn directly from the Pacific Ocean and filtered through a macro-screen that covers an underwater intake. The water is not treated, so it's safe from ionic or chemical contamination. The labs can draw seawater from the storage tank at a rate of 95 gallons per minute, and the water temperature is rarely more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit above the ambient ocean temperature.

The labs are close to a variety of near-shore and open water environments so they're ideally situated for marine research. Much of Big Fisherman's Cove is a marine life refuge: it has soft sediment, bedrock and boulder intertidal habitats, and subtidal kelp forest habitats, and a wide range of algae, invertebrates, fish and plankton live there. Deep water is accessible within a short distance from shore.