UC Santa Cruz to dedicate new Coastal Biology building on October 21

The newest building on UCSC's vibrant Coastal Science Campus is now home to the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Coastal Biology building
The new Coastal Biology building on the Coastal Science Campus houses the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. (Photos by C. Lagattuta)
Coastal Biology building
Younger Lagoon
Younger Lagoon Reserve occupies 72 acres of the 100-acre Coastal Science Campus, set aside for preservation and restoration of sensitive habitat and providing opportunities for teaching and research. (Photo by C. Lagattuta)

The dedication of the new Coastal Biology building at the UC Santa Cruz Coastal Science Campus will take place on Saturday, October 21, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tours of the building and the campus. The public is invited to these events, which are part of UCSC's 2017 Founders Celebration.

The Coastal Biology building now houses the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), which had been split between two locations for many years, with marine scientists in the Ocean Health building on the Coastal Science Campus and the rest of the department located on the main UCSC campus. Spirits are high now that people are settling into the new building after the stress of moving their offices and labs over the summer, said EEB professor and department chair Ingrid Parker.

"The building itself is beautiful, and it's been a huge lift now that we're in it," Parker said. "Our department is renowned for its deep commitment to linkages across disciplines, and that includes the links between land and sea, so I'm really excited to have us all together again."

Designed by the San Francisco architecture firm EHDD, the two-story building includes labs, offices, meeting spaces, and a 125-seat seminar room that opens up to a courtyard. "The architecture includes a lot of neat details," Parker said. "The natural light inside is beautiful, and there are special touches that make it feel like it was designed for us as field biologists and people who love nature."

Across the road from the main building are new greenhouses for research and habitat restoration. Related projects have also come together at the same time, creating new opportunities for teaching and research at the Coastal Science Campus, said Peter Raimondi, professor of EEB and director of the Institute of Marine Sciences.

"It's really state-of-the-art, not only the new building itself, but the location is ideal for conveying science to students because we can so easily take them into the field, and with all of the co-located research labs, there are all kinds of great opportunities for the students," Raimondi said.

Other facilities

In addition to the Coastal Biology building, Long Marine Laboratory, and the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, the Coastal Science Campus is also home to a NOAA fisheries science laboratory, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife marine wildlife center, and Younger Lagoon Reserve, where 72 acres of the 100-acre campus are set aside for environmental restoration and preservation of sensitive habitat.

The Coastal Biology building was the first major construction project to be carried out under UCSC's Coastal Long Range Development Plan (CLRDP), approved by the California Coastal Commission in 2009. The project included major infrastructure upgrades for the entire Coastal Science Campus, including new paths for walking and biking, overlooks with interpretive panels, and a small public access parking lot.

Younger Lagoon Reserve, part of the UC Natural Reserve System, was established in 1986 as a 25-acre reserve of lagoon, beach, marsh, and coastal bluff habitat adjacent to Long Marine Laboratory. In 1999, UCSC purchased from Wells Fargo Bank approximately 55 acres of the upland terrace next to Long Marine Lab, of which 47 acres were added to Younger Lagoon Reserve. The developable area where the Coastal Biology building sits has been named the Wells Fargo Coastal Science Research Center.

The expansion and renovation of the marine vertebrate facilities at Long Marine Laboratory was also recently completed, providing larger pools and upgraded facilities. The new Coastal Biology building has opened up space in the marine lab's Ocean Health building to house new programs, such as the graduate program in Coastal Science and Policy. The habitat restoration work on the expanded reserve is also creating new opportunities for students and researchers, Raimondi said.

"The restoration work has been great, and now that the construction work is done and the public access trails are open, we're seeing a lot of people from the community enjoying the site and the coastal access," he said.

Information and registration for Founders Celebration events is available online at specialevents.ucsc.edu/founders. To register for the Coastal Biology building ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour only, select "Free - Convocation of Chairs/Coastal Biology Building Opening" under the "Weekend Event Options" drop-down menu. For more information, contact UC Santa Cruz Special Events at (831) 459–5003 or specialevents@ucsc.edu.