Dr. Adam Martiny was the Director of UCI OCEANS and an associate professor of earth system science and ecology & evolutionary biology.


Director: Dr. Adam Martiny
Initiative Funding Period: July 2015 – June 2018

The Problem: Oceans are important for the Earth System, but are vulnerable to human impacts such as climate change, overfishing, and pollution.

UCI OCEANS was created to tackle pressing marine and on-shore environmental concerns and investigating questions at both global and local scales. This Initiative offered a fresh take on ocean research and education by embracing a vision and approach that spanned the natural sciences, engineering, social science, arts, education, law, and governance. 

Initiative Accomplishments

The UCI Academic Initiative program seeks to unravel some of the world’s most challenging problems through cross-discipline collaboration.

Twenty-nine faculty from eight schools were part of this Initiative. Below are some program highlights.

UCI OCEANS was deeply involved in improving UCI’s ocean research infrastructure, including:

  • A new nutrient analysis facility (Matthew Bracken, EEB)
  • An upgraded flow-cytometry facility to count bacteria and phytoplankton (Adam Martiny, ESS and EEB). This facility was originally funded by a NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant but we used funds to upgrade one of the instruments.
  •  A new microscopy facility with optical-tweezer capabilities (Kate Mackey, ESS – funded by NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant)
  • Initial steps in developing a partnership with CalTech to retrofit and renovate the Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory (KML) in Corona del Mar

The formation of UCI OCEANS enabled many new research collaborations and associated research grants (and many more grant proposals) within UCI. A few examples include:

  • Improving Marine Biogeochemistry-Climate Feedbacks in ACME (DOE)
  • Regional variation of phytoplankton diversity and biogeochemical functioning in the subtropical Indian Ocean (NSF).
  • Effects of multiple aspects of climate change on marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (NSF)
  • Cycling of dissolved organic matter in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans using radiocarbon (NSF)
  • Amylase genetics and biochemistry underlie a digestive specialization in prickleback fishes (NSF)
  • Context-dependency of top-down vs. bottom-up effects of herbivores on marine primary producers (NSF)

Undergraduate Education

UCI OCEANS has supported the development of several new undergraduate classes, including:

  • Marine Biology (Bio/EEB)
  • Aquatic Field Methods (PhySci/ESS)
  • Hurricanes, Tsunamis and Other Catastrophes (PhySci/ESS)
  • Marine Ecosystems and Global Change (PhySci/ESS)

Graduate Student Research and Education

UCI OCEANS created a graduate student fellowship program to support oceans-related research. In total, the initiative awarded 18 fellowships to a diverse group of students across many research disciplines.

In addition, UCI OCEANS helped to establish the Ridge-to-Reef graduate training program. The program will  create a training model for community-engaged graduate training through partnerships with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

A core objective of the Initiative was to act as an interface between UCI and ocean-related organizations, stakeholders, and the public in Orange County. This was achieved through a series of activities including large meetings at UCI, hosting annual workshops, participation in local government meetings, and generally being very active in local communities. Visit oceans.uci.edu for more information.