About Us

View of the Ocean from the OCTOS building
Science. Education. Innovation.

OCTOS is a state-of-the-art science education facility that brings together the innovative resources and educational programs of two renowned institutions: the Marine Science Institute (MSI) at UC Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS).

MSI’s ideal location draws on the extremely rich and diverse ecosystem that is the Santa Barbara Channel. The impact of MSI research extends far beyond our local waters to address scientific issues affecting the ocean around the world; from studies of climate impact on marine ecosystems in the frigid waters around Antarctica to research on coral reefs in the tropical Pacific.

The Marine Science Institute at UCSB ranks in the top five in the nation as a leader in ocean and environmental education and research. Established in 1969, in the aftermath of the first major oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel, MSI is a recognized leader in marine science, policy and conservation. Recognizing the relationships between multiple disciplines, the Institute’s works integrates professional researchers and marine faculty from fifteen different academic departments across the UCSB campus; including education.

Educational outreach is a key ingredient in MSI’s mission and vision. Since its beginning, MSI programs have engaged K-12 students from all over the state in the excitement of scientific discovery. The Marine Science Institute provides science education to over 20,000 K-12 students and the general public annually

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1980, and encompasses almost 1,500 square miles of ocean wilderness off the coast of Southern California. Extending six nautical miles around Santa Barbara, Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel islands, the sanctuary protects important species, habitats and maritime heritage resources, while balancing compatible commercial and recreational activities. Through research, education, conservation and stewardship, the sanctuary enhances public awareness about the value of taking care of our ocean today and for future generations. The Sanctuary provides a wealth of educational expertise including professional development for teachers and field experiences for students as well as data sets, images and video resources that will be part of OCTOS exhibits.

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