CSU Marine Biology Catalina Semester

Marine Biology Semester
Santa Catalina Island
FALL 2018
27 August 2018 – 7 December 2018
(Thanksgiving Break November 22nd – 25th )

We are currently accepting applications for the Fall 2018 Semester!!


This semester-long program provides an intensive undergraduate exposure to marine biology, and is designed for students with a serious commitment to environmental and marine science. The 15 week program is based at the Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC), situated on Santa Catalina Island, 26 miles from Los Angeles, CA. This location provides access to beautiful, pristine marine habitats, diverse marine life and breathtaking island views. WMSC is owned and operated by the University of Southern California (USC), and the program is being offered through the California State Universities, affiliated with the Ocean Studies Institute (OSI) and the Southern California Marine Institute (SCMI).

Throughout the semester, students are introduced to a sequence of courses (Fall 2018: Marine Phycology, Invertebrate Zoology, and Ecology of Marine Fishes) that prepare them to complete a directed research study in a topic of their choice. All courses provide a strong element of hands-on field experience, which provides the comprehensive training that can help in career choices and graduate decisions. Before the semester begins, a two-week AAUS SCUBA certification course is available at an additional cost for qualified students who wish to dive on SCUBA during the semester. However, only snorkeling skills are required for class participation. Please note: these courses will occupy daytime and in many cases, evening hours, including some weekends.

CSU Marine Biology Catalina Semester Fall 2018 Brochure

Application Materials

  • Completed Catalina Semester Application, available here
  • College or university transcripts
  • Letter of recommendation from faculty member
  • $50 application fee payable to USC/SCMI. This fee is non-refundable.

Qualified students are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The CSU Marine Biology Semester is an Upper division program that is designed for students who have completed their lower division coursework in Biology. For Fall 2018, after screening by the CSUN faculty, registration will be through California State University Northridge (CSUN). CSUN students will register directly through that campus. Other CSU students will need to fill out the Intrasystem Visitor Enrollment form, which will enable registration through CSUN. Units may then be transferred to the appropriate campus. Non-CSU students will need to register through CSUN’s Open University Program.

Application and additional information can be obtained by contacting:

CSU Marine Biology Semester at Catalina
Ocean Studies Institute
820 S. Seaside Ave
Terminal Island, CA 90731-7330



Projected Costs*


All Costs for Fall 18′ are subject to change based on yearly tuition rates. CSU Students who are non-CA residents are subject to CSU Out-of-State tuition fees. Two round-trip passages to the island are included (at the start and end of the semester, and over Thanksgiving). There will be additional costs for books, dissecting equipment, library privileges and personal field equipment.



CSULB Courses: Fall 2018
(Upper Division)

Marine Phycology
(Biol 404/L; 492Y: 4 units)

Dates: October 22, 2018 – November 16, 2018

This course covers the taxonomy, morphology, physiology, and ecology of the major algal groups.

Instructor:  Dr. Robert Carpenter

Invertebrate Zoology
(Biol 313/L; 392B: 4 units)

Dates: September 24, 2018 – October 19, 2018

This course provides a classical over-view of marine invertebrate diversity, structure and function through a combination of lecture, lab and field experiences.

Instructors: Dr. Peter Edmunds

Ecology of Marine Fishes
(Biol 434/L; 492Q: 4 units)

Dates: August 27, 2018 – September 21, 2018

A course covering species assemblages, general ecology, and behavioral ecology of the marine fishes of Catalina Island and the surrounding waters.

Instructor: Dr. Larry Allen & Dr. Mark Steele

Directed Undergraduate Research
(Biol 490/495: 1, 3 units)

Dates: November 19, 2018 – December 7, 2018

Students develop their ideas during the first 12 weeks of the semester, prepare a research proposal, complete their studies, and present their findings in a mini-symposium and a report.

Instructors: Dr. Larry Allen, Dr. Mark Steele, Dr. Peter Edmunds, and Dr. Robert Carpenter


Instructors – Fall 2018

Dr. Larry Allen (Ecology of Marine Fishes) Dr. Allen received his Ph.D. in 1980 from the University of Southern California and has been on the faculty at CSUN since 1982. His research has focused on the biogeography and ecology of California coastal marine fishes.




Dr. Mark Steele (Ecology of Marine Fishes) Dr. Steele received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1995 and has been on the faculty of CSUN since 2006. His research focuses on the population and community ecology of temperate and tropical reef fishes and estuarine fishes.





Dr. Peter Edmunds (Invertebrate Zoology) received his Ph.D. in 1986 from University of Glasgow and has been on the faculty at CSUN since 1992. His research focuses on the physiological ecology of temperate and tropical reef invertebrates and corals.




Dr. Robert Carpenter (Marine Phycology) Dr. Carpenter received his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Georgia in 1984 and has maintained research interests in coral reef algal communities, herbivore-algal interactions, and how the physical environment influences the structure and function of shallow-water communities. He and his students have studied the physiological ecology of algae that live in the kelp understory environment.