USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies

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The USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies (WIES) is an environmental research and education facility run by the University of Southern California. It is an organized research unit that encompasses a wide range of faculty and topics across the university as well as operating a marine laboratory at the edge of Two Harbors, California on Catalina Island approximately 22 miles (35 km) south-southwest of Los Angeles.

The USC Wrigley Institute has specialized programs in environmental microbiology, geobiology, ocean biogeochemistry, living marine resources (including fisheries and aquaculture), climate change, coastal environmental quality and the urban ocean. The Institute is also home to the USC Sea Grant Program, part of the National Sea Grant Program through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The mission of the Wrigley Institute is to encourage responsible and creative decisions in society by providing an objective source of environmental science, and to foster an understanding of the natural world among people of all ages. The faculty conduct academic research that is both good basic science and directly relevant to the needs of society. The Institute operates a "K-gray" educational program with extensive outreach into the major student populations of greater Los Angeles. It also creates real linkages between the academic scholarship and decision-making in society.

The Catalina Island facility centers around the Philip K. Wrigley Marine Science Center (WMSC). This 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus on Catalina Island includes, a 30,000-square-foot (3,000 m2) laboratory building, a dormitory and cottage-style housing, a cafeteria, a hyperbaric chamber, and a large waterfront staging area complete with dock, pier, helipad, moorings, boats and diving lockers. The Institute lies adjacent to Big Fisherman's Cove, a no-take protected refuge.[1] In addition to facilities for researchers and graduate students, the campus is home of USC's Catalina Semester, a 15-week intensive program in marine and environmental studies, as well as educational programs for pre-college students, families, executives and senior citizens. It is one of a handful of marine laboratories in the United States that is specifically open to students and faculty from other institutions.

USC opened its first facility on the island in 1965 after a grant of more than 14 acres (57,000 m2) of land to USC by the Wrigley family. The Science Center is named after Philip K. Wrigley, the son of the founder of the famous gum company. The Wrigley Institute was founded in 1995 after a donation by William and Julie Wrigley.

In the summer 2007, USC began work on installing six pre-built 48-ton, 1,200-square-foot (110 m2) Tuscan-style houses to the island to house prominent scientists and corporate executives so they would not be placed in the standard dormitories.[2] The homes would add over 20 rooms, and transportation to the remote campus involved both barges to transport them across the 22-mile (35 km) ocean channel and heavy cranes to pull the houses up the hill to their final location.[2]

USC provides regular semi-weekly boat transportation to the facility from the Southern California Marine Institute on Terminal Island.[3]


  1. ^ Protect Our Oceans, Description of Big Fisherman's Cove MPA status.
  2. ^ a b Louis Sahagun, Homes readied to set sail, Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2007.
  3. ^ Transportation Information, WMSC Site.

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Coordinates: 33°26′41″N 118°28′57″W / 33.444686°N 118.482383°W / 33.444686; -118.482383