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The Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies

Santa Monica Bay is a large urban water body that supports diverse and valuable natural resources as well as the economic and recreational needs of millions of Southern California residents and visitors. The interaction of a large urban population with the sensitive resources of the Bay and its watershed provides a unique opportunity for the study of natural systems in an urban environment.

The Center for Santa Monica Bay Studies (Center), established in 2008, is a joint program of the Seaver College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University and The Bay Foundation.  The mission of the Center is to engage in multidisciplinary research on environmental and social issues affecting Santa Monica Bay and its watersheds, and to contribute to policies and actions that improve the environmental conditions of the Bay and surrounding urban areas.  The Center is a joint program of the two institutions, whose collaborative efforts provide a regional organizing body connecting research across disciplines, as well as a forum for the dissemination and discussion of results, and an opportunity for active student participation and involvement through hands-on learning experiences.
The Center’s accomplishments include applied research studies, student internships, an annual symposium to present Bay related research, and publishing Urban Coast, a peer-reviewed science and policy journal focused on urban coastal issues.  From 2009 to 2013, over 150 people participated in the Center’s internship program, completing over 10,000 volunteer hours across many projects!  Undergraduate and graduate students completed 60 units of credit across 54 participating universities (including the Los Angeles area, state, national, and international universities).

The Center is actively conducting research at the nearby Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve, Malibu Lagoon, in the coastal ocean, on campus, and at other locations throughout the watershed.  To get involved, email Rod Abbott:

For more information, please visit The Bay Foundation’s website: