By Julia Davenport
The USGS Monterey Bay liaison office at UCSC is becoming an integral
component of the campus. USGS has a cooperative agreement with IMS
that provides graduate student support, computer facilities, and, most
importantly, daily interactions between USGS scientists and UCSC faculty
"Our emphasis is on developing an integrative research program with
faculty and students based on applied aspects of Earth and marine science
research," says Mike Field, senior USGS marine geologist.
"The collaboration has been absolutely fabulous," says Curt Storlazzi,
a third year Ph.D. student whose primary advisor is Gary Griggs.
Storlazzi and six other graduate students work closely with Field, Bruce
Jaffe, and Bruce Richmond. The three USGS scientists at UCSC specialize
in areas of marine sedimentation and stratigraphy, coastal marine processes
and hazards, and geologic processes in coral reefs and fragile marine
"As with any collaboration, it only works as well as a function of who's
involved and the enthusiasm they bring," says Storlazzi. "I couldn't be
working with a better group." Storlazzi says Field, Jaffe, and
Richmond contribute to general research efforts above and beyond what any USGS
researcher would be expected to. "I wouldn't be anywhere near as far as
I am if it hadn't been for the co-op."
Essential to the successful merging of minds is the Coastal Geology
Imaging Lab (CGIL) funded in part by the USGS and developed several years
ago in Griggs' lab. The lab with its computerized processing equipment
is a beehive of activity. "It attracts folks who are constantly learning
and teaching each other," says Field.
"USGS needs people to do the work, and graduate students need the
mentorship, funds, and field projects to gain experience," says Storlazzi.
"They give us opportunities, instruments, boats, survey equipment, etc.
It's a great symbiotic relationship."
USGS scientists also work with students of Casey Moore, professor of
Earth sciences, and Don Potts, professor of biology. The USGS office
at UCSC includes three Ph.D.s, one researcher, and five contract employees.
UCSC students and faculty also have access to scientists, facilities, and
equipment at the main USGS office in Menlo Park.
When government and academic institutions pool resources, the combination
of expertise and shared lab and field equipment makes new areas of
research possible. And, graduate students have open access to the USGS
scientists, who sit on committees, act as advisors, share data, and provide
internships. Students learn what goes on in a federal agency that combines
academic and applied research.
"One direction I see us headed is the geology of fishery habitats. With
the interest and pressures on fishing grounds, we need better maps," says
Field. "Gary and I have spent years working on these types of
collaborations, and we have been building them one brick at a time," he continues.
"We have a pretty good foundation now."