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    Isolated Marine Biology Lab Once Sewage Disposal Unit

    By Illani Atwater, El Gaucho, December 11, 1959

    Always left to the “marines,” UCSB’s loneliest building on the southeast corner of campus is presently occupied by the Sea-Marine biology lab but once was the site of a Marine Corps. sewage disposal plant. “We’ve just reversed the flow,” noted Dr. Davenport, Biological Sciences department head.

    Emphasis in the lab is on research, but classes in invertebrate zoology are taught there during the fall by Dr. Davenport and Dr. Connell. In the spring the building is used for research only.

    Research Done

    At the present time there are 7 faculty members doing research at the lab. Dr. Cushing, department chairman, is working on blood groups in whales and fishes. Dr. Davenport is studying the behaviour of marine animals and Dr. Connell is working with the biology of barnacles. Dr. Triplett is doing research in the embryology of surf perches. These men are supported in their research by contracts with the Office of Naval Research.

    A national Science Foundation Institute in the Marine sciences was offered for the first time last summer during the summer session. The course was open to High School, J.C. and College students. There were 36 registrants from all parts of the U.S. including Alaska and Hawaii. The institute will be repeated again next summer.

    Vice Chancellor Noble is working on a grant from National Science Foundation studying the parasites of fishes. Cell Physiology of the invertebrate animals is the subject of study by Dr. Laris. Dr. Shirley Sparling is persuing the life history of red algae. These faculty members are working with the help of their lab assistants and the biology “199” students.

    “The building is popping out at its seams,” comments Dr. Davenport. The lab has adequate research space for two. Presently the lab contains one small teaching lab for twelve, an aquarium room, an office-research combination for two, and a stock shed.

    The water intake system works on the Venturi principle — the water is drawn out of the ocean like perfume from an atomizer, the ocean being the bottle.

    The hoped-for new building will contain two 24-student labs and two 16-student labs, 12 office-research combinations, a cold room, a dark room, aquarium room, stock room and equipment and receiving room for the storage of boats and dredges.

    “In the face of the pressures of an expanding campus it’s difficult to give such a replacement high priority,” said Dr. Davenport. “We therefore hope to obtain help from the National Science Foundation or from private funds.”

    Field Trips

    Students make three local field trips during the fall. One is to Devereux point, one to Carpinteria Reef and one to the harbor. There is usually an annual overnight trip to Morro Bay and the reefs south of Morro Bay.

    Surf perches presently fill the aquarium room. It is with these fishes that Dr. Triplett is experimenting. The adult surf perch is about 3 inches long and belongs to a unique group of viviparous fishes.

    Dr. Triplett is experimenting with grafting tissues from one type of fish to another. He has discovered that the adult fish will reject tissues such as scales when they are grafted on.


    When Dr. Triplett removed the embryo from a fish by putting it into a medium which he concocted himself he kept it alive. He grafted a scale on the young fish and found that it was not rejected.

    By repeating these experiments several times, Dr. Triplett has concluded that tissues can be grafted on a surf perch in embryonic stages but not in the adult stages.

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