A view of Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2011, taken from the Birch Aquarium.
Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (sometimes referred to as SIO, Scripps Oceanography, or Scripps) in La Jolla, California, founded in 1903, is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and Earth science research, public service, undergraduate and graduate training in the world. Hundreds of ocean and Earth scientists conduct research with the aid of oceanographic research vessels and shorebased laboratories. Its Old Scripps Building is a U.S. National Historic Landmark. SIO is a division of the University of California San Diego (UCSD). The public explorations center of the institution is the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. Since becoming part of the University of California in 1912, the institution has expanded its scope to include studies of the physics, chemistry, geology, biology, and climate of Earth.
Dr. Margaret Leinen took office as Vice Chancellor for Marine Sciences, Director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and Dean of the Graduate School of Marine Sciences on October 1, 2013.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography was founded in 1903 as the Marine Biological Association of San Diego, an independent biological research laboratory. It was proposed and incorporated by a committee of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, led by local activist and amateur malacologistFred Baker, together with two colleagues. He recruited University of CaliforniaZoology professor William Emerson Ritter to head up the proposed marine biology institution, and obtained financial support from local philanthropists E. W. Scripps and his sister Ellen Browning Scripps. They fully funded the institution for its first decade. It began institutional life in the boathouse of the Hotel del Coronado located on San Diego Bay. It re-located in 1905 to the La Jolla area on the head above La Jolla Cove, and finally in 1907 to its present location.
In 1912 Scripps became part of the University of California and was renamed the "Scripps Institution for Biological Research." Since 1916, measurements have been taken daily at its pier. The name was changed to Scripps Institution of Oceanography in October 1925. During the 1960s, led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography director Roger Revelle, it formed the nucleus for the creation of the University of California, San Diego on a bluff overlooking Scripps Institution.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers at sea
The institution's research programs encompass biological, physical, chemical, geological, and geophysical studies of the oceans and earth. Scripps also studies the interaction of the oceans with both the atmospheric climate and environmental concerns on terra firma. Related to this research, Scripps offers undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Today, the Scripps staff of 1,300 includes approximately 235 faculty, 180 other scientists and some 300 graduate students, with an annual budget of more than $195 million.
Birch Aquarium at Scripps, with the Village of La Jolla in the background
Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public exploration center for the institution, features a Hall of Fishes with more than 60 tanks of Pacific fishes and invertebrates from the cold waters of the Pacific Northwest to the tropical waters of Mexico and the IndoPacific, a 13,000-gallon local shark and ray exhibit, interactive tide pools, and interactive science exhibits.
In 2014, the institution and its Keeling Curve measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were featured as a plot point in an episode of HBO's The Newsroom.
In 2008, Scripps Institution of Oceanography was the subject of a category on the TV game show Jeopardy!. Scripps has been a story element in numerous fictional works.
^SIO Timeline, from SIO Archives, UCSD online collection. Shor, E., Scripps in the 1950s: A Decade of Bluewater Oceanography, Journal of San Diego History, v29:4, 1983. Shor, E., SIO: Probing the oceans 1936-1976, Tofua Press, San Diego, 1978.