Inaugural Economic and Social Impact Report Shows SJSU Contributes $4.1 Billion to California Economy

As the most transformative university in the nation, San José State’s impact on the lives of its students, faculty, staff and alumni is apparent in a multitude of ways. Thanks to a new economic and social impact report conducted by Beacon Economics using 2018-2019 fiscal year data, SJSU’s contribution to the state of California is quantifiable — generating more than $4.1 billion in total economic output for the Golden State. 

As the only public university in the Silicon Valley — a haven for investment in global innovation, entrepreneurship, and cutting-edge technology — SJSU’s return on investment is transformative for the city of San José, the region and the state. For every dollar in state funding, SJSU generates $24 in economic output in California. 

“This report highlights the tremendous value our campus brings to our communities and neighborhoods,” said President Mary A. Papazian. “Our local businesses thrive, our arts districts crackle and our civic pride swells, all due to the tens of thousands of students, staff, faculty members and other university supporters and stakeholders who populate and visit our campus.”

The report shows Spartan pride is present throughout the state, with SJSU supporting 25,462 jobs in California. A little more than 52 percent of those jobs are in the Bay Area — meaning SJSU generates employment opportunities that support the region while also maintaining and expanding existing jobs at other companies through SJSU-related spending. Overall, SJSU generates $2.4 billion in economic output for the Bay Area.

It’s not all about the money

SJSU’s impact is much more than just dollars and cents. SJSU’s true value, a direct reflection of the university’s mission to help students achieve their higher education goals in pursuit of a career, is showcased throughout the 84-page report. 

The university’s student population is 83 percent people of color and 42 percent first generation. As a top seven public school in the West, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 rankings, underrepresented students are gaining access to a world-class California State University (CSU) education at an affordable rate. This leads to upward social mobility, the foundation of the #1 Most Transformative University ranking by Money magazine.

“With a degree from a university located in the heart of innovation and creativity, students are laying the foundation for generations of their families and communities to not only have their voice be heard but also be the leading voice in important conversations in our world,” said Vincent Del Casino, Jr., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Beacon’s report says, on average, SJSU undergraduates graduate with $15,720 in student debt, less than half the average debt of California college graduates ($34,861). In turn, SJSU graduates are recruited by the world’s most influential companies, some of which are in Silicon Valley.

“SJSU’s alumni demonstrate that spending tens of thousands of dollars more on education is not necessary to achieve success or to work for competitive companies,” writes Beacon in their report. 

“SJSU’s College of Engineering provides more entry-level engineers to Silicon Valley’s Cisco Systems and Apple than any other university, and SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business is the largest provider of business graduates to Silicon Valley.”

Local impact is global impact

Undergraduates are also well equipped with research experience as early as their first year of college. SJSU is a top 200 research university in the nation in spending, second in the CSU system. Along with pioneering research collaborations, SJSU’s cutting-edge exploration in areas like wildfires and marine science — through the nation’s largest wildfire research center, the Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, respectively — help students begin to transform the world during their time in downtown San Jose. 

“Given the far-reaching nature of Silicon Valley, research done at SJSU on a local level truly has a global impact,” said Mohamed Abousalem, vice president for research and innovation. “Our emphasis on having students participate in research early in their academic careers leads to experience with top-notch faculty that helps prepare them for success once they graduate.”

SJSU’s research, curriculum, and activities are community-centered. Spartans give back in a variety of ways, including:

  • CommUniverCity, which contributed $982,900 worth of community service in one year alone. Since its inception in 2005, CommUniverCity has contributed over $8.4 million in service to the local community, engaging over 115,000 residents directly.
  • Partnerships with the City of San Jose expand arts and cultural resources to city residents through the Hammer Theatre and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.
  • The Center for Development of Recycling provides research and technical support to the Counties of Santa Clara and San Mateo on their recycling programs. Students contributed over $1.7 million in in-kind services to the counties.
  • Giving community members a second chance at building their lives. The Records Clearance Project (RCP) allows Justice Studies students to provide legal assistance to low-income community members. With a 99 percent success rate, RCP has helped residents remove over $120,000 worth of debt and helped dismiss over 1,600 convictions for more than 550 individuals.
  • The Beyond Sparta program. Beyond Sparta engages all student-athletes with the community to not only provide service, but also provide them opportunities to professionally develop their own skills.

Editor’s Note: Beacon Economics’ full report is available on the SJSU Economic and Social Impact Report website.

NOAA Selects Moss Landing Marine Labs For New CIMEAS Institute

A boat on the water with partial view of being underwater with seaweed.

Photo credit: Scott Gabara, ’14 MS Phycology

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has selected San José State University’s Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) to be a founding member of the agency’s new Cooperative Institute for Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Systems (CIMEAS).

The CIMEAS will conduct collaborative, multidisciplinary research on climate, ocean and ecosystems. Its goal is to advance the regional, national, and global understanding of natural and human-caused impacts on our ecosystems and develop sustainable ways to strengthen our environmental and economic well-being.

“Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) is excited to join the new CIMEAS organization because it provides extraordinary opportunities for our students and researchers to collaborate on important marine research and aquaculture issues,” said MLML Director Jim Harvey. “Our graduate students will benefit greatly by collaborating with NOAA scientists and others to investigate relevant oceanographic problems and to gain important skills as they become the leaders and researchers of the future.”

In partnership with NOAA and other agencies, CIMEAS will conduct research in four main areas focusing on the western U.S., California Current System and the Pacific and Southern oceans. The science will support:

  • ecosystem-based management of living marine resources
  • research, development, and technology innovation for global ocean observations and monitoring
  • coastal and oceanic observations, analysis, and prediction
  • weather, water, and climate research

The institute, led by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is comprised of a consortium of graduate degree-granting institutions, including MLML, Humboldt State University, Cal State University Los Angeles, Farallon Institute, University of California Davis, University of California Los Angeles, University of California Santa Barbara, and University of California Santa Cruz.

“MLML and SJSU have an excellent reputation for research and education globally, and MLML students have moved on to different levels of research and management that serve the needs of California and the nation,” said MLML Director Jim Harvey. “There are many pressing issues associated with the oceans and coastlines, and MLML is excited to be joining an Institute that will partner with NOAA to understand and help solve these important problems.”

Editors Note:  To learn more about Moss Landing Marine Labs go to Washington Square Magazine

Kenneth H. Coale

Professor Receives National Honor

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Kenneth H. Coale (courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories)

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Kenneth H. Coale has been Named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Media contacts:
Brynn Kaufman, MLML, 831-771-4401
Kenneth Coale, MLML, 831-771-4406
Kat Zambon, AAAS, 202-326-6434

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor of Marine Biogeochemistry Kenneth H. Coale has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for groundbreaking experiments linking iron to plankton growth, marine production and climate change. Coale is among a select number of California State University faculty members to receive this distinction.

“It is truly an honor for our little institution in Moss Landing to be recognized by such a prominent and respected scientific body,” Coale said.

Coale was elected as an AAAS Fellow for studies of trace element biogeochemistry in marine waters and the response of marine phytoplankton to exogenous iron deposition.  He is a marine biogeochemist who studies the cycles of chemicals in the sea and the natural and anthropogenic processes that influence these cycles.

Climate change research

The professor was the chief scientist/principal investigator on all the U.S.-led open ocean iron fertilization experiments in both the equatorial Pacific and Southern Ocean that have advanced the “Iron Hypothesis” of phytoplankton production and climate forcing.

His research interests include trace element, carbon and nutrient cycling in ocean, coastal and freshwater systems; the application of natural and anthropogenic radionuclides in the study of marine rate processes; the biogeochemical cycling of mercury in aquatic and atmospheric systems, and the transport of mercury from the oceans to terrestrial systems via fog.

Coale serves on the California Ocean Protection Council’s Science Advisory Team and is a trustee for the Ocean Science Trust. In a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Coale and coworkers identified a neurotoxin produced in iron-fertilized open ocean regions.

“This work definitely reveals a wrinkle in plans to use iron fertilization of the oceans as a way to combat global warming,” Coale said. “It is much easier to break an ecosystem than it is to fix one. In light of these findings, we should redouble our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the primary culprit for ocean ecosystem damage worldwide.”

Advancing science

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 401 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting to be held in February in San Jose.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) are the graduate program and research facilities administered by San Jose State University serving seven California State University (CSU) campuses located in Fresno, Stanislaus, Sacramento, San Francisco, Hayward, San Jose and Monterey Bay.  MLML, the second oldest marine lab in the Monterey Bay region, has grown from its humble beginnings in a converted cannery building in 1966, to an internationally renowned program for excellence in all marine science disciplines.

San Jose State — Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees — is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 254 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

Celebration of Research

RF event

Please join us in congratulating the extraordinary achievements of professors Hamilton and Holian, two outstanding members of the San José State University faculty.

Assistant Professor Scott Hamilton from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, College of Science, and Associate Professor Matthew Holian from the Department of Economics, College of Social Sciences, have been chosen to receive the San José State University Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award for 2014.  Their selection has been made at the recommendation of the Early Career Investigator Subcommittee of the Research Foundation Board of Directors.

Please join us in congratulating the extraordinary achievements of professors Hamilton and Holian, two outstanding members of the San José State University faculty. They will be honored at the SJSU Celebration of Research on Monday, November 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Student Union Ballroom. Both professors will present short talks on their research.

The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Award recognizes tenure-track SJSU faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and carrying out other important scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their careers at SJSU. Our two recipients are excellent examples of individuals who have achieved this level of success.

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton

Scott Hamilton has been tremendously productive in his field of study, Ichthyology, and specializes in the ecology of coastal marine fish, their role in nearshore ecosystems, and the response of these ecosystems to environmental change and human impacts. Since joining SJSU in 2011, he has successfully competed for multiple grants, receiving over $165,000 in funding to date. These grants have come from the Regents of the University of California, California Sea Grant, and the Council on Ocean Affairs Science and Technology. He has co-authored two journal articles since arriving at SJSU, bringing his total to 14 publications, including an individual authorship and two conference proceedings. Looking into the life history traits and the reproductive function of the California sheephead, a kelp forest fish, Hamilton is also collaborating on exploring the effects of climate change on the vital kelp forest communities.

Matthew Holian

Matthew Holian

Matthew Holian has demonstrated an outstanding record of research and scholarship, making a name for himself in the field of transportation economics. Since joining SJSU in 2008, he has successfully competed for numerous grants, receiving $350,000 in funding to date. These grants have come from the California Debt and Investment Advisory Committee, the Charles Koch Foundation, along with federal and state sponsored research funding through the Mineta Transportation Institute. Since 2008, he has published nine journal articles, three of which he authored individually; research reports; and a book chapter. Holian’s research studies include Cities, Suburbs, and the Environment in India; Greenhouse Gas Emissions Generated by Urban Transportation and Land Use Patterns; and Integrating Highway and Transit Data into Benefit-Cost Analysis.

The SJSU Research Foundation established two Early Career Investigator Awards in order to encourage participation beyond those colleges where large numbers of faculty have traditionally participated in external funding pursuits. One award goes to a faculty member in the colleges of Science or Engineering and another is made to a faculty member from one of the other colleges. Each awardee will receive a cash award of $1,000 to be used at their discretion.

Faculty Notes: Research, Recognition and Global Impact


Assistant Professor Scott Hamilton will investigate the responses of juvenile rockfish to a marine environment that contains elevated levels of carbon dioxide and reduced levels of oxygen (image courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories).

Assistant Professor Scott Hamilton, Moss Landing Marine Labs, was awarded a multi-year $330,000 National Science Foundation grant to investigate the responses of juvenile rockfish to a marine environment that contains elevated levels of carbon dioxide and reduced levels of oxygen. How well the rockfish adapt will provide key information for fisheries and fishery managers. This research, incorporating both field and laboratory studies, builds on Hamilton’s previous scientific investigations of temperate marine fishes.

School of Social Work Professor Laurie Drabble received funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the rates of alcohol consumption, hazardous drinking patterns and illicit drug use among sexual minority women. One of the aims of the study is to identify individual, community and societal factors that contribute—positively or negatively—to substance use, including such factors as social support and psychological distress. A member of California’s Women’s Health Survey Committee, Drabble also serves as an affiliate associate scientist with the Alcohol Research Group in Berkeley.

Produced and directed by Department of Linguistics and Language Development Professor Rosemary Henze, the documentary “Just a Piece of Cloth” received a Making a Difference Award at the Toronto Community Film Festival in September. The film, featuring Bay Area Muslim women, has also had screenings at UC Berkeley’s Conference on Islamophobia, the Monterey Institute of International Studies and elsewhere.

Department of Sociology Lecturer and Center for Community Learning and Leadership Co-Director Michael Fallon helped organize the 2014 Silicon Valley Neighborhood Development Training Conference. The day-long, annual campus event brings together local neighborhood leaders and veteran community development practitioners to participate in workshops focused on public safety, health and neighborhood improvement. Among this year’s workshop topics: “20 Tips for Growing Healthy Neighborhoods,” “The Future of Transportation in Silicon Valley” and “Supporting and Working with Youth in Our Community.”

School of Information Director Sandra Hirsh co-chaired the fourth annual Library 2.014 Worldwide Virtual Conference, held October 8 and 9. Conducted in multiple languages in multiple time zones over the course of two days, the free online conference provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the issues impacting the information profession from an international perspective. Presentations addressed such timely topics as MOOCs, e-books, mobile services, green libraries and more. Keynote and session recordings are available on the Library 2.0 YouTube channel.

Department of Economics Professor Jeffrey Rogers Hummel was one of a panel of experts asked by, a web-based personal finance resource, to weigh in on the challenge of creating a skilled and educated workforce. The site, which published a list of the most and least educated cities among the largest cities in the United States in 2014, ranked San Jose seventh in a field of 150. Hummel’s suggestion: “The most important step toward developing a more educated and skillful workforce would be to eliminate all federal involvement entirely.”

set up man 300

Writing as T.T. Monday, Professor Taylor spins a tale about a baseball player/private investigator that “succeeds as both a mystery and a baseball novel,” according to Publishers Weekly.

President Mohammad Qayoumi’s appreciation of Afghanistan’s new president, “Ashraf Ghani and Afghanistan’s future,” was posted on the U.S. Congress blog The Hill, a forum for lawmakers and policy professionals. Dr. Ashraf Ghani, Qayoumi’s roommate at the American University of Beirut more than four decades ago, was inaugurated as Afghanistan’s president this month. “If anyone can keep Afghanistan on a road to coherent self government and democracy, it is Ghani.  From his earliest years he has had total clarity of purpose, great vision, and an incandescent passion to serve Afghanistan,” Qayoumi wrote. 

Department of English Associate Professor and Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies Director Nick Taylor discussed his new thriller, “The Setup Man” (Doubleday), at the Menlo Park Civic Center on Oct. 4. Writing as T.T. Monday, Taylor spins a tale about a baseball player/private investigator that “succeeds as both a mystery and a baseball novel,” according to Publishers Weekly. Taylor is the author of two previous historical novels, “The Disagreement” (Simon & Schuster, 2008) and “Father Junípero’s Confessor” (Heyday, 2013).

Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program

Five Reasons to be a Proud Spartan

Five engineering students experienced 15 minutes of zero gravity flight in Houston this summer. The SJSU team’s research proposal, selected by NASA from more than 60 proposals, gave the students the opportunity to design, build, fly and test their experiments aboard an aircraft dubbed the “Weightless Wonder.” And the experience? “Phenomenal, exhilarating, amazing!” students report.

Paul Clerkin

Willing to travel thousands of miles out to sea, graduate student Paul Clerkin discovered eight shark species (Save Our Seas Foundation image).

Featured on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week”: a new species of shark and the Moss Landing Marine Labs master’s degree candidate Paul Clerkin who discovered the animal during a research trip to the Indian Ocean. Included in the program are glimpses of the as-yet-named shark, the size of a watermelon with purple fins and a “venomous, barbed spine.”

How many inspire a Hollywood film? Bob Ladouceur, ’77 Criminal Justice, former head football coach at De La Salle High School, has spent the last several months walking red carpets, being interviewed by “Entertainment Tonight” and attending premieres of When the Game Stands Tall, a film about Coach Ladouceur and De La Salle’s historic 151-game winning streak. Actor Jim Caviezel portrays Ladouceur in the film. 

To become a performer, the late comic genius Robin Williams had to overcome a crippling case of shyness. First step: joining his high school drama club. For his 1997 film Flubber, Williams came to San Jose. Sharp-eyed Spartans will recognize several city and campus locations that made the film’s final cut.

Spartan football alums David Quessenberry (Houston Texans), ’12 History, and James Jones (Oakland Raiders) aren’t acquainted with the word “quit.” Jones, a sociology major who recently returned to the San Jose homeless shelter where he and his mother lived for several months, shared the story of his own escape from poverty with residents. “You’re here, but this isn’t the end,” he assured them. Battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the 6-foot-five, 307-pound Quessenberry is inspired by the support of teammates and fans. “I wake up every day knowing that I have an army behind me,” he said. “It motivates me to fight even harder.”



Santa Cruz Sentinel: San Jose State Researcher’s Never-Seen Sharks Featured on ‘Shark Week’

Posted Aug. 12, 2014 by the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

By Kara Guzman

After 60 days on a commercial fishing boat, 1,000 miles from land, San Jose State researcher Paul Clerkin discovered never-before-seen sharks, which will be featured on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” on Tuesday.

Clerkin, 29, first ventured to the southern Indian Ocean with the fishing crew to catalog their shark bycatch in 2012. In two months, he encountered 23 types of sharks, eight of which were new species.

Clerkin, a master’s student researching at Moss Landing Marine Labs, returned to the boat in March, this time with a Discovery Channel film crew for “Alien Sharks.” Clerkin said he’s not allowed to say how many new species he discovered this year, but he’s pleased with the trip’s success.

View the full story. 

Spartans at Work: Monterey Bay Aquarium

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series continues with marine science alumna Sonya Sankaran.)

Sitting atop a yellow grassy hill, Pajaro Valley High School overlooks the Watsonville State Wildlife Area and a series of sloughs that make up the area’s wetlands. Watsonville, located about a half hour northeast of Monterey, is a community known for agriculture. Farms rely on the Pajaro River, which flows into Monterey Bay.

To teach high school students about their natural surroundings, Sonya Sankaran, ’12 M.S. Marine Science, works as a senior bilingual education specialist for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While attending graduate school at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), she began volunteering with the aquarium and later found out about this opportunity.

SJSU is the administrator of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, the home of the master’s of marine science program for seven California State Universities. Thanks to her education, Sankaran is able to connect her students with the right experts for their research projects.

“Working at Moss Landing opened innumerable doors for me, which has allowed me to open doors for our students,” she said.

Her specific teen program with the aquarium, Watsonville Area Teens Conserving Habitats (W.A.T.C.H.), is a year-round elective science course offered by Pajaro Valley High School and Watsonville High School. For two weeks over the summer, students learn more about the Pajaro River Watershed from a combination of high school teachers, scientists and W.A.T.C.H. staff as preparation for their year-long school projects. Students have investigated the effects of non-native species on native species, ocean acidification and phytotoxins at a local lake.

Sankaran and her W.A.T.C.H. colleague Enrique Melgoza started their jobs together in April 2012. They are both fluent in Spanish, a useful skill since most of the students in the program come from Spanish-speaking households. Melgoza, ’08 Aviation Management, was raised in Watsonville and said he can relate to their students.

“Some of them don’t have a role model,” Melgoza said, “and for me, I don’t see myself as a role model for them. But they see me as a role model because I’ve been through what they’re going through right now. Then, going to San Jose State and having all of the knowledge—and being successful in my educational career and bringing it back—has helped me out.”

They teach their students to do field work, such as gathering samples and using a water quality testing kit that wirelessly connects with an iPad app. Sankaran’s favorite part of her job is giving her students the opportunity to study and connect with the outdoor environment, especially the ocean.

“A lot of young people don’t have time or opportunities to explore anymore,” she said, adding she enjoys “being able to give them experiences that demonstrate their relationship with the ocean and inspire conservation of their natural resources—experiences that they can share with their community, and eventually, take into their careers.”

Marine Science Wave Expert

Research “From the Frontiers of Science”

Marine Science Wave Expert

Associate Professor Erika McPhee-Shaw

MOSS LANDING, CALIF. – 5 June 2013 – The inaugural Gordon Research Seminar in Coastal Ocean Circulation has invited Associate Professor Erika McPhee-Shaw of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) to deliver the keynote talk this month at the University of New England.  The seminar is part of the Gordon Research Conferences, a group of prestigious international scientific conferences covering research from the frontiers of science.

The Gordon Research Conferences (GRC) were initiated in 1931 by Dr. Neil E. Gordon of Johns Hopkins University with the purpose of bringing together scientists to facilitate discussions and encourage the free exchange of ideas.  In 1996 an additional program, the Gordon Research Seminars, was developed to extend the gatherings to graduate students and post-doctoral researchers.

Today the GRC has grown to over 250 conferences and seminars scheduled for 2013, with only three on topics related to ocean sciences.  Dr. McPhee-Shaw will be the first ever keynote speaker for the Coastal Ocean Circulation Gordon Research Seminar, and will present to a group of 75 Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars.

Dr. McPhee-Shaw’s research focuses on internal waves, continental shelf and slope dynamics, and sediment and nutrient transport.  In addition to the invitation to speak at the GRS, she was also was recently elected chair of the Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) executive council, and will serve in this position through February 2014.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is home to the master’s of marine science program for seven California State University campuses, including SJSU, which serves as administrator.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Director Named

Moss Landing Marine Labs Selects Director

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Director Named

In his role as faculty advisor of the MLML Vertebrate Ecology Lab, Jim Harvey conducts research on marine turtles, birds and mammals.

Media contact: Brynn Hooton, 831-771-4464

MOSS LANDING, CALIF. – After a national search, James Harvey was named director of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Harvey was selected for the position by a search committee comprised of CSU administration, MLML faculty members, and members of the Monterey Bay scientific community.

Established in 1966, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is the marine lab and graduate program in marine science for a consortium of seven California State University campuses, with overall management provided by SJSU. Today MLML has eight full-time faculty and nearly 100 graduate students enrolled in the program, with resources including a marine research library, 13 research vessels from 12 to 135 feet in length, and a fully-equipped diving program.  Harvey will oversee the MLML education and research programs, and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of MLML’s Governing Board of consortium campuses.

“I am humbled by the trust that others have placed in me and excited by the opportunity to serve MLML, San Jose State University, the consortium and the CSU,” said Harvey.  “This is a special place and I am honored to become director.”

Harvey has a long relationship with Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, first arriving as a graduate student in 1974.  After receiving a master’s of science in marine biology from MLML and SJSU, and a doctoral degree from Oregon State University, he returned to MLML as an instructor in 1989.  Harvey subsequently joined the faculty and earned full professorship by 2002, a position he held until recently when he assumed the role of interim director.

In his role as faculty advisor of the MLML Vertebrate Ecology Lab, Harvey conducts research on marine turtles, birds and mammals.  He is a founding member of Beach COMBERS, a local program that trains volunteers to survey beaches for marine birds and mammals on a monthly basis.  In addition, Harvey’s lab is a member of the U.S. Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, helping sick and injured marine mammals and sea turtles found in Monterey County, and recovering dead animals to collect data and investigate the cause of death. He has advised over 70 graduate students during his tenure at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

“He’s ideally suited for the job and I’m looking forward to working with him,” said Christopher Scholin, president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and member of the MLML director search committee.  “Jim comes to the position with a great deal of experience and vision for the lab’s future.”

Harvey is an active member of the scientific community, serving as chair of the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve Research Advisory Panel, advisor to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Research Activity Panel, scientific advisor for The Marine Mammal Center, and member of the San Jose State University Research Foundation Board of Directors.

Learn more information about MLML and James Harvey.

Spartans Honored at CSU Student Research Competition

Spartans Honored at CSU Student Research Competition

Two Spartans received honors at the 27th Annual California State University Student Research Competition.

Brian Maurer took first place among graduate students and Daniel Nguyen took second place among undergraduates in the Biological and Agricultural Sciences Category.

The CSU Student Research Competition is a systemwide event held annually to showcase excellence in scholarly research and creative activity conducted by undergraduate and graduate students.

Student participants make oral presentations before juries of professional experts from major corporations, foundations, public agencies, and colleges and universities in California.

Here’s more on SJSU’s winners.

Spartans Honored at CSU Student Research Competition

Brian Mauer, a graduate student at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, won first place in the biological and agricultural sciences category (photo courtesy of the SJSU Research Foundation).

Brian Maurer 

Graduate student, Marine Science

Professor Nicholas Welschmeyer, faculty mentor

Optimization of a Technique to Measure Bulk Viable Biomass, Based on the Hydrolysis of Fluorescein Diacetate (FDA) by Ubiquitous Enzymes

A technique has been optimized that measures the rate of extracellular fluorescein production, the product of FDA cleavage by esterase enzymes present in all living cells, to quantify the bulk living biomass of heterogeneous aquatic assemblages.

Spartans Honored at CSU Student Research Competition

Daniel Nguyen, an undergraduate in chemistry, won second place in the biological and agricultural sciences category (photo courtesy of the SJSU Research Foundation).

Daniel Nguyen

Undergraduate, Chemistry

Assistant Professor Lionel Cheruzel, faculty mentor

Highly Efficient Light-Driven P450 Biocatalysts

He developed an efficient light-driven P450 biocatalyst able to selectively hydroxylate substrate C-H bonds with the highest activity and turnover numbers among all of the current alternative approaches.

Research Ship Returns from 17,000-Mile Journey

Vessel Completes 17,000-Mile Journey

Research Vessel Returns

A sign in Palmer Station, Antarctica, to which an arrow for Moss Landing was added by the Point Sur’s crew (Rebecca Shoop photo).

Cruise to support scientific operations near Palmer Station is a first for a National Science Foundation vessel of the R/V Point Sur’s “regional class” size.

Media Contact: Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, 831-771-4464MOSS LANDING, Calif. –

The Research Vessel Point Sur cruised into her home port of Moss Landing Harbor this Thur., May 2, returning from a research voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula.  The National Science Foundation vessel operated by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories has been gone more than five months, supporting research in the Southern and Pacific Oceans during a trip that was unprecedented by an NSF vessel of her size.

The 135-foot R/V Point Sur departed Moss Landing on Nov. 29 on a trip that took her more than 17,000 miles, and is one that is more commonly made by vessels that are 200 or 300 feet in length.  The Point Sur, as she is affectionately known by the MLML community, was chosen by NSF for the mission for her cost-effective, flexible size and her prior achievements working in the Aleutian Island Chain and Bering Sea in Alaska.

Ice Sheets

The Point Sur began her voyage with a month-long transit to Punta Arenas, Chile where final preparations were made, and geologists from the University of South Carolina boarded as the first science party of the trip.  The geologists made use of the Point Sur’s voyage to collect data to help determine if ice sheets deposited large quantities of sediment around Antarctica during the Cretaceous Period.  Principal Investigator David Barbeau chronicled the team’s progress from afar in Brooklyn on his blog, Antarctic Ice Dodgers 2013.  Breathtaking photographs on the blog depict the team venturing to sites to identify rocks and collect samples, and journal-like posts document the Point Sur crew’s valiant efforts to support the team and keep scientists safe.   On Jan. 18, Barbeau posted pictures of the Point Sur’s crew towing small icebergs away from his team’s pickup location on an island, writing, “…the (Antarctic Ice) Dodgers are indeed amongst fine people.”

The Point Sur arrived at Palmer Station on Anvers Island, Antarctica on Jan. 26, nearly 18 months after planning for the journey began.  At Palmer Station the science party from University of South Carolina disembarked, and the Point Sur was joined by members of the Palmer Antarctica Long Term Ecological Research Project (LTER), whose work has been conducted for more than 20 years.  The Point Sur transported the LTER scientists to the western side of Anvers Island to survey penguin colonies, reaching an area that had not been surveyed by land since the mid 1980s.

Tagging Whales

The Point Sur continued juggling science parties throughout her time in Antarctica, supporting a whale research group from Duke University who were able to tag so many whales that they ran out of tagging supplies.  Also before leaving Palmer Station, the vessel was able to host a scientific diving operation from the University of Alabama, studying a kelp-like brown seaweed called Ascoseira.  In his blog post titled “Long Stemmed Seaweeds, Magnificent Cliffs, with Memories of Old Heroes,” scientist Chuck Amsler writes of reaching his research site at Lemaire, “possibly the most beautiful spot on the entire Antarctic Peninsula if not the continent as a whole,” not reachable by Zodiacs launched from Palmer Station, and therefore only made possible on this trip by transport by the Point Sur.

In early March the Point Sur departed Palmer Station, beginning the two-month return trip home.  Again she was bestowed with safe travel across the Drake’s Passage, one of the most dangerous waterways of the oceans.   She has continued supporting science parties up the coast of the Americas, providing to all researchers resounding successes, and to some their most successful research cruises to date.   “We are proud of the excellent support of science provided by the Point Sur,” said Moss Landing Marine Laboratories interim Director Jim Harvey.  “It takes an incredible amount of planning, teamwork, and expertise to accomplish this extraordinary voyage.  We look forward to her arrival on Thursday.”

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is the graduate program in marine science for California State Universities East Bay, Fresno, Monterey Bay, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Stanislaus. Learn more about MLML. View the Point Sur blog.

Middle School Students Become Scientists-for-a-Day

Middle Schoolers as Scientists-for-a-Day

By Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, MLML Development Associate

Middle School Students Become Scientists-for-a-Day

MLML Associate Professor Ivano Aiello leads a discussion on seafloor mud with Pacific Grove Middle School students (MLML photo).

Moss Landing Marine Labs’ Research Vessel Point Sur is currently returning from the waters of Antarctica, where it supported research funded by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. But before it left for the pole, students from Pacific Grove Middle School spent a day onboard the R/V Point Sur investigating local geology.

The trip was initiated by MLML Associate Professor Ivano Aiello, who wanted to bring K-12 students into the world of marine science.

Aiello recently served as the sedimentologist for a Bering Sea expedition aboard the JOIDES Resolution, a research vessel equipped to drill sediment cores from the ocean floor.

Part of the Integrated Ocean Discovery Program, the expedition’s purpose was to study the history of the oceans through sediments.

“The program has all the components – exploration, discovery, hand‐on applications of mathematical and physical science – to be an inspiration for youth, K‐12 students and their teachers,” said Aiello.

MLML’s Teacher Enhancement Program was instrumental in helping Aiello make this a reality. Program Director Dr. Simona Bartl matched Dr. Aiello’s proposed activities to middle school earth science standards, and offered the activity to past participants of TEP. Pacific Grove Middle School Teacher Kelly Terry’s class was selected.

“Having local higher education institutions willing to share their expertise and resources is huge,” she said. “We live in such a unique and special place…and learning more about what makes our area unique is one of the important things that I have brought away from my experience with TEP.”

Read more on the MLML blog.

Professor Elected to Lead Vital Ocean Monitoring System

Professor Leads Ocean Observers

Professor Elected to Lead Vital Ocean Monitoring System

Associate Professor Erika McPhee-Shaw will oversee coastal observing systems from Point Conception to the California-Oregon border (photo courtesy of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories).

By Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, MLML Development Associate

MOSS LANDING, CA – A Moss Landing Marine Laboratories faculty member has taken on a leading role in overseeing coastal observing systems used to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment.

The Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) recently elected new members to its Executive Committee. Chosen by the Governing Council to fill the position of Council Chair was Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Associate Professor Erika McPhee-Shaw.

CeNCOOS is part of the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), a national framework of 11 coastal observing systems. It arose through actions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Congress in the early 2000s, and was formally authorized by the federal Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System Act of 2009. The region covered by CeNCOOS stretches from Point Conception to the California-Oregon border, including all bays and estuaries, and extends 200 nautical miles from shore.

CeNCOOS monitors regional waters with both fixed instruments housed on buoys, docks, and piers, and mobile instruments carried by submersibles, ships, autonomous vehicles, aircraft and satellites. Recently, McPhee-Shaw along with MLML scientists installed a new water quality monitoring station under the Monterey Commercial Wharf in Monterey, Calif., as an addition to the CeNCOOS system. The data collected by CeNCOOS is made available to all marine users and managers to aid the conservation of resources and benefit the public.

In addition to providing unbiased information on the health of the oceans in Central and Northern California, CeNCOOS also provides representatives to national IOOS committees and other relevant organizations. As well as serving as the CeNCOOS Governing Council Chair, McPhee-Shaw will serve on the board of the U.S. IOOS Association (formerly named NFRA), which represents the eleven IOOS observing systems at the federal level.

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is the graduate program in marine science for seven California State University campuses including East Bay, Fresno, Monterey Bay, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Stanislaus.

Point Sur Reaches Antarctica

Point Sur Reaches Antarctica

Point Sur Reaches Antarctica

A team of scientists disembark from Moss Landing’s research vessel with the goal of “scouring islands for sedimentary rock looking for evidence that there may have been glaciers in the earth’s past when the planet was much warmer than it is today,” writes chef/steward/photographer Tara Pastuszek.

When scientists needed a lift to the South Pole, they called Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. So began a truly epic, 8,000-mile journey for the research vessel Point Sur and crew, full of spectacular sunsets, wildlife sightings and, just a few days ago, landfall at their ice encrusted destination, Palmer Station. Researchers on board include a team led by University of South Carolina PhD candidate Ben Oliver, whose blog offers many amazing photos. “Our current science party has been busy at work scouring islands for sedimentary rock looking for evidence that there may have been glaciers in the earth’s past when the planet was much warmer than it is today,” writes Point Sur crew member Tara Pastuszek on the Point Sur blog, which offers equally impressive imagery. “One of the objectives of this study is to gain insight into how glaciers will be impacted by modern climate change.” In this and many other ways, Point Sur and MLML support marine science research with worldwide impacts. MLML is a consortium of California State University campuses administered by San Jose State and the SJSU Research Foundation.


Research Vessel Departs for Antarctica

Research Vessel Departs for Antarctica

Research Vessel Departs for Antarctica

Point Sur off the Moss Landing coast during the summer (MLML photo).

Under the darkening skies of approaching winter storms, the research vessel Point Sur departed for an 8,200-mile trip south. Final destination: Palmer Station, Antarctica. So begins the latest adventure for Moss Landing Marine Laboratories’ 135-foot, 495 ton flagship and her dedicated crew, to support the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs and the scientists studying the habitat, chemistry, climate, biology, geology and physics of the Antarctic Peninsula around the U.S. base at Palmer Station. MLML is home to the master’s of marine science program for seven CSU campuses, including SJSU, which serves as administrator. Read the full news release on the Point Sur expedition. View media coverage of the trip. Track the vessel online. Check out more on research at SJSU.

Keeping Up With Marine Science Students With WAVE Magazine

Keeping Up With Marine Science Students in Wave Magazine

Keeping Up With Marine Science Students With WAVE Magazine

Check out the fall 2012 issue of Wave magazine!

In the fall 2012 issue of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories’ magazine Wave, marine science graduate students are packing for a four-month cruise aboard a research vessel, installing water monitors below a Monterey wharf for scientists and abalone farmers, and building a new lab to study seaweed cultivation.

Meanwhile, Friends of MLML is providing more than $25,000 in scholarships and internships to students who use the funds for a wide range of resources needed for thesis projects including visiting Madagascar to study Humpback whales, purchasing reagents for running DNA extractions on invasive species, and securing boat time for tracking Leopard sharks in Elkhorn Slough.

MLML is home to the master’s of marine science program for seven CSU campuses, including SJSU, which serves as administrator. Download Wave.

Professor Emeritus Studies Deep-Sea Wonder

Professor Emeritus Studies Deep-Sea Wonder

This brightly colored anglerfish is the topic of a newly published study co-authored by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor Emeritus Gregor M. Cailliet.

Cailliet worked with colleagues from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“While scientists have observed other species of anglerfish in the wild before, this particular species—Chaunacops coloratus—wasn’t documented alive until 2002,” explains the National Geographic Daily News website. “The 2002 sighting was of a single fish found near a seamount, or extinct volcano, about 80 miles southwest of Monterey.

“In 2010, an expedition to the nearby Taney Seamounts found six more—enough to support a proper investigation of the species…which can walk and changes color throughout its life,” National Geographic continues. You can learn more about Chaunacops coloratus in the journal Deep-Sea Research Part I.

You can learn more about experts including Cailliet on the CSU Fresca website, where he writes “for more than four decades, since my graduate work at UCSB in the 1960s, I have studied the ecology of marine fishes. I have been especially interested in deep-sea fishes and their ecology…

“For my deep-sea studies, I have mainly utilized surface ships for trawling and trapping activities, but more recently have been more involved with in situ camera sled, remotely operated vehicle, and submersible studies.”

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is home to the master’s of marine science program for seven CSU campuses, including SJSU, which serves as administrator.

Raja Ampur Coral Triangle 2 photo Lakshmi Sawitri

NSF Grant Funds Marine Biodiversity Research

Raja Ampat Coral Triangle 2 photo Lakshmi Sawitri

Raja Ampat Coral Triangle, Indonesia (photo by Lakshmi Sawitri, Flickr Creative Commons)

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories Professor Jonathan Geller to conduct invertebrate metagenomic analyses and lead workshops for Indonesian and U.S. graduate students

Media contacts:
Brynn Hooton-Kaufman, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, (831) 771-4464
Dr. Jonathan Geller, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, (831) 771-4436

Moss Landing, Calif. – 18 September 2012 – A partnership of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, San Diego State University, UCLA, the Smithsonian Institute and NOAA has been awarded $4.87 million from the National Science Foundation to study marine biodiversity in Indonesia.  Funded by NSF’s Partnerships in International Research and Education program, the project will focus on the Coral Triangle, a region that contains the world’s most biologically diverse coral reefs.

Reefs of the Coral Triangle are an extremely important biological and economic resource locally and globally, but are severely threatened by human impacts and climate change.  As such, these reefs are important conservation targets.  The new project, titled “Assembly of marine biodiversity along geographic and anthropogenic stress gradients,” will use a novel monitoring tool called Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) to study the impacts of these threats. ARMS are particularly good at capturing the hidden biodiversity that comprises the vast majority of marine biodiversity, including viruses, microbes, smaller animals and algae.  For the project, the ARMS will measure what organisms are present in reefs across the Indonesian Archipelago, how the biodiversity of these organisms changes over different areas and how biodiversity is impacted by human-caused environmental stress.

NSF Awards $4.87 Million to Study Marine Biodiversity in the Coral Triangle

Professor Jonathan Geller

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) Professor Jonathan Geller is an important part of the partnership, spearheading MLML’s role and conducting invertebrate metagenomic analyses for the project.  Metagenomics is the study of genetic material collected directly from environmental samples, which in the case of the new project, will be collected by the ARMS.  In addition, Dr. Geller will also lead workshops in these methods for Indonesian and U.S. graduate students.

The benefits of the project are threefold.  First, the information collected during the project will help scientists better understand what affects biodiversity in the Coral Triangle, and this knowledge that can be used to help resource managers protect the valuable coral reef ecosystems.  Second, the project will also bring an international collaboration to Indonesia, one of the world’s most populous developing countries, increasing the nation’s scientific capacity. Third, the project will prepare U.S. post-doctoral scholars, graduate and undergraduate students to be global leaders in the science of marine biodiversity, capable of international research in the world’s most diverse marine environments.

Dr. Geller is looking forward to collaborating with the project partners and to sharing his expertise with students.  “This is an amazing opportunity to apply state of the art technology to the ocean’s most diverse habitats. With these new tools, we will measure marine biodiversity with unprecedented depth and breadth,” he said.  “I am especially excited that our team, including MLML graduate students, will be working closely with Indonesian scientists and students – this will be a true partnership.”

Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is home to the master’s of marine science program for seven CSU campuses, including SJSU, which serves as administrator.



SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

SJSU Memorial Service Honors the Late Phyllis Simpkins

Phyllis Simpkins

By Pat Lopes Harris, Media Relations Director

San Jose State is set to honor the life and extraordinary commitment of Phyllis Simpkins,’46 Home Economics and Marketing, on Friday, Sept. 7 at 3 p.m. in Morris Dailey Auditorium. A reception will follow in the rose garden and bell plaza area outside Tower Hall. Both events are open to the public.

Mrs. Simpkins, who passed away July 7 at 87, and her late husband Alan Simpkins, ‘48 Physics, were lifelong supporters and donors to SJSU. Among San Jose State’s most generous benefactors, the couple committed nearly $20 million to many athletic and academic programs.

The Simpkins’ led the effort to restore the Spartan Marching Band in 1977 after several years of absence. Last year, Phyllis provided seed money for a campaign to provide the band with new uniforms. On Sept. 8, when SJSU football takes on UC Davis, the band will wear those new uniforms in a half-time show dedicated to the couple. Sewn inside each uniform is a label bearing the name of a donor, including Phyllis and Alan Simpkins.

Among SJSU Most Generous Donors

“The legacy created by Phyllis Simpkins’ leadership and generosity will benefit San Jose State University students for generations to come. Not only did she give generously, she inspired others to support San Jose State,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “It is important that we pay tribute to the many ways in which Phyllis and Alan supported our students and university as a whole.”

Gifts from the Simpkins support the following:

  • Phyllis Forward Simpkins International Center (the SJSU International House)
  • Alan B. Simpkins Intercollegiate Athletics Administration Building
  • Simpkins Stadium Center
  • Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
  • Department of Nutrition and Food Science
  • Department of Kinesiology
  • School of Music and Dance

Giving and Getting Involved

But the Simpkins did much more than give to SJSU; they got involved. The International House was a personal passion for Phyllis who, in addition to being a regular visitor and occasional cook, oversaw its purchase, renovation and upkeep. Phyllis served as president of the SJSU Alumni Association in 1977. She and with her husband were among the founders of the association’s Santa Cruz Chapter.

San Jose State and the California State University have honored Phyllis and Alan Simpkins many times over the years. In 1979, Phyllis Simpkins received the Tower Award, SJSU’s highest honor for philanthropy and service. Phyllis and Alan Simpkins were named CSU Philanthropists of the Year in 1989. Both Phyllis and Alan Simpkins also received honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters at the SJSU commencement in 1996.

Parking for the event is available in the South (Seventh Street) Garage, located at South Seventh and East San Salvador streets.