Aquatic Biology

Aquatic Biology

Aquatic biologists investigate the biology and ecology of organisms living in freshwater systems such as streams and lakes to estuarine, coastal and open ocean ecosystems. UCSB is ideally located for the study of fresh and saltwater environments and its inhabitants. The campus' outdoor "laboratories" include the Pacific Ocean and four of the University of California's protected natural land and water reserves. EEMB faculty carry out cutting edge research in the ecology and biogeochemistry of streams, wetlands, lakes, coral reefs and oceanic systems. These research programs also reach beyond the local environment and span the globes aquatic ecosystems extending from the Alaskan Tundra to the Amazon Basin to field studies conducted in coral reef systems, to the coastal seas off of Antarctica and to the open ocean gyres in all the World’s oceans. The aquatic biology subdisciplines include: Biological Oceanography, Limnology and Marine Biology.

Research Areas

Biological Oceanography

Interdisciplinary science that examines how marine organism from microbes to vertebrates interact, control and are controlled by their chemical and physical environment of the ocean's water column and benthos.


Limnology is the study of inland waters including lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands. It addresses how these water bodies function as systems and processes regulating growth and species diversity.

Marine Biology

Marine biologists are primarily interested in the biology of marine organisms themselves including their physiology, behavior, feeding biology, biochemistry, or reproduction.