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University of California. Institute of Marine Resources records
SAC 0003  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Administrative History
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Publication Rights
  • Related Materials

  • Descriptive Summary

    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla 92093-0175
    Title: University of California. Institute of Marine Resources records
    Creator: University of California (System). Institute of Marine Resources
    Identifier/Call Number: SAC 0003
    Physical Description: 27.4 Linear feet (27 record cartons, 1 archives box, and 4 map case folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1948-1991
    Abstract: Records of the University of California's Institute for Marine Resources, primarily dating from the 1950s through 1980, from the offices of various directors.
    Languages: English .

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The University of California's Institute of Marine Resources (IMR) was established in 1954 as a statewide unit to "foster research, education, and public services by the University of California in the development of fisheries and other resources of the sea for the benefit of the people of California." From its founding, the IMR office was located at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The IMR used its resources and faculty billets to establish or support work in seafood harvesting and processing, sea floor minerals, food chain and marine food science research, ocean engineering, geological studies, the intersection of marine and social sciences, and phytoplankton, among other topics. The records consist of files from the various directors beginning with Milner Schaefer (1960s), John Dove Isaacs (1970s), and Fred Spiess (1980s), and include administrative correspondence, agendas, and memoranda; records of some committee and conference activity; sponsored research and a selection of proposals; and some subject files and drafts of publications. The minutes and correspondence of the IMR's Advisory Council and the Executive Committee are an important record of the research and policy discussions guiding the IMR over its decades of activity. Most materials are arranged with similar content spanning changes in leadership, provenance, and organization.
    The collection is not an exhaustive record of the scope of IMR activities, likely due to the decentralized, liaison role of the Institute across such broad research areas at the University. Notable gaps in the collection include incomplete or inconsistent coverage of major funded research projects. Documentation on such projects was instead maintained by the principal investigators on those programs. The administrative history of IMR is somewhat weakly documented in the collection, with supporting materials found in related collections (see Related Materials note, and references in the Administrative History). In 1970 the IMR assumed management responsibility for the California Sea Grant College Program, which has its own record group, SAC 58.

    Administrative History

    Directors of the Institute of Marine Resources:
    Charles Delorma Wheelock - Acting director (1954 Jan 1-1958 December 4), Director (1958 Dec 5-1961 July 1)
    John Dove Isaacs - Interim director (1961 July-1962 August).
    Milner Baily Schaefer - Appointed Director, 1962 September 1. On leave of absence July, 1967 to February, 1969 to serve as Science Advisor to Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior Stewart Udall. Resumed Directorship in March, 1969. On leave of absence November, 1969 to January, 1970 to conduct research in South America. Became ill while on leave and did not return to the directorship until 1970 March 2. Died, July 26, 1970.
    Henry William Menard – Interim (1967-1969) while Schaefer in Washington.
    John Strickland - Interim (1969-1970) while Schaefer was abroad, and then during his illness, but died in November 1970.
    Richard W. Eppley - Interim (1970-March 1971) following deaths of Schaefer and Strickland John Dove Isaacs (1971-1980)
    Fred Noel Spiess (1980-1988)
    William Fenical - Associate Director (1987-1988), Acting Director, (1988-1993)
    Administrative History [Text adapted and updated from research by Deborah Day]
    On November 7, 1950, Roger Revelle, Acting Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, wrote a letter to University of California President Robert Gordon Sproul. The letter discussed the formation of the new Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, and the importance of finding "a mechanism whereby the University could furnish more adequate scientific and educational assistance to the California fishing industry." Dr. Revelle concluded: "It would appear reasonable that the University of California might considerably expand its research and teaching programs related to the problems of marine fisheries. These problems are so varied in character and broad in scope that adequate solutions must depend upon the application of many skills and disciplines representing a number of departments of the University. I would, therefore, like to suggest that the University consider the desirability of establishing a University-wide Institute of Marine Fisheries (1)." Dr. Revelle further suggested that the headquarters of the Institute be located on the campus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla.
    The concept of the Institute was discussed by Norris Rakestraw at Revelle's request during a meeting of the Graduate Council at UCLA on November 9. Revelle also discussed the Institute with members of the California Marine Research Committee, a committee established by the California Legislature in 1948 to investigate the causes of the sudden depletion of sardines in California waters. At their meeting on January 30, 1951, the members of the Marine Research Committee of the State of California passed a resolution to meet with President Sproul to discuss the marine research program (2). On April 12, 1951, University of California President Robert Gordon Sproul, University Vice President Corley, Roger Revelle, Carl Hubbs, Robert Miller, John Morris and Julian Burnette met in Berkeley to discuss the proposed Institute (3).
    At the next meeting of the Marine Research Committee, held July 18, 1951, chairman Burnette reported on the meeting with President Sproul. Revelle shared his ideas, and general discussion ensued. The Committee determined that the chairman appoint a subcommittee to meet with Revelle and develop an outline for the proposed Institute of Marine Resources (4).
    On October 1, Wilbert McLeod Chapman, the Director of Research for the American Tunaboat Association, a member of the Marine Research Committee and a supporter of the proposed Institute, attended a meeting of the California Assembly Committee on Fish and Game in San Diego. Chapman presented a statement before the Committee which advocated the establishment of an Institute of Marine Resources (5). In a letter to President Sproul dated December 21, 1951, Chapman assured Sproul that the Assembly Committee solidly supported the concept (6). Following the suggestions made in Chapman's statement, Assemblyman Frank Luckel offered to present the matter of funding for the Institute before the Assembly. This was done in the fall of 1952, and the Assembly authorized the funding for fiscal year 1953-1954.
    On October 22, 1951, President Sproul appointed a Special Committee on the Institute of Marine Resources to undertake a study of the proposed Institute and appointed University Vice President Baldwin M. Woods as chair. Revelle, who had recently assumed the Directorship of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was appointed a member of the Special Committee. On November 5th, Revelle submitted a memorandum entitled "Prospectus of the Proposed Institute of Marine Resources" to Vice President Woods. The Prospectus was approved, and Revelle presented it to the Marine Research Committee at their meeting on November 14, 1951. On November 26th, the Special Committee recommended to the President that the Institute of Marine Resources be established, adopted the Prospectus and forwarded it as part of their report (7).
    The Prospectus stated that the objective of the Institute was "to foster research, education and public service of the University of California in the development of fisheries and other resources of the sea for the benefit of the people of California." It recommended that the Institute be established on a University-wide basis, administered by a Director who would report to the President of the University through the Director of the Scripps Institution. Institute policies would be established by an Executive Committee appointed by the President, and the Institute Director and Executive Committee would be advised by an Advisory Council also appointed by the President.
    After receiving the report of the Special Committee, President Sproul referred the matter of the Institute to the University of California Committee on Educational Policy, a committee of the University Academic Senate. The Committee on Educational Policy visited the Scripps Institution on March 14-16, 1952, and reported favorably on the proposed Institute in a report dated April 24, 1952 (8). The Executive Committee held their first organizational meeting on November 23, 1953, but the Institute was not formally launched until January 13, 1954 when President Sproul approved the Executive Committee recommendation that Rear Admiral Charles Delorma Wheelock, Ret. be named Acting Director.
    Sproul also asked in his letter of January 13th that the Executive Committee draft a constitution for the Institute. Revelle's Prospectus was studied by the Executive Committee and served as the basis for draft constitutions considered by the Committee from 1953 to 1955. President Sproul approved the final version in late September 1955, and in May 1956 the Executive Committee finally adopted the Constitution. This document defined the purposes, scope and organization of the Institute of Marine Resources and outlined the responsibilities of the Director. The Constitution (9) defined marine resources as including: Energy in many forms converted by and in the ocean from captured solar energy; water, minerals, plants and animals in and beneath the ocean, bays, marshes, and beaches; the recreational, esthetic, educational and scientific values of beaches, bays, marshes and oceans; the atmosphere above the sea, the surface of the ocean with its special properties for floatation of vessels; and the oceans as a dump for man's liquid and solid wastes. Furthermore, it stated eight purposes of the Institute: Be a focal point for the interest and action of those who are concerned with marine resources; accumulate and disseminate knowledge of marine resources; evaluate the present and potential benefits to mankind to be realized from marine resources; develop techniques for conserving and economically using these resources to the end that the people of California will benefit; increase and disseminate knowledge about forces and reactions in the marine environment that are destructive to man's interests; develop means for controlling or ameliorating the effect of destructive forces and reactions; broaden the experience of research scientists, engineers and students engaged on Institute work through encouraging their association with and guidance from mature professors; and encourage a progressive transfer of non-faculty personnel from the Institute rolls into industry and government service.
    Originally, the IMR Director reported to the Director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, but after the establishment of the University of California, San Diego, the IMR Director reported to the Chancellor of UCSD. (On March 6, 1967, it was decided at a joint meeting of the Advisory Council and Executive Committee that the IMR Director should report to the President both through the Director of Scripps and the Chancellor of UCSD.) In addition to delineating the reporting structure of IMR, the constitution stated that the IMR Director would oversee and coordinate the research program of the Institute; recruit and support staff; supervise budgets and expenditures; represent the Institute to the public and prospective sponsors; call meetings of the Executive Committee and Advisory Council; and prepare an annual report.
    Although the Constitution did not delineate the functions of the Executive Committee and the Advisory Council, the Executive Committee became the policy-making body, and the Advisory Council served mainly to advise the Executive Committee and the Director on the research program. The Advisory Council was appointed in March, 1956 and first met on August 13th. Their subsequent meetings were infrequent and were often held in conjunction with the Executive Committee. The Constitution directed that the Executive Committee be composed of five members appointed by the President and four ex-officio members. The ex-officio members include the Directors of the Institute and of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the deans of the College of Engineering at Berkeley and Los Angeles in biennial rotation, and the deans of the School of Business Administration at Los Angeles and Berkeley in biennial rotation. This structure was changed slightly by vote of the Executive Committee at their meeting on December 5, 1958. Ex-officio membership by the deans was deleted, and the President was asked to appoint two members without specific program affiliations. Members of the Advisory Council were annually appointed by the President in consultation with the Directors of SIO and the IMR.
    The administrative structure of the Institute followed the outline of the 1956 Constitution until 1973. The Director appointed the staff of the Institute composed of faculty, research staff and graduate students representing a variety of disciplines and University of California campuses. Most of the staff held full time faculty or research staff appointments at their home campus and conducted only portions of their research under the auspices of the IMR. Graduate students received support to conduct research or assist on research projects of interest to IMR. The Director and administrative staff assisted Institute staff with the preparation of proposals, facilitated contracts with granting agencies and administered resulting contracts.
    Although some IMR researchers conducted research alone, most worked in teams for one or more projects. A more formal research team structure existed at IMR in the form of research groups. For example, the Marine Science Laboratory was created as part of IMR in 1955. It was directed by Dr. Harold S. Olcott, Professor of Marine Food Technology, and located at the Berkeley campus. Some forty investigators were attached to the Laboratory and their basic mission was to study the biochemistry of marine food products such as tuna and conduct field investigations.
    In 1961, Admiral Wheelock retired as IMR Director and assumed the chairmanship of the IMR Executive Committee. At a meeting of the SIO Department of Oceanography on March 23, 1961, John Isaacs, Martin Johnson and Fred Phleger were asked to serve on an ad hoc committee to consider the future of the Institute and make recommendations to the Department. Their report, delivered on March 29, 1961 recommended a broader focus for the IMR research program. The ad hoc Committee further recommended that the new Director of IMR be a scientist with broad interests, rather than a specialist in a narrow field. These recommendations were echoed by the IMR Advisory Council in a resolution adopted by the Council on March 29, 1961 (10).
    Milner Baily Schaefer was appointed Director of the Institute in 1962. The Institute grew significantly during Schaefer's directorship. In 1963, Schaefer invited John Douglas H. Strickland to join IMR and form the Food Chain Research Group. During the same year, the Scripps Tuna Oceanography Research Group (STOR) was administratively placed under IMR (11).
    IMR continued to grow, with occasional restructuring and reorganization, under the subsequent directorships of John Isaacs and Fred Spiess in the 1970s and 1980s. Spiess retired from the directorship early 1988, and William Fenical assumed the role of acting director. The leadership transition and existing economic conditions triggered a major reorganization of IMR and its component parts: the Sea Grant College Program, the Food Chain Research Group, the Marine Natural Products Group, the Ocean Engineering Group, the Marine Bio-Optics Group, and the Phytoplankton Research Group. The Executive Committee considered writing a new charter, to replace the one written in 1981. Ultimately, in a restrictive budget environment, the UC marine academic community and Academic Senate recommended division of its assets (primarily between SIO and the campus of UC Davis), separation of the research functions into new divisional affiliations, and autonomy for the administration of Sea Grant. In July 1989, the University adopted an interim provisio that a new IMR director may reside on any UC campus, and IMR FTE slots were to be distributed among the campuses. While a new charter was not developed, the mission of IMR was refined "to provide a Universitywide means to promote and coordinate research, education, and public service on marine resource issues and ocean processed." Future directors, appointed by the Regents, would report to the President via the Chancellor of their home campus. The director would be advised by a council of associate directors, comprised of the directors of Bodega Marine Laboratory (Davis), the Institute of Marine Science (Santa Barbara), SIO (San Diego), and the Sea Grant College Program. In the absence of an appointed director, this council was intended to act as the governing body of IMR, but the council never met. IMR published its last publications in 1990, and ceased producing annual reports that year.
    1. Roger Revelle to Robert Gordon Sproul, 1950 November 7. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Office of the Director records. SAC 1. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    2. Minutes, 1951 January 30. California Marine Research Committee records. SAC 49. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    3. Letter from John C. Marr to Julian G. Burnette, 1951 June 7 in IMR-Organization folder. Carl Leavitt Hubbs papers. SMC 5. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    4. Minutes, 1951 July 18 (SAC 49).
    5. Chapman's 1951 statement before the Assembly Committee, Institute of Marine Resources folder (SAC 1).
    6. Letter, Wilbert M. Chapman to Robert Gordon Sproul, 1951 December 21, 1951 in IMR-Organization folder (SMC 5).
    7. Minutes, 1951 July 18 (SAC 49).
    8. "Committee on Educational Policy. Report on the Establishment of an Institute of Marine Resources, April 24, 1952" from IMR Executive Committee folder (SMC 5).
    9. Constitution, 1952. Institute of Marine Resources records. SAC 3. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    10. "Report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Department of Oceanography on the Institute of Marine Resources," 1961, from IMR-Notes on Background folder (SMC 5).
    11. STOR and other IMR research programs are discussed in Chapter 6, A Potpourri: The Institute of Marine Resources, in Elizabeth Noble Shor's Scripps Institution of Oceanography: Probing the Oceans, 1936-1976 (San Diego: Tofua Press, 1978).

    Preferred Citation

    University of California. Institute of Marine Resources records. SAC 3. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1981-2007



    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Related Materials

    California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations records. SAC 50. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    California Marine Research Committee records. SAC 49. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    John Isaacs Papers. SMC 1. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    Milner Schaefer Papers. SMC 2. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    UC San Diego. Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Marine Life Research Program. Office of the Director records. SAC 20. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    University of California. Center for Marine Affairs records. SAC 79. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
    In addition to the collections listed above, scholars should consult the SIO Biographical Files (SAC 5) and SIO Subject Files (SAC 6) for correspondence and related material filed under the names of persons and research topics closely associated with IMR, such as Charles Wheelock, Carl Hubbs, and others. Scholars interested more complete information on research projects undertaken at IMR should consult the papers of principal investigators and other scientists involved in those projects.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    University of California (System). Institute of Marine Resources -- Archives
    Isaacs, John D. (John Dove)
    Spiess, Fred Noel, 1919-2006
    Schaefer, Milner Baily, 1912-1970
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Marine Life Research Group
    California. Marine Research Committee
    California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (Program)