Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: University of California. Institute of Marine Resources records
University of California (System). Institute of Marine Resources
Identifier/Call Number: SAC 0003
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.
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.
Arranged in 8 series: 1) ADMINISTRATION, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) COMMITTEES, CONFERENCES AND MEETINGS, 4) SPONSORED RESEARCH
AND CONSULTING PROGRAMS, 5) PROPOSALS, 6) SUBJECT FILES, 7) IMR PUBLICATIONS, and 8) OVERSIZE.
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
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).
University of California. Institute of Marine Resources records. SAC 3. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
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)