Rising Tides: Humboldt University’s Marine Biology Program Prepares Students to Combat Climate Change

Humboldt University’s Marine Biology program equips students with the knowledge and skills to address the urgent challenges posed by climate change and protect marine ecosystems.

In a world grappling with the devastating effects of climate change, the need for dedicated individuals to combat its impact has never been greater. Humboldt University’s Marine Biology program is at the forefront of preparing students to tackle this global crisis. Through hands-on experiences and cutting-edge research, students are empowered to make a difference in the conservation and restoration of marine ecosystems. This article explores the unique opportunities and initiatives offered by Humboldt University’s Marine Biology program, highlighting its role in fostering climate resilience and inspiring the next generation of environmental leaders.

A Place-Based Learning Community

The Rising Tides Place-Based Learning Community is a year-long program that immerses first-year marine science majors in the vibrant ecosystems of Humboldt and Trinidad bays. Students participate in courses and activities that deepen their understanding of local marine life and foster a connection to their surroundings. By using a seine net to explore the marine environment, students gain firsthand knowledge of the diverse species that inhabit these waters. This experiential learning approach sets the stage for a comprehensive understanding of marine biology and the challenges it faces in the era of climate change.

A Commitment to Climate Resilience

Gabriela Wilkison, a Marine Biology major, is driven by a passion to protect marine life from the devastating effects of climate change. Research indicates that without immediate action, numerous marine species face the risk of extinction. Wilkison’s desire to be part of the solution led her to Humboldt University, drawn by its coastal location and commitment to climate resilience. The university’s Marine Biology program equips students with the knowledge and skills to create a safety net for vulnerable marine species.

Access to Unique Facilities

Humboldt University’s Marine Biology program benefits from its strategic coastal location and state-of-the-art facilities. The Cal Poly Humboldt Telonicher Marine Lab provides students with unparalleled access to diverse marine habitats, including beaches, intertidal zones, and subtidal kelp beds. The lab’s seawater system and wet lab allow students to work directly with marine invertebrates and fish, fostering hands-on learning experiences. Additionally, students have the opportunity to conduct research aboard the Coral Sea, a 90-foot research vessel equipped for in-depth analysis of marine life and water samples.

Empowering Students for Diverse Careers

The Marine Biology program at Humboldt University prepares students for a wide range of careers in both governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Graduates can pursue paths as conservationists, researchers, or continue their education in graduate school. The program’s emphasis on practical experience and collaboration with faculty and staff ensures that students are well-equipped to make a meaningful impact in their chosen field.

A Focus on Kelp Restoration

One of the ongoing projects within the Marine Biology program is the university’s kelp farm, the first open-water seaweed farm on the West Coast of California. This initiative aims to restore declining kelp populations, as kelp plays a crucial role in ocean habitats and carbon storage. Students and faculty actively measure temperature changes in the ocean, study factors that aid kelp bed recovery, and contribute to the conservation and revival of these vital ecosystems.


Humboldt University’s Marine Biology program stands as a beacon of hope in the face of climate change. By providing students with hands-on experiences, access to cutting-edge facilities, and a commitment to climate resilience, the program equips them to address the urgent challenges facing marine ecosystems. Through initiatives like the kelp farm and collaborations with faculty and staff, students are empowered to make a tangible difference in the fight against climate change. With the knowledge and skills gained from Humboldt University, these future environmental leaders are ready to face the challenges ahead and create a sustainable future for our oceans.