OCTOS building rendering
OCTOS building close up rendering


The Outreach Center for Teaching Ocean Science (OCTOS) has been designed to be a technologically state-of-the-art educational outreach facility located on the UCSB campus. The goal of OCTOS is to inspire environmental stewardship of our ocean resources through education and conservation. OCTOS is a collaborative project between the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS). OCTOS will be located on the UCSB campus between the Marine Science Institute (MSI) and the CINMS headquarters. Combining the strengths and leadership of UCSB and NOAA, OCTOS will be one of the foremost marine science nature education centers on the West Coast, unique in its ability to combine cutting-edge, real time research with the educational programming expertise of MSI and CINMS. Additionally, the synergy of these two major institutions, and an on-campus location, provides long-term sustainability for OCTOS. As a LEED™ Gold building, OCTOS will provide a model of sustainable design with exhibits that highlight the green design features and demonstrate ways that visitors can reduce their own energy use and environmental impacts. The location of OCTOS on a coastal bluff overlooking the ocean, and surrounded by native coastal landscaping, encourages visitors to learn about California coastal ecosystems.

These scenario-based activities include a transect of the ocean floor (an innovative structure making its debut at OCTOS) and a “magic planet” that enables students to view what they see in the transect in the context of global conditions based on actual data inputs. Additional features of the outreach wing include a multipurpose (wet) class laboratory, immersive theatre and classrooms, as well as an entry court and gathering place. The building has been designed by EHDD, a national award-winning leader in sustainable architecture whose expertise is proven in buildings for science (Carnegie Institute for Science) and public aquariums (Monterey Bay Aquarium).

Distinguished for its global leadership in preparing tomorrow’s leaders in science and conservation, and for its collaborative spirit among the sciences, MSI’s partnership with CINMS reflects its commitment to expanding opportunities for science and education while integrating research with educational outreach. The vision for OCTOS is for the process of science to find its place where the skills of inquiry, critical thinking, and communication are applied to understanding and appreciating the unique environment of our neighboring ocean. Through study of these extraordinary local resources, students can begin to understand the important role oceans play on our planet and begin to see the opportunities for solving key global issues through the study of science.

Visit our OCTOS website (http://octos.ucsb.edu/) to learn more about the development of this exciting new outreach facility.