MLML: 50 Glorious, Weird, Fun, Productive, and Successful Years

By Jim Harvey (5 August 2016)

In the 50 years of its existence MLML has accomplished a great deal. Kenneth Coale calls it the “Little Marine Lab that Could”. John Martin said that its success was due to the MLML “spirit”. It certainly has a lot to do with people working together to achieve individual and institutional goals. It is truly remarkable that ethos is a part of all the people that work here. It does not matter if you are cleaning floors, working on facilities, maintaining and running boats, getting a M.S. degree,  shelving books, or mentoring students, everyone seems to like their job and know how important each person is to the greater good.

This is the last blog before the Anniversary weekend, but I hope we can continue to produce blogs into the future. There are still many stories to tell of the past, and innumerable ones starting right now. So anyone that has a blog idea please let me know, we want to continue this saga. But this week’s blog is sort of a summary, or a celebration of the 50 years of MLML and its SPIRIT.

Because the main purpose of MLML is to educate students and specifically to provide a topnotch Masters program in Marine Science, the people that have created this successful model have been the Faculty. Below is the list of the faculty (and some random pictures) and when they were here. It is the best I have right now, so if there are inaccuracies please let me know.

Directors of MLML

  • 1965 – 1971         John Harville
  • 1971 – 1972         Robert Arnal
  • 1972 – 1976         Robert Hurley
  • 1976 – 1993         John Martin
  • 1993 – 1994         Jim Nybakken
  • 1994 – 1998         Gary Greene
  • 1998 – 1998         Jim Nybakken
  • 1998 – 2011         Kenneth Coale
  • 2011 – now            Jim Harvey
Library dinner_2001_Lynne and
Gary Greene and wife Lynn


Library dinner_2001_Jim,Gary,S
Jim Harvey, Barry Giles, Simona Bartl, Kenneth Coale, and Joan Parker.


Faculty of MLML

Fac Retreat 04 (1)_72res
Faculty in 1997: L to R: Kenneth Coale, Jon Geller, Mike Graham, Joan Parker, Nick Welschmeyer, Erika McPhee-Shaw, Jim Harvey, Greg Cailliet, Gary Greene



  • 1973 – 1976         Tom Thompson
  • 1976 – 2002         Mike Foster
  • 2002 – now           Mike Graham
Ann Hurley


Mike Foster - MAY 2004
Mike Foster


Invertebrate Biology

  • 1966 – 1998         Jim Nybakken
  • 1976 – 1980         Ann Hurley
  • 1999 – now           Jon Geller
Jon Geller(1)
Jon Geller



  • 1971 – 2011         Greg Cailliet
  • 2011 – now             Scott Hamilton
Greg and Di
Greg Cailliet and wife Di


Mammals and Birds

  • 1966 – 1979         G. Victor Morejohn
  • 1981 – 1989         Bernd Wursig
  • 1989 – 2011         Jim Harvey
  • 2015 – now           Gitte McDonald
Bernd Wursig


Physical Oceanography

  • 1969 – 2000         Bill Broenkow
  • 2000 – 2014         Erika McPhee-Shaw
  • 2015 – now           Tom Connolly
William Broenkowinlab
Bill Broenkow


Erika McPhee-Shaw


Geological Oceanography

  • 1966 – 1978         Robert Arnal
  • 1978 – 1982         Hank Mullins
  • 1983 – 1992         Mike Ledbetter
  • 1994 – 2004         Gary Greene
  • 2006 – now            Ivano Aiello
Gary Greene


Chemical Oceanography

  • 1988 – 1998         Ken Johnson
  • 1998 – now          Kenneth Coale
Ken Johnson


Biological Oceanography

  • 1971 – 1972         Mary Silver
  • 1972 – 1976         John Martin
  • 1979 – 1986         George Knauer
  • 1989 – now            Nick Welschmeyer
Nic Welshmeyer
Nick Welschmeyer



  • 19     – 1978          Doris Baron
  • 1978 – 1994        Sheila Baldridge
  • 1995 – 2015        Joan Parker
  • 2016 – now          Katie Lage
Sheila Baldridge


Diving Safety Officer

  • 1973 – 1976         Tom Thompson
  • 1976 – 1980         Ann Hurley
  • 1976 – 1985         Mike Foster
  • 1985 – 2002        John Heine
  • 2002 – now           Diana Steller
John Heine


Diana Steller


We are, of course, most proud of the students that come out of this institution. They have gone on to become professors, Federal and State resource managers, teachers, researchers, and conservationists. I am sure that most have been successful in some small or large part because of their MLML education. The student body at MLML is mostly graduate students, especially recently, but it is constantly changing. The graph below shows the number of graduate and undergraduate students registered at MLML for the past 50 years.

MLML enrollment
Number of graduate students (red) and undergraduates (blue) students registered at MLML for Fall and Spring semesters since the beginning of courses at MLML in 1966. No, there was not a catastrophe in 1974, we just can’t find the data.


The MLML student body has changed, from a male dominated group to mostly females. As you can see from the figure below, when MLML started in the mid-1960s it was nearly 80% males in the program, and now females represent nearly 80% of our graduate students.

sex ratio graph
Percentage of female (reddish) and male (bluish) incoming students to MLML from 1970 to 2016.


During its existence MLML also has built a worldwide reputation in science, public service, and outreach. We estimate that MLML has generated in excess of $400 million in research funding. Much of this funding is the result of a burgeoning research community that assists with some of the educational goals (these are the Research Faculty) or are purely soft-money researchers that are an integral part of the MLML success (there are the Research Affiliates). These Research Faculty and Affiliates train and hire MLML students, add diversity to the research endeavors, and greatly expand our research capacity.  Below is a graph of the recent history of MLML research funding.

MLML Proposal Activity 1998 -2015
Amount of research dollars awarded (red) and proposed (blue) from 1998 to 2015 by the total MLML research efforts. .


MLML has grown, evolved,  and thrived because everyone that comes here works hard, is dedicated, works together, and has fun. It has been a wonderful ride.

Along those lines we also want to get copies of photos. Many of you took pictures when you were at MLML or have spectacular ocean-themed shots. We would like to use them for a variety of purposes if you are willing so send us your photos, we can scan pictures or 35mm slides, then we will return them. Or bring them to the 50th celebration.