Healing Our Oceans | UCSB Current

Marc and Lynn Benioff donate $60 million to UC Santa Barbara, one of the world’s most important marine research centers, to improve and protect ocean health through science and technology Did.

This new donation is the largest ever for marine science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is one of the largest donations known to support marine research.

This donation builds on a legacy of support for Benioff’s campus to address ocean problems and advance science-based solutions, and establishes the new Benioff Institute for Marine Science. They have previously invested more than $28 million in marine programs and collaborative partnerships at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Henry Yang, President of the University of California, Santa Barbara, said: “This groundbreaking gift to establish the Benioff Institute for Marine Science highlights Benioff’s continued commitment to marine science research that seeks to address the most pressing marine environmental problems of our time. The Institute builds on the work of the Benioff Ocean Initiative, which, under the leadership of Professor Douglas Macquarie, has conducted groundbreaking research to expand our knowledge and understanding of marine ecosystems and improve the world’s biodiversity. Promoted innovative solutions to problems facing the ocean.

“We appreciate Mark and Lynn’s unwavering dedication to environmental protection and are honored to partner with the University of California, Santa Barbara at the Benioff Marine Initiative and the Benioff Institute for Marine Science,” Yang said. continued. “This is a testament to the trust and confidence they have in our campus.”

A large portion of this transformative philanthropic effort, $50 million, will be used to expand the vital work of the Benioff Institute for Marine Science (formerly the Benioff Ocean Initiative). The rest of his $10 million will be invested in upgrading and refurbishing the university’s Marine Biotechnology Lab, a premier marine research facility overlooking Campus Point. The building will be renamed to honor the Benioffs’ commitment to marine science.

“Around the world, our oceans, the millions of species that live in them, and the billions of people who depend on healthy oceans are at risk. The growing damage to the human population should not be a legacy we pass on to future generations,” said Marc Benioff. “Lynn and I are working with the amazing marine science community at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the marine scientists who have built internationally to develop the innovative solutions needed to restore the health of our oceans and planet. We are very grateful to be able to support this collaboration.”

In 2016, the Benioffs donated $10 million to establish the Benioff Ocean Initiative at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The effort has since grown into a globally respected model for replicating these successes, using science to collectively solve the world’s most pressing ocean problems.

And then there was success.

The newly renamed Benioff Institute of Marine Science Group has partnered with researchers around the world on Whale Safe, California’s first automated whale detection system. Aimed at preventing whale-ship collisions, a major threat to the recovery of endangered whale populations, the system is powered by artificial intelligence, whale spawning data, and satellite data. . Whale Safe was tested in the Santa Barbara Channel. The Benioff Oceans team today announced the launch of an expansion system off the coast of San Francisco to reduce whale mortality in the Bay Area.

In addition, scientists, working with communities around the world in the Clean Currents Coalition, have pioneered new ways to stop plastic pollution in our oceans by first catching plastic pollution in rivers. Teams in Ecuador, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia have developed technology to stop over 2 million pounds of plastic waste and reuse or recycle most of it. A semi-autonomous interceptor known as “Trash” has just been launched in Panama. This is a milestone in the global fight against plastic pollution.

Ambassador Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for Ocean Affairs, said: “This represents a significant contribution in support of his decade of United Nations marine science. I am doing it.”

Benioff Oceans Group has also developed a new tool to detect sharks using drones to promote coexistence between humans and sharks. Harnessing the power of ocean big data to help create new protected areas in the oceans and strategically manage the high seas. It also used science to promote awareness of how new industrial activities such as ocean mining can adversely affect ocean health.

With a vital mission to promote diversity in ocean science and creating ocean solutions, the Benioff Institute of Marine Science works with Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, and other underrepresented communities at the University of California, Santa Barbara. We offer paid internships to undergraduates and partner with marine outreach and training programs. We support research on environmental justice at sea.

next? The institute is in the planning stages of his $10 million challenge to contribute to global efforts to halt the progress of climate change. Details of the formal launch and engagement of this new climate project will be announced next year.

“We are proud of what our team has accomplished so far at UC Santa Barbara, but the most important work is yet to come,” said McCauley, Institute Director. “The Benioff Institute of Marine Science is excited to dedicate the full scientific power of the University of California, Santa Barbara to the urgent fight against climate change. Not only are we, we all do.”

Much of that work will certainly take place in what is today known as the Marine Biotechnology Lab Building. For decades, the building has served as the center of marine research at UC Santa Barbara, hosting researchers and students from across campus. Scientists based there have contributed to major discoveries, including advances in materials science inspired by abalone, squid and other marine life. A major study of how carbon and silicon cycle in the ocean. A new plastic innovation that decomposes in the ocean. There are also promising new ways to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in the oceans, slowing climate change.

These facilities will be modernized and greatly improved thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Benioff. The Benioffs’ gift is an unprecedented investment in the future of marine science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In recognition of their commitment to their heritage and in their honor, the building will also be renamed the Benioff Institute of Marine Science.

“This innovative gift builds on the Benioff Institute of Marine Science team’s previous successes to help us better understand our marine environment and apply practical solutions to the problems we face.” We support cutting-edge research and technological advances,” said Pierre. Wiltzius, Susan, and Bruce Worster Dean of Science, University of California, Santa Barbara. “The extraordinary vision and generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Benioff have strengthened UC Santa Barbara as one of the West Coast’s leading marine research institutions.”

Learn more about the research and achievements of the Benioff Institute of Marine Science here.

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