Romberg Tiburon Center for Environmental Studies

Image: Ripples on water

SF State's bayside marine and estuarine research facility.



Romberg Tiburon Center conducts scientific studies in San Francisco Bay and around the globe, from Alaska to Antarctica. The Center’s research mission is to advance understanding and conservation of marine, estuarine and coastal environments, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, through the integration of research, education and outreach.


RTC's scientists, scholars, and graduate students are investigating topics at local, regional, and global scales, including:

• evolutionary ecology and population connectivity in marine organisms such as seahorses, sea squirts, zooplankton, and eelgrass,

• physiological responses of marine organisms to environmental stresses such as increased temperature, salinity variation, and ocean acidification,

• coastal and marine spatial planning and Geographic Information System (GIS) applications for science and decision making,

• ecology of microbes, including coccolithophores and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) from the Amazon to Antarctica,

• physiology and ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), and the potential of algal biofuel production,

• phytoplankton response to carbon dioxide and nutrient variability from natural and pollution sources,

• impacts of non-native species, nutrient cycles and restoration techniques in salt marshes and seagrass beds,

• feeding, growth and effects of predation on copepods, and their role in the food web of the San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem,

• effects of man-made changes to the nearshore environment, and how gradual and recurring changes in climate will affect coastal ocean dynamics,

• the organic carbon cycle, including the sources, movement and fate of organic carbon at the land-ocean margin, and

• environmental monitoring in San Francisco Bay, including temperature, salinity, turbidity, chlorophyll content, and real-time currents.


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