MESM Specialization: CMRM

COASTAL MARINE RESOURCES MANAGEMENT (CMRM)
Faculty Advisor: Chris Costello (MESM 2017) and Hunter Lenihan (MESM 2018)

Specialization Description

The Coastal Marine Resources Management specialization (CMRM) trains MESM students to address interdisciplinary questions related to marine coastal ecosystems. Coastal marine ecosystems provide a plethora of essential goods and services, including fisheries, navigation space, geochemical products and recycling, disposal space for anthropogenic wastes, and recreation. Managing these goods and services requires an understanding of natural and social sciences, economics, decision-making, behavior, law and institutions, and ethics.

Worldwide, societies are faced with the serious challenge of developing and implementing new strategies for managing at-risk coastal resources and communities that rely on them. CMRM students will be trained to meet this challenge through an interdisciplinary education in marine ecology, oceanography, marine policy and law, economics, and various forms of quantitative modeling. Students from the CMRM specialization will find employment in both the public (federal agencies; state and local governments; universities) and private (consulting firms; industry) sectors.

The University of California, Santa Barbara provides a unique academic setting for the CMRM specialization. Major breakthroughs in basic and applied marine science and related disciplines in policy, economics and sociology have been made by researchers from the Bren School, the Departments of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB), Environmental Science (ES), Geology (GEOL), and Geography (GEOG), and the Marine Science Institute (MSI). Marine-related research by UCSB biologists, engineers, economists, anthropologists, and political scientists is conducted both locally in the Santa Barbara Channel and worldwide in a diversity of marine ecosystems including coral reefs, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, and polar seas. CMRM students will be encouraged to interact with faculty, students, and staff from other departments and programs on campus that conduct coastal marine science and management.

The Bren School has particular research strengths in the following areas: (1) developing innovation in fisheries management through interdisciplinary research in fisheries ecology, conservation biology, resource economics, and governance; (2) ecotoxicology, especially concerning emerging nanotechnology; and (3) ecosystem restoration.  These all research emphases are often leveraged to develop novel and exciting Group Projects. 

Course Work

MESM students are required to take a minimum of 36 units of electives in their primary specialization. Students who pursue two specializations must meet the 36-unit requirement for each specialization. Some electives may count toward more than one specialization. Each CMRM student will tailor an individualized Program of Study (POS) with help from the CMRM specialization advisor and other Bren faculty. Most courses associated with this specialization are offered every year. If the course is marked with an asterisk (*), it will be offered every other year.

CMRM students should take the following courses:

ESM 260: Applied Marine Ecology

At least one of the following:

ESM 242: Natural Resources Economics and Policy

ESM 257: Coastal Marine Policy and Management

At least one oceanography course

Understanding the complex nature of coastal marine ecological processes as well as most policy and economic issues, requires knowledge of oceanographic processes. There is a rich supply of oceanography curriculum in other departments. The Bren School has deliberately avoided developing courses similar to those in other departments on campus and has focused on creating courses that will enhance the overall University curriculum. It is expected that CMRM students will participate in course offerings across the campus.

UCSB offers a variety of courses in physical, chemical, biological (i.e. open ocean), or geological oceanography. The following courses are most often included in CMRM students' programs of study.

ESM 254:

Coastal Marine Ecosystem Processes

EEMB 142A:

Aquatic Communities

EEMB 243: Biological Oceanography
EEMB 244: Marine Microbiology
EEMB 265: Field Studies in Marine Ecological Physiology
EARTH 266: Chemical Oceanography
EARTH 276: Geological Oceanography
GEOG 262: Upper Ocean Physical Processes
GEOG 263: Intro to Physical Oceanography

The full menu of marine-focused offerings in other departments can be found on the Interdepartmental Graduate Program in Marine Science website.

CMRM students must take at least one of the following courses to strengthen technical skills:

ESM 232: Environmental Modeling
ESM 244: Advanced Data Analysis
ESM 262: Computing for Environmental Science & Management
ESM 263: Geographic Information Systems
*ESM 266: Remote Sensing
ESM 296: Advanced Topics in Environmental Management: Econometrics
EEMB 225: Dynamics of Ecological Systems
EEMB 279: Modeling Environmental and Ecological Change


The rest of the courses in a CMRM student's program of study should be selected to develop knowledge and skills appropriate for the student's specific career interests, whether in policy, conservation, restoration, pollution control/prevention, business applications, etc.

The following courses may also provide curriculum opportunities of value for CMRM students:


ESM 245: Cost Benefit Analysis
ESM 248: Environmental Institutions
ESM 285: Environmental Markets
ESM 293: Advanced Special Topics in Energy and Climate
ESM 294: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Law
ESM 296: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Management

ESM 297:

Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Policy

ESM 299: Advanced Special Topics in Environmental Science
ESM 430: Workshops in Environmental Science and Management
ESM 436: Workshops in Legal Issue in Environmental Problem Solving
ESM 437: Writing for Environmental Professionals
ESM 440: Advanced Environmental Communication