Telonicher Marine Lab History

The marine lab was conceived in the early 1960s by HSU Professors William Laphear (Wildlife), Fred Telonicher (Zoology), and Harrie MacGiinitie (Physical Science and Facilities). The motivation was to develop a lab for the rapidly growing fisheries and aquaculture industry in the region and build on the student experiences of Telonicher at Hopkins Marine Station and Lamphere at Friday Harbor Marine Laboratory. At the time of the lab's conception there were no marine labs located between Monterey and Puget Sound and Eureka had the third largest fishing fleet in the state.

The area of the marine lab in Trinidad in 1965, prior to construction. Photo: HSU.

The area of the marine lab in Trinidad in 1965, prior to construction. Photo: HSU.

The current location of the marine lab in Trinidad in 1965, prior to construction. Photo: HSU.

The current location of the marine lab in Trinidad in 1965, prior to construction. Photo: HSU.

The plan for the marine lab was approved in 1961 and bidding began in April 1965 for the $524,962 contract. The contract was awarded to the Baldwin Warren Company of San Francisco. Ground was broken in June of 1965 and the lab opened in spring 1966. At that time the initial-phase of the lab consisted of 7,237 sq. ft which included a 24 station teaching lab, a two station faculty office, and a 50,000 gallon seawater system. The total cost of the initial phase of the marine lab was $653,000.

Surveying site for the future marine lab, 1965. Photo: HSU.

Surveying site for the future marine lab, 1965. Photo: HSU.

Breaking ground for the marine lab, June 1965. HSU President Siemens (far left), Marine Lab Director James Gast (far right). Photo: HSU.

Breaking ground for the marine lab, June 1965. HSU President Siemens (far left), Marine Lab Director James Gast (far right). Photo: HSU.

 Trinidad and the marine lab in the late 1960s, before the lab was expanded. Note the absence of ocean   front homes near the lab at that time. Photo: HSU.

 Trinidad and the marine lab in the late 1960s, before the lab was expanded. Note the absence of ocean   front homes near the lab at that time. Photo: HSU.

A second 50,000 gallon water storage tank was added a few years later. In 1974 an additional 9,000 sq. ft. building was added on the south side of the lab which largely completed the footprint of the lab today.

Another view in the late 1960s. Photo: HSU.

Another view in the late 1960s. Photo: HSU.

Late 1960s/early 1970s, before the expansion. Photo: HSU.

Late 1960s/early 1970s, before the expansion. Photo: HSU.

The original wet lab in the early days. Photo: HSU

The original wet lab in the early days. Photo: HSU

Hanging out in the new wet lab, 1960s. Dr. James Gast (center). Photos: HSU.

Hanging out in the new wet lab, 1960s. Dr. James Gast (center). Photos: HSU.

Over the decades the lab has been modified by subdividing the 1974 expansion into additional classrooms, faculty offices, instrument rooms, and faculty research laboratories. The seawater system underwent a major renovation in 2010 with funding from the National Science Foundation and Private donors. The old wet lab was completely gutted and a new seawater piping system was installed along with state-of-the-art water tables and supporting structures. The public aquaria were also renovated and updated along with the installation of a small aquarium room for student projects and renovation of the culture room.

The wet lab as it appeared just before the 2010 renovation. At that time the lab was over 40 years old and constant exposure to seawater had taken its toll.

The wet lab as it appeared just before the 2010 renovation. At that time the lab was over 40 years old and constant exposure to seawater had taken its toll.

The renovation process in the wet lab, 2011.

The renovation process in the wet lab, 2011.

Removing the public display tanks.

Removing the public display tanks.

The wet lab as it looks today. Photo: HSU.

The wet lab as it looks today. Photo: HSU.

See Also:


Directors of the HSU Marine Laboratory:

1964-1970: James Gast (Oceanography)
1970-1972: Gary Brusca (Biology)
1972-1974: George Crandell (Oceanography)
1974-1979: Ted Kerstetter (Biology)
1979-1984: John DeMartini (Biology)
1984-1990: Ronald Chaney (Environmental Engineering)
1990-1994: John Pequegnat (Oceanography)
1994-1996: Jeffry Borgeld (Oceanography)
1996-2001: Ronald Chaney (Environmental Engineering)
2001-2004: Dennis Thoney (Associate Dean)
2004-2005: David Hankin (Fisheries)
2005-2008: Scott Quackenbush (Associate Dean)
2008-2012: David Hankin (Fisheries)
2012-2013: John Reiss (Biology)
2013-present: Brian Tissot (Biology)


On Gary Brusca

for students of the California coast Gary may be best remembered for his excellence in the classroom and the field where he trained legions of marine biology students over the years at University of the Pacific (1964-1967) and Humboldt State University (1967-1998). One of his greatest joys in life were early morning field trips with students, arriving at the coast just as the sun was rising and the fog was lifting on those cold gray northern California beaches.