Scripps Pier silhouetted by sunset

The Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) located in San Diego, is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego. As an integral part of the academic environment of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California, San Diego, MPL plays an important part in the sponsorship and supervision of graduate student research in areas of ocean sciences and technology.

As a Navy funded, academic laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, the Marine Physical Laboratory has a dual mission:

To investigate and apply knowledge about the ocean, its boundaries and the surrounding media to the solution of the Navy's problems in undersea warfare and ocean technology; and 

To provide research training of students in areas of oceanography and ocean technology which have application to Navy requirements.

Originally established as a Navy-orientated research laboratory in 1946, MPL has maintained a strong multidisciplinary research programconsisting entirely of sponsored projects, with a large sponsorship from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Exploratory and technology based research and development appropriate to these programs are conducted at the Laboratory, as well as the development of unique underwater sensor systems designed to meet specific research applications.


As part of the University of California, MPL receives a small appropriation of state support with primary funding coming from the U.S. Navy and the National Science Foundation and other agencies of the federal government in support of collaborative research by MPL's Principal Investigators.

The Laboratory consists of individual research groups headed by Principal Investigators with a common interest in Observational Ocean Science with emphasis on developing state-of-the-art instrumentation for studying ocean acoustic and seismic propagation, air-sea interaction, ocean volume dynamics and ocean bottom geophysics. A common administrative staff and industrial machine shop facility support the MPL research groups.

The MPL Principal Investigators are UCSD Research and Faculty members, some holding joint appointments outside SIO. This results in a strong academic link enabling graduate students to benefit from the multi-disciplinary resources of the University and provides an environment to address real-world research issues. In addition to research and teaching activities, MPL academics participate in the long-range planning of special interest to the Navy and other government agency research programs, the research community of UCSD and other public service activities.