FAQ (harbor seals)

How long has the lab been here?

Bodega Head has been a field site for researchers and students since the 1920s. The Laboratory was founded in 1960 by UC Berkeley and the first building was completed in 1966 (construction funded by the National Science Foundation). The second building was completed in 1977. BML was transferred to UC Davis in 1983.

How many people work here?

On average there are about 100 people daily ranging from faculty to undergraduates taking classes. There are also numerous visiting scientists and graduate students from other campuses around the state, country, and world.

Numbers of People Working at or Visiting BML Annually

  • Resident Faculty - 7
  • Other Research Scientists (UC and Non-UC) - 100
  • Graduate Students - 100
  • Resident Undergraduates - 60
  • Field Trip Undergraduates - 1000
  • Research Staff - 35
  • Support Staff - 35
  • Volunteers - 75
  • Visitors/Schools - 10,000

Does BML grant degrees?

No, students from UC Davis and other campuses take classes and receive credit, and graduate students perform BML research, but all receive degrees at their home institution. See Academic Programs.

What kinds of research do scientists do at BML?

Please see Research Programs at Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Can I take a walk on the Reserve?

The Overlook Trail that connects from the State Park area at the top of Bodega Head across the Reserve, through the dunes and out to Salmon Creek Beach is open and available to the public (see trails on Bodega Head section of map). Access to other areas of the Reserve is restricted to protect long-term research sites from disturbance. Open access public hiking and other recreational activities in similar habitats are widely available in adjacent State Park and Sonoma County Regional Park areas on Bodega Head. Map of Bodega Bay area.

What is the weather like on the coast right now?

Please see the Bodega Ocean Observing Node for current conditions at Bodega Head.

Does BML do any work with marine mammals?

There are no marine mammals in the Laboratory. Some visiting researchers use BML as a base while studying migrating humpback and blue whales. UC Santa Cruz Long Marine Laboratory and the Marine Mammal Center (in Marin County) have strong marine mammal research programs.

I have found a stranded, injured, or dead marine mammal, what should I do?

BML does not rescue or track marine mammal strandings or deaths, please visit this link to report your sighting to the appropriate agency.

I found an injured bird or wild animal, should I bring it to BML?

BML does not perform wildlife rescue or rehabilitation.
Please contact: Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, (707) 526-WILD.
If you find an injured bird contact the Bird Rescue Center of Sonoma County, (707) 523-2473. Please be prepared to stay with the bird until rescue staff can be dispatched.

What programs do you offer to the public?

Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts docent-led tours every Friday starting at 2pm. These tours are free, but require a reservation, which can be made here.

If you are unable to make it for an in person tour, please visit our self-guided Virtual Tour of the Bodega Marine Laboratory and Reserve.

Organized group tours must be arranged in advance and are on Tues/Thurs, for more information see Visiting BML.

BML periodically holds a "Meet the Scientists" open house for the public, see the Calendar of Events for more information on upcoming events.

My child wants to become a marine biologist; how do I direct them?

Save for their college education and encourage them to do well in all science classes! BML currently offers classes for university-level students. You can also find information on careers in marine science on the following websites: