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Marine Science Center records

 Collection
Identifier: A123

Scope and Content Note

The collection spans 1946 through 2006 and it is divided into two series: I. Administrative Files, and II. Academic Research. The Administrative Files include material documenting student records, the Mysis research vessel, MSC's attempts at expansion, annual reviews, and correspondence with Northeastern administrators in Boston. Grants in this series pertaining to general equipment, maintenance and renovation projects. Student files in box 2 mostly document Professor Riser's correspondence with graduate students regarding their admissions and schoolwork, and the faculty files in box 1 document hiring correspondence. There is also material documenting Professor Riser's personal and professional correspondence with marine biologists and museums all over the world, including Bertil Akesson, Harold Barnes, Gerard Bellan, Christer Erseus, Kristian Fauchald, R.M. Rieger, and Wilfried Westheide. The bulk of the collection consists of research conducted at MSC, specifically research done by Charles Ellis, Joseph L. Ayers, Nathan Riser and Kenneth Sebens. These include grant applications, research data, and resulting papers on topics such as sea lamprey and regeneration, rocky subtidal zones, nemertea, and marine ecology. The bulk of the research documented is Professor Riser's international work identifying several species of worms. The Subject Files in Series II contain research, papers, lecture notes and correspondence related to specific invertebrate and other projects taken on by the MSC.

Dates

  • 1946-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1966-1993

Creator

Language of Materials

Most of collection is in English, some correspondence in Spanish, French and German.

Conditions Governing Access:

Records are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation, unless researchers have written permission from the creating office. Personnel and student records are closed for 75 years from their date of creation.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use:

Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.

Historical Note

In 1967, the Marine Science Center, then the Marine Science Institute, was founded in order to provide space for master and doctoral level students and visiting scientists to conduct research in ocean chemistry, water quality, and pollution. The Marine Science Center (MSC) is in Nahant, Massachusetts on a former 20 acre Nike site originally used as a prisoner of war camp during the Spanish American War and later as a coastal defense center for the Army. There had been attempts made for some time by the Northeastern Biology department and President Asa S. Knowles to create a Marine Biology laboratory. After a failed attempt in Duxbury, Massachusetts to merge with an established laboratory, President Knowles begun soliciting support from Senators Edward Kennedy and Leverett Saltonstall once the Nahant site became available. Finally, the General Services Administration assigned the Nike Site to the Department of Health, Education and Welfare for transfer to Northeastern University without cost. It opened on October 29, 1969 as the David F. and Edna F. Edwards Marine Science Laboratory, which at the time was the only marine laboratory in the country owned by a private institution.

The Institute was the first underwater dwelling off the East Point Coast, and held the only university owned suspended sediment laboratory. As the Institute grew, it was used by Northeastern's departments of Earth Science, Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. In 1981, planning began to merge MSC with the Institute of Chemical Analysis, Applications and Forensic Science to become the Northeastern University Research Institute, but these plans were eventually scrapped. Renamed in 1982 as the Marine Science and Maritime Studies Center, MSC refocused on marine ecology, behavior, neurobiology, structural biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. By 1989, it was the only marine station on the New England Coast north of Cape Cod with a year round research facility. Now, the Marine Science Center is part of Northeastern University's Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, MSC was renovated and had its facilities upgraded. Around this time, MSC also attempted to start an Exploratory Environmental Research Center with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was unsuccessful.

A key figure for the Marine Science Center was Professor Nathan “Doc” Riser, a nemertea expert, who was the Director from 1967 until his retirement in 1985, though he continued his research at MSC until his passing in 2006. After his retirement, MSC hosted a monthly Riser Lecture series.

Currently, at the undergraduate level, the Marine Science Center and the department of Marine and Environmental Studies offer a Marine Biology major and the Three Seas Program, where students spend a year studying marine biology in three locations: Nahant, Panama and San Juan Island in Washington. At the Graduate level, there is a Master of Science in Marine Biology in conjunction with the Three Seas Program and a Ph.D. program in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology. MSC is still widely used by visiting researchers and local institutions, universities, and high school programs.

Chronology

1967
Northeastern University founds Marine Science Institute; Professor Nathan W. Riser is director
1969
David F. and Edna F. Edwards Marine Science Laboratory for the Marine Science Institute opens in Nahant, Massachusetts; Hosts “Cold Water Inshore Marine Biology- Some Regional Aspects” Symposium
1979
Robert Shepard becomes Acting Director will Professor Riser goes on sabbatical and focuses on teaching
1982
Center renames itself Marine Science and Maritime Studies Center
1983
Paul Rudy comes from Oregon State University as an Visiting Professor and Acting Director
1985
Nathan Riser retires; Center creates Riser Lectureship and hosts a monthly Riser Lecture series; Kenneth Sebens becomes director of MSC
1987
Center celebrates 20th anniversary; creates MSC Associates, a group of alumni and interested persons who wish to take part in Center's activities and development
1990
Center acquires the Mysis Research Vessel
1993
Joseph Ayers becomes Interim Director
1995
Joseph Ayers becomes Director
2003
Edward L. Jarroll becomes Director
2009
Geoffrey Trussell becomes Director

Extent

4.35 cubic feet (5 containers)

Overview

In 1967, the Marine Science Center, then the Marine Science Institute, was founded in order to provide space for master and doctoral level students and visiting scientists to conduct research in ocean chemistry, water quality, and pollution. The Marine Science Center (MSC), located in Nahant, opened on October 29, 1969 as the David F. and Edna F. Edwards Marine Science Laboratory. Renamed in 1982 as the Marine Science and Maritime Studies Center, MSC refocused on marine ecology, behavior, neurobiology, structural biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. A key figure for the Marine Science Center was Professor Nathan “Doc” Riser, a nemertea expert, who was the Director from 1967 until his retirement in 1985, though he continued his research at MSC until his passing in 2006. MSC is still widely used by visiting researchers and local institutions, universities, and high school programs.

Overview

The bulk of the collection consists of research conducted at MSC, specifically research done by Charles Ellis, Joseph L. Ayers, Nathan Riser and Kenneth Sebens. These include grant applications, research data, and resulting papers on topics such as sea lamprey and regeneration, rocky subtidal zones, nemertea, and marine ecology. The Subject Files in Series II contain research, papers, and correspondence related to specific invertebrate and other marine science topics. The Administrative Files include material documenting student records, the Mysis research vessel, MSC's attempts at expansion, annual reviews, and correspondence with Northeastern administrators in Boston. There is also material documenting Professor Riser's personal and professional correspondence with marine biologists and museums all over the world.

System of Arrangement:

This collection is organized into two series: Series I. Administrative Files; and Series II. Academic Research.

Physical Location

36/2

Accruals:

Further accruals are expected

Related Archival Materials:

For photos of faculty, Nahant, the labs and events, please consult the Northeastern Archives Photograph collection (A103).


For Site Plans and Maps of the Nahant location, please consult Facilities Division Records (A094), FF6/Drawers 5 and 8.


For information regarding academic information, expansion plans and programs MSC was involved in, consult College of Arts and Sciences (A023), Boxes 9 and 20; Office of the Executive Vice President (A032), Box 1; Office of the President (Curry) (A072), Box 6; Office of the President (Knowles) (A003), Boxes 12 and 22; and Office of the Provost (A022), Boxes 1, 11, 18, 27, 41 and 69.

Bibliography

  • Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University Coming of Age: The Ryder Years (1975-1989). Boston: NU Press, 1995.
  • Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University: An Emerging Giant (1959-1975). Boston: NU Press, 1982.
  • Marine Science Center. Northeastern University Marine Science Center. 2014. http://www.northeastern.edu/marinescience.
  • Northeastern News. "Nahant- A Peaceful Home For Biology Freaks." January 25, 1974: 10.
  • Northeastern News. "Nahant- Northeastern University's Seaside Campus." February 16, 1977: 6.
Title
Finding aid for the Marine Science Center Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Martha Pearson
Date
April 1, 2014
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Snell Library
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston MA 02115 US