A UCSB researcher will analyze the relationship between mountain ranges and the ocean, and provide insight into the actual purity of runoff streams, as part of a lecture downtown tonight.

Dr. Michael McGinnis, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Center at UCSB, will present the final installment of a free three-part lecture series, “The Ocean in Trouble: Where Do We Go from Here?” tonight at the Schott Center.

McGinnis’ lecture, titled “Making the Watershed Connection,” will focus on the links between the creeks and coastal watersheds within Santa Barbara County, and their effects on marine life.

“I will focus on marine-coastal interface within the region. I will discuss issues pertaining to the northern Channel Islands – the marine sanctuary,” McGinnis said. “I’ll also discuss coastal water-land and watershed and how they are connected – basically the link between the mountains and the ocean.”

McGinnis received his Ph.D. from UCSB in 1993 and taught at the University of Oregon before returning to UCSB in 1995.

“I became an associate of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Center in 1995,” he said. “[The center has] been focusing on research between the two regions of coastal and marine. We focus on watershed-based restoration and management in California. We’re also working on a large project on ecological restoration.”

The series, sponsored by Santa Barbara City College’s Education Division, has centered on the increasing onshore waste that drains into coastal waters, and previously featured Heal the Ocean Director Hillary Houser and Lawrence Laurent, a marine biologist. Hauser led the series on Jan. 22 with a lecture focusing on the series theme – “Where Do We Go From Here?” Laurent’s lecture the following week dealt with the effects of urbanization on the marine environment.

McGinnis’ lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Tannahill Auditorium of the Schott Center, located at 310 West Padre Street.