Scripps chemist studied effects of sea pollution

Times Staff Writer

Edward D. Goldberg, a marine chemist at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography who studied the effects of ocean pollution, died March 7 at his Encinitas home in northern San Diego County after a long illness, the institute announced. He was 86.

A member of the Scripps faculty since 1949, Goldberg helped develop the federally funded Mussel Watch program in the 1970s to measure the levels of contaminants in mussels and other shellfish that concentrate pollutants in their tissue.

In the 1980s, after finding high levels of the toxic chemical tributyltin in mussels in San Diego Bay, he called for a ban on marine paint treated with the chemical. Although the paint was intended to keep barnacles and algae off boat hulls, he found it was also poisoning marine life. The study influenced the state of California and the U.S. Navy to tighten controls on use of the chemically treated paint.

“Ed Goldberg earned the reputation not only as an extraordinary marine chemist but also as an engaging professor who truly inspired his students,” Scripps director Tony Haymet said in a statement. “He was always willing to tackle the tough issues facing the marine environment, and our harbors and seas are better off due to Ed’s enduring dedication and commitment.”


Goldberg won the prestigious Tyler Prize for environmental science in 1989 for his efforts to find solutions to ocean pollution.

Born Aug. 2, 1921, in Sacramento, Goldberg received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1942, served in the Navy during World War II, then earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1949.

He is survived by his wife, Kathe Bertine Goldberg, a retired professor of geosciences at San Diego State University; son David of San Diego; daughters Wendy Goldberg Newton of Portland, Ore., Kiri Goldberg Rubin of Phoenix and Beck Goldberg of San Diego; three grandchildren; and a sister.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. March 29 at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Martin Johnson House, 8840 Biological Grade, La Jolla. The family requests that donations be made to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geosciences Research Division, payable to UC Regents, 9500 Gilman Drive, 0210, La Jolla, CA 92093-0210.