The DAVID STARR JORDAN was built in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1964 and commissioned in San Diego, CA, in 1966. The ship was designed and built for the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, which later became part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for the purpose of fisheries research in the tropical Pacific. Since commissioning, the DAVID STARR JORDAN has logged over a million miles while studying the biological and physical oceanography of the southwestern U.S. coast and the eastern tropical Pacific. The vessel is operated by NOAA Marine and Aviation Operations.
The ship is named after Dr. David Starr Jordan (1851-1931). Dr. Jordan was one of the best known naturalists and educators of his time. He wrote more than 50 books and published over 600 scientific papers on topics ranging from ichthyology (the branch of zoology dealing with fish) to advancing world peace. In 1879, at the age 34, Dr. Jordan became president of Indiana University. In 1891, he was selected as the first president of Stanford University , a post he held for 25 years. Dr. Jordan was a member of the California State Fish Commission, and his investigations of the exploitation of the salmon and fur seal populations helped save these species.