An academic controversy has torn apart the 43-year-old environmental nonprofit the Bay Institute, with nearly the whole staff quitting because the president is publishing a book against their wishes.

Our reporting on the San Francisco Bay Area is sometimes peppered with research from an environmental advocacy nonprofit known as the Bay Institute. It’s a fairly small research group that studies the ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, plus their tributaries.

But it would be an understatement to say that the Bay Institute is in turmoil at the moment, as the Chronicle reports that 85% of the Bay Institute’s staff just quit because the organization is publishing a book of their research, with the research not having been updated or peer-reviewed yet. (Peer review is a process where other scientists double check the accuracy of the research.)

And whether or not it's related, the Bay Institute's website Bay.org happened to be down on Monday afternoon, and now redirects to the website for SF’s Aquarium of the Bay, which the Bay Institute manages.

Granted, only six people quit, but that’s out of seven employees. The revolt comes over the impending publication of their book Atlas of California Water Use and Water Equity, which the staff wrote themselves, but they’re against it being published without updates or review by other independent scientists.

“We had no choice but to resign in order to protect our personal integrity, credibility and reputation for accuracy,” the institute’s freshly resigned program director Gary Bobker said in a statement published by the Chronicle.

The Bay Institute themselves has not said whether this will affect the publishing of the book.

“The board of directors at Bay.org take very seriously the recent turn of events that have transpired at the Bay Institute. We are laser focused on the issue and are working diligently toward a resolution,” Bay.org board chairperson Jon B. Fisher told the Chronicle.

And that one staff member out of the seven who did not quit? The Chronicle reports that person “moved to another position at Bay.org,” which means the Bay Institute currently has no working staff.

Related: Study: River Diversions Have Totally Screwed The San Francisco Bay [SFNews]

Image: トモ Tomo Toro E T. via Yelp