The CTD is a much used tool in the world of oceanography. We send it up and down the ocean, from surface to bottom, gathering data and water samples. As depth increases, so does the pressure. And a fun way to demonstrate the crushing pressure of a 1000 meters of water, is to literally crush things! Sending some decorated Polystyrene coffee cups along for a ride is a bit of a tradition on oceanographic cruises. The result? Some very tiny coffee cups to place upon your desk and remind you of your adventures at sea.
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By Michelle Marraffini
Invertebrate Zoology Lab
The labs are a buzz gearing up for this year’s Open House festivities. If you haven’t heard, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories host an annual Open House during our spring semester. This large public outreach event allows our neighbors, local school children, parents, and hopefully incoming graduate students to interact with current students, faculty, and staff in a fun, exciting way. This event will include a scavenger hunt, seminar talks, dune walks, a marine themed puppet show, and so much more. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to take a behind the scenes look at our lab and the research we are doing.
See you there April 21st and 22nd!!!
For more details visit our website at openhouse.mlml.calstate.edu
by Alexis Howard
Seasons changing kelp
Many competing stages
By Catherine Drake, Invertebrate Zoology Lab
Other than a few awesome, albeit too short, trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I hadn’t spent much time in the Central Coast. So when I moved up here for graduate school at MLML, I didn’t know much about the area; that is, until my MS 141 class. Geological Oceanography—taught by Dr. Ivano Aiello—involves learning about the formation of minerals and rocks, as well as geological mechanisms such as plate tectonics. We’ve taken field trips almost every week to various locations along the Central Coast and inland as well. One of my favorite field trips was our overnight trip to Point Reyes, where we stayed in an old lifeboat station while we observed different types of rock formations.
We examined multiple sedimentary rocks both along our journey to the station and also once we had arrived. One of the depositions we inspected was an outcrop of radiolarian cherts. These deposits sit underneath about half of the Marin Headlands, are resistant to weathering, and can be up to 200 million years old. They are comprised of radiolarians, which are protozoans that form siliceous (made of silica) skeletons. As these organisms decompose, a radiolarian ooze is formed in the deep ocean; over time, deposition occurs along the seafloor, forming the well-bedded radiolarian cherts.
Igneous rocks were also on our list of stops, as we went to a formation of pillow basalts. They are formed underwater as lava comes in contact with seawater and cools rapidly. Basalts are generally aphanitic rocks, meaning that they cool down too quickly for any minerals to form as the magma cools. As they are created, pillow basalts form ellipsoidal shapes and depict the direction of the lava flow.
It was so surreal to touch igneous and sedimentary structures that formed hundreds of millions of years ago. Examining these rocks helped me better understand the geological mechanisms involved in their formation. Not only did these sedimentary depositions and igneous rocks help me become more acquainted with the Central Coast, but they also demonstrated the fact that oceans are integral components to the geologic history of our planet.
Scientists have been studying the Axial Seamount for 13 years and predicted it would erupt before 2014. Check the video out here.
At Moss Landing Marine Lab we take our science seriously, well most of the year, but once a year we put on a lab wide olympic type competition among students, administration and faculty. The events consist of relays with putting on rubber pants, blind SCUBA slate assembly, hula hoop sampling toss, pie eating and marine animal puzzle completion and human bowling. The blind SCUBA slate setup is meant to simulate blackout conditions while diving, it’s a good thing the competitors dont have to use thick gloves as it would be much harder! Our very own marine lab director, Kenneth Coale, was training for his next poor visibility dive in the picture above. Our Dive Safety Officer, Diana Steller, uses a hula hoop to try to get the higher point marine animals in the sampling toss event. The lab olympics are a great way to celebrate ending spring classes and get the lab together to have some competitive fun.
As the school year winds to a close, Moss Landing students get ready to unleash their post-finals jubilation on the time-honored Lab Olympics. These contestants from last year have survived a pie-eating contest, one of may challenges facing the would-be Lab Olympic champion. This year’s event is approaching next week – what daring feats of skill will come to pass? Stay tuned to find out!
Open House is a great way to spend a weekend as a family – we have activities that are fun for all ages! Come by the touch tank to pet a sea star or a snail!
When you come visit us at Open House, the friendly students at the info booth will tell you everything you need to know about what there is to see. You can pick a map and a schedule to make sure you don’t miss anything. Our schedule is also available at our Open House website. Check the line up of seminar topics, tours and puppet shows!