Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Haiku of the Week: Seaweed in a changing ocean

February 20, 2012

by Alexis Howard

Seasons changing kelp

Many competing stages

Pheromone driven

Lexi holding reproductive Nereocystis luetkeana (Photo by Arley Muth)

Learning About the Central Coast Through Geological Oceanography

November 14, 2011

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.

The lifeboat station was built in 1927 at Chimeny Rock in Point Reyes.

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.

Radiolarian cherts are formed from years of deposition of radiolarian siliceous skeletons on the seafloor.

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.

Behind the class are pillow basalts, which are igneous rocks formed underwater as lava comes in contact with seawater and rapidly cools down.

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.

Underwater Volcano Forecasting

August 13, 2011

Scientists have been studying the Axial Seamount for 13 years and predicted it would erupt before 2014.  Check the video out here.

MLML Science Olympics?

May 28, 2011

One of the most challenging events during our MLML Lab olympics was the blind SCUBA slate assembly. Kenneth Coale and Gillian Rhett get advice from teammates on finding the hardware for the slates.

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.

Our very own Dive Safety Officer, Diana Steller, uses the hula hoop sampling device to try to lasso some marine animals.

Eyes on the Pies

May 20, 2011

No mess, no glory! (photo: E. Loury)

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!

Drop-In to MLML Open House: Family Fun at the Touch Tank

April 26, 2011

photo: E. Loury

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!

MLML Open House is Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1.

photo: E. Loury

Drop-In to MLML Open House: Drop By the Info Booth

April 24, 2011

photo: E. Loury

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!

MLML Open House is Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1.

We can't wait to say "Hi" to you!

Drop-In to MLML Open House: Micro Rhodoliths

April 23, 2011

photo: E. Loury

Open House is a great chance to get a close up look at things you’ve never seen, like sediments made from a type of coralline algae called rhodoliths.  Geological Oceanography alumna Elsie Tanadjaja shows visitors her rhodolith samples from a microscopic perspective.

MLML Open House is only one week away,  Saturday, April 30 & Sunday, May 1!

A Slough of Starry Flounder and Sticklebacks

March 27, 2011

photo: E. Loury

What kind of fish can you net in Elkhorn Slough just down the road from MLML?  After the Ichthyology class set our nets on a field trip, we pulled in all kinds of sandy bottom fishes, like this Starry Flounder.  A flat shape and a mottled pattern are perfect adaptations for blending in to the sandy floor.

photo. E. Loury

This Three Spined Stickleback came from deeper in the channel of the slough.  The males build nests out of vegetation and guard them once the females lay their eggs.  Spiny defenses can come in handy when the next generation is at stake!

photo: E. Loury

A Cucumber With Warts? I’ll Skip That Salad Topper.

February 24, 2011

(photo: S. Jeffries)

Although this warty sea cucumber may not look very appetizing to you, there is a commercial fishery for them in California as they are sold in Asian markets for both food and medicine.  This warty sea cucumber wasn’t harvested, however, as the only thing that MLML intern Sarah Jeffries took while she was underwater was a photograph.


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