Archive for the ‘What’s Happening at MLML’ Category

Sea otters participate in coastal restoration

September 16, 2013

by Jackie Lindsey, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

There’s a new reason to love the world’s smallest marine mammal species – so let’s talk sea otters!

These voracious predators are again making headlines in the science world as a new paper comes hot off the (virtual) presses.  Hughes et al. (2013) published an article in PNAS entitled “Recovery of a top predator mediates negative eutrophic effects on seagrass”.  This paper is truly a local collaboration, with scientists from UCSC’s Long Marine Lab, the Elkhorn Slough reserve, USGS, CSU Monterey Bay, and MBARI.

The headline? Sea otters may have saved the Elkhorn Slough seagrass habitat by doing what they do so well: eating crabs.


New Recruits to Moss Landing

September 7, 2013


by Heather Fulton-Bennett, Phycology Lab

The fall semester has brought the return to classes, gorgeous weather, and most excitingly, a new crop of students to Moss Landing Marine Labs. This year we welcomed 15 new marine scientists to 8 of the labs, and their past adventures and new ideas for theses are inspiring already. Potential thesis projects range from molecular ecology of invertebrates in Indonesia to sediment movement at the head of the Monterey Submarine Canyon to the life history strategies of deep sea sharks.

New students meet for orientation with staff and student body officers

New students meet for orientation with staff and student body officers

Check out the Meet the Students page to see how they came to Moss Landing Marine Labs, and check back as several of the new students will be writing for the Drop-In in the future!


MLML’s small boats coordinator explains the program to the new students during a facilities tour

“Tails” from The Field

August 7, 2013

Angieby Angela Szesciorka, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

Since May, the mammal lab has been as quiet as a post-apocalyptic library (yep, that quiet).

For the marine mammologist (and birder), summer time is all about fieldwork — followed by lots and lots of data crunching and thesis writing. So with fall drawing ever closer (noooooo!), I wanted to check in with my labmates to see what they have been up to.

Below is a quick summary from each of us. We’ll see you soon!

Ryan Carle: Ryan continued working on Año Nuevo Island, finishing data collection for his thesis on Rhinoceros Auklet diet and reproduction. He spends most of his waking hours on the Island identifying prey, restoring habitat, counting burrows, collecting boluses — you name it. When he’s not on Año, he’s trekking about California and making apple cider!

Casey Clark: Casey has been fervently writing up his thesis as he prepares to defend in the fall. Draft one? Check! Falling asleep on your keyboard? Check! He has also been helping out with seabird research in Astoria, Oregon. He did save time for fun too — camping, hiking, and kayaking. Jealous!

Marilyn Cruickshank: Marilyn spent the summer analyzing BeachCOMBERS data. She’s looking to see if the residence times of stranded birds on Monterey beaches can help with damage assessments and as a predictor of where most birds will wash ashore in future oil spills. Marilyn continued working for the stranding network and learned how to program in Matlab. She even found time to carve a new banjo. Nice wood-working skills, Marilyn!


New Mixed Gas System for SCUBA Diving!

June 4, 2013

Our shipping container was delivered, John Douglas and James Cochran worked on placing it in its final resting spot.

We have been working hard on completing the new nitrox compressor system here at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.  This project is about 5 years in the making.  Our facilities group constructed new tank racks for up to 90 SCUBA cylinders and Nitrox Solutions has created the compressor system housed inside of a shipping container.  This new system will be quieter and have the ability to increase the percent oxygen in air by separating nitrogen out using a membrane.  Our new high pressure tanks can be filled to greater pressures and fit more cubic feet so divers can stay down longer.  These changes will help get students dive for longer periods, dive more in a day, and ideally more safely as we will have less total nitrogen in our tissues over the day compared to air.  Our 100 cubic foot tanks are filled with air that would fit into a box 4.64 feet x 4.64 feet x 4.64 feet, and can now fit into something you put on your back!

Tis the season for MLML Open House

March 19, 2013
The vertebrate ecology lab’s recreation of the inside of a whale. (photo by The Moss Lander).

The vertebrate ecology lab’s recreation of the inside of a whale. (photo by The Moss Lander).

Tis the season for MLML Open House

By Michelle Marraffini

Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology Lab

The spring semester is buzzing with activity from classes, field trips, and preparing for Open House.

Have you ever walked inside the belly of a whale?  Want to know how long turtles live or what seastars eat?  This year’s Open House will answer these and so many more of your ocean questions.  Be there Saturday April 20th and Sunday April 21st from 9am to 5pm.  As a FREE EVENT we offer a marine adventure puppet show, education presentations by students and faculty, live touch tanks, a sea lion show, raffle and prizes, and so much more.  There is so much to see you will need to come back both days!

Open House!

Entry Way to MLML. Dive into Open House! April 20th and 21st
Photo by: Scott Gabara

Spring Tales and Tides

January 23, 2013

Moss Landing Marine Labs resumes classes today, and with the new semester comes renewed offering of exciting courses.  This spring, students at MLML have a number of options to satiate their appetites for statistics and data analysis, courses on scientific writing, methods, organisms both macro and micro, and field trips from the surface waters of Monterey Bay to the Elkhorn Slough to explorations of the seafloor and beyond.

Keep an eye out for stories from these classes and more as we hypothesize, test, and study our way through the spring semester:

Haiku of the Week – Scientific Writing

Humpback whales.  NMFS Permit #: 15271

Humpback whales. NMFS Permit #: 15271

Subtidal Ecology – one of our triennial field course offerings is back!

Recent Phycology Lab graduate and Friends of MLML Director Brynn Hooton-Kaufman manipulating Undaria for an NSF grant experiment. Photo: S. Jeffries

Recent Phycology Lab graduate and Friends of MLML Director Brynn Hooton-Kaufman manipulates Undaria for an NSF grant experiment. Photo: S. Jeffries

Algae pressing and herbaria  - Biology of Seaweeds

Recent Phycology Lab graduate Sara Tappan-Hutto shows visitors an algae pressing.  Photo: E. Loury

Recent Phycology Lab graduate Sara Tappan-Hutto shows visitors an algae press. Photo: E. Loury

Nutrient analyses and profiles of Monterey Bay, nearshore to offshore – Chemical Oceanography

CTD aboard the R/V Pt. Sur. Photo: A. Woods

Sampling, shipboard techniques, and plankton identification – Biological Oceanography

Julie Kuo, a graduate student in the Biological Oceanography lab at MLML, counts the number of zooplankton in a sample of pre-treated ballast water.

Julie Kuo, a graduate student in the Biological Oceanography lab at MLML, counts the number of zooplankton in a sample of pre-treated ballast water. Photo: C. Drake

…and much more!

Check out the R/V Pt. Sur Blog!

January 15, 2013

The research vessel Pt. Sur has nearly completed its 8,000 mile journey to Antarctica! While crossing the Drake Passage, the crew was able to capture some great photos of the wildlife they observed.  Check out the Pt. Sur Blog to see these pictures and learn about their adventures along the way to the Palmer Research Station where MLML scientists will be supporting various research groups for two months during Antarctica’s summer months.

Hourglass Dolphin sited by the Pt. Sur during their crossing across the Drake Passage.

Hourglass Dolphin sighted by the Pt. Sur during their voyage across the Drake Passage.  Photo: Scott Hansen

R/V Pt. Sur

R/V Pt. Sur

Did you know?

  • The Pt. Sur crossed the equator for the first time in history on December 18, 2012.
  • The Palmer Research Station is an 180,000 square kilometer study area located to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula. The researchers study the polar marine biome, focusing on the Antarctic pelagic marine ecosystem, including sea ice habitats, regional oceanography and terrestrial nesting sites of seabird predators.

    Adelie penguins at the Palmer Research Station.

    Adelie penguins at the Palmer Research Station.

  •  The Antarctic continent is home to the Adélie penguin, a true polar species that is dependent on the availability of sea ice which acts as a critical platform from which they forage for food. Palmer scientists have documented an 85 percent reduction in Adélie penguin populations along the western Antarctic Peninsula since 1974. These records provide some of the earliest evidence that regional climate warming is negatively impacting the marine ecosystem. Without sea ice, the Adélie penguin access to prey decreases and winter survival becomes more challenging.

Ten days of squidmas

January 2, 2013

by Jackie Schwartzstein, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

Happy holidays from MLML!


Ten days of Squidmas, by Jason Robertshaw. (more…)

Follow the R/V Point Sur on Her First Voyage to Antarctica

December 11, 2012

On Thursday, November 29 the R/V Point Sur, MLML’s largest research vessel and a member of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System fleet, set sail for Palmer Station, Antarctica.  The ship and her crew, accessed for class cruises and interdisciplinary and inter-organizational research projects, will be making several stops through Central and South America during her voyage over the next several months.  You can even track the trip here.

The R/V Point Sur leaving Moss Landing Harbor (Photo: Andrea Launer)

The R/V Point Sur leaving Moss Landing Harbor, en route to Palmer Station, Antarctica. (Photo: Andrea Launer)

Over the course of her 8,200 mile journey the crew will post updates about all aspects of the cruise.  While we will miss the Pt Sur during her first voyage to Antarctica, we can look forward to exciting updates on the Pt Sur blog.

Sunset from the Point Sur off the coast of Mexico (Photo: India )

Sunset from the Point Sur off the coast of Mexico. (Photo: India Grammatica)

Stay tuned for updates and stories from the crew!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Labs

November 20, 2012
MLML Turkeys

The Moss Landing wild turkey flock pays a visit to the lab  (Photo: H. Fulton-Bennett)


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