Posts Tagged ‘video’

Beyond the Obituaries: the shining stars of conservation work

June 17, 2013

Beyond the Obituaries: the shinning stars of conservation work

By Michelle Marraffini
Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology Lab

Coral Reef

Artist illustration of coral reef. Photo from; illustration by Gina Mikel.

Conservation science can sometimes feel like it is all doom and gloom stories with reports of have few of a species are left or what factors may lead a species to go extinct. Dr. Knowlton, a career scientist with the Smithsonian, realized that after attending conferences and taking surveys of conservation scientist, people tend to think of conservation science as a losing business. Nancy Knowlton and her work on a project called “Beyond the Obituaries” is trying to change that image. She highlights stories of groups that make conservation work; they include fishing villages that enact their own Marine Protected Areas, species saved by local activists, protecting turtles and sharks by reducing by-catch, and many more success stories of ocean science. “I felt it was really important to give people a reason to think that there is something you can do” Dr. Knowlton explained when asked about her recent work. By focusing on solutions rather then failures, hopefully she will reassure people that there is still time to save the coral reefs and safeguard marine biodiversity around the world.

Saving the Oceans through positive thinking

Dr. Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian. Saving the oceans through the power of positive thinking. Photo from Smithsonian website

Dr. Knowlton recently gave a seminar at MLML and in an hour inspired many of our students to take a more positive outlook on science. By focusing on the victories and learning what works we can help preserve more of the world’s oceans for the future. So now I am challenging you to listen to Dr. Knowlton’s talk (linked below) and do your small part to save the world’s oceans and inspire those around you to do the same.

You can hear Dr. Knowlton’s “Beyond the Obituaries: Success Stories in Ocean Conservation” on youtube and find more information on their website. She also has a book with National Geographic!

Citizens of the Sea

Citizens of the Sea, National Geographic book by Nancy Knowlton

Shrinking Glaciers

September 13, 2011

BBC piece on glacial retreat with Dr. Iain Stewart.  The Columbia Glacier in Alaska is breaking into the ocean 30 times faster than before (20 years ago).

The link is found here


2010 Open House Puppet Show: Dora the Sperm Whale Explorer’s Deep-Sea Adventure

August 10, 2010
Amanda Kahn

Amanda Kahn

by Amanda Kahn, Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology Lab

In April, MLML opened its doors to the public and we spent the weekend showcasing our research and teaching people about marine science.  We did this in a variety of ways: lectures, seminars, interactive exhibits, touch tanks, science as art, and even in puppet form!  For those of you who missed the show, you can still learn about Dora the Sperm Whale’s exploration of the deep sea, discover different deep-sea habitats, and find out all about the many ways that animals eat!  Check out the two-part video below, and be sure to catch our hit songs “Chemoautotrophy” and “Vertical Migration”!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Got any questions about the animals or habitats you saw in the show?  Comment below or email and we’ll tell you all about them!


Puppeteering, stage design, sound setup, logistics:

Jeremiah Brower, Billy Cochran, Marilyn Cruickshank, May Deluna-Schneider, Amanda Kahn, Stephanie Kennedy, Deasy Lontoh, Erin Loury, Ben Perlman, Jasmine Ruvalcaba, Sonya Sankaran

Video editing by Wavelength Films

Living Deep and Hit Hard by Fishing: a video interview with Dr. Greg Cailliet

April 30, 2010

Video by Cassandra Brooks

Moss Landing Marine Labs alumna Cassadra Brooks has taken her research on the Antarctic toothfish to a new level, hoping to effectively convey relevant science to the public and  fisheries managers.  Now a science communicator for The Last Ocean project, Cassandra recently interviewed MLML Professor Emeritus Greg Cailliet about the aspects of deep-sea fishes, including their old ages and slow growth and reproduction, that make them vulnerable to overfishing.

Dr. Cailliet is our local goldmine of ichthyology (that’s fish knowledge!).  Get the scoop straight from the expert’s mouth!

The Open House Puppet Show 2009 – An adventurous search for spiny relatives

April 11, 2010
Our 2009 puppet show stars

Our 2009 puppet show stars: Ron the rockfish, Harry Spotter the scorpion fish and Hermione the hermit crab. (photo: E. Loury)

Erin Loury

by Erin Loury, Ichthyology Lab

Anyone who has visited an MLML Open House knows that the puppet show is a longstanding tradition and major highlight for visitors of all ages.   After much patience and anticipation, the 2009 puppet show is now available for your viewing pleasure!

Follow Harry Spotter the scorpion fish, Ron the rockfish, and Hermione the Hermit crab on a Darwin-inspired search for their relatives with shared adaptations.  Their adventure takes them on a daring break-in to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where they meet an array of colorful and musical coral reef inhabitants!

The show is divided into two parts – apologies for the poor lighting in the first 1:30 minutes of the show!

Part 1: Following in spirit of Darwin

Part 2: Journey to the coral reef

Make sure you don’t miss this year’s puppet show – join Dora the Exploring Sperm Whale on her journey to the deep sea!  Show times are:

Saturday, April 17th:  11 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm, 4 pm

Sunday, April 18th: 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm

We hope to see you there!

Will you be in the audience at this year's puppet show? Come line up early to get a good seat! (photo: E. Loury)

Lab Safety is Better with Singing – and, of course, Puppets

November 27, 2009

Each week we’ll try to introduce you to some nifty resource for learning about science and the ocean, whether fundamental or just plain fun.   At MLML, our multi-talented students are puppetry and singing pros. Apparently theatre arts and science are not as uncommon a pairing as you might think  – enjoy the singing and puppetry exploits of students at UC Berkeley:

That bubbling incident in my undergrad organic chemistry class might have been avoided had my lab safety instructions been this fun…

Charging Penguins!

January 23, 2009

You’ll never see a penguin soaring in the sky since they’re one of many groups of flightless birds (can you think of others?).   With their dense torpedo-shaped bodies, penguins are adapted for speedy swimming, and do all of their flying underwater.  But did you know they can also run? Enjoy this video of a penguin chase taken while MLML alum Cassandra Brooks was down in Antarctica.  Two Gentoo penguin chicks are running after their mom – and they’re about as (un)coordinated as some human kids I know!  Why do you think they’re in such a hurry?

Filmed at the Copacabana field camp on King George Island, South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Video by Lara Asato, 2006.

Thank You, Ocean

December 25, 2008

If you’re in the habit of being thankful or counting your blessings amid the hectic frenzy of the holidays, why not add the ocean to your list? is a website from the California Public Ocean Awareness Campaign that has tons of information about how you can volunteer, learn about, and speak up for the ocean.  Be sure to check out their podcast, the Thank You Ocean Report, which features topics ranging from sharks and sea otters to National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Marine Life Protection Act.  Like all the best gifts that don’t fit in boxes, the ocean gives us plenty of reasons to say “Thank you!”

Happy Holidays from The Drop-In!

Vote for your favorite holiday marine creature!

December 12, 2008

The authors of The Drop-In are locked in the vice-grip of final tests, projects, papers, you name it, along with the rest of the MLML community.  But the holiday break is approaching as quickly as our wandering attention spans.  For a welcome distraction and a bit of good cheer, we invite you to vote for the best holiday-themed marine creature!

Of course, you want to be an informed voter, so meet the contenders:

1. Christmas tree worm (Spirobranchus giganteus)

E. Loury)

Christmas tree worms (photo: E. Loury)

The name says it all, really.  This colorful polychaete (worm) spends its life bored into a coral, and extends its twin spiral plumes to filter-feed on passing plankton .  Like Old Navy sweaters, they come in a variety of colors, from orange and yellow to blue and white.  But if you pass a shadow over them, they may retract faster than your camera’s shutter (like the lower right of the photo)!

2. Firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans)

Firefly Squid

Firefly Squid (photo:

Also called the the Sparkling Enope Squid, this three-inch marvel lives in the Western Pacific and packs a bioluminescent punch that rivals the light decorations of your most zealous neighbors. Their spectacular seasonal display is a tourist attraction and a natural monument in Japan!

3. Comb Jellies (Phylum Ctenophora)

Ok, the other contestants may cry foul for nominating an entire phylum, but there are  too many cool comb jellies out there to choose just one.  And a photo doesn’t do them justice either, because they are the equivalent of those “running” Christmas lights.  Watch this video from the Vancouver Aquarium (if you can handle the cheesy sci-fi music…) to see the twinkly action!  Comb jellies are also called ctenophores, and unlike true jellies (Phylum Cnidaria), they don’t have stinging cells, just lots of little hairs that defract light in really cool ways!

4. Bamboo coral (Isidella sp.)


A bamboo coral (photo: NOAA)

Bamboo corals may have more than 8 branches, but their candelabra shape made them a prime candidate to represent Hanukkah. (They also belong to the octocorals, because each of their little polyps has 8 tentacles!)  This particularly beautiful representative was discovered by a team including Peter Etnoyer of the Deep Sea news!  They found the deep-sea coral living on seamounts 700-2700 m deep in the Gulf of Alaska.  Learn menorah about this cool new species at the Deep Sea News, including a video of its discovery!

5. Ornamented wrasse (Halichoeres ornatissiumus)

JE Randall,

Ornamented Wrasse (photo: JE Randall,

It’s red, it’s green, it looks like it should be dangling from your tree, it’s sometimes called the Christmas wrasse, and it’s even found at the Christmas Islands.  This little tropical darling clearly has a lot going for it, besides being the only vertebrate of the bunch!

Cast your vote today using our poll!  Did we grossly omit any tinsel-worthy candidates?  Post a comment to share your write-in vote!

Can I become a marine scientist even if I get seasick?

December 8, 2008
Amanda Kahn

Amanda Kahn

by Amanda Kahn, Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology Lab

I went out to sea yesterday and it was INCREDIBLE!  We saw animals we’d never seen before, explored an underwater canyon that is deeper than the Grand Canyon, and spent a beautiful day out on calm seas aboard the R/V Point Lobos.  As I was miles away from solid ground, I pondered the irony of my choice of career – you see, I get seasick.  Horribly seasick.  I was the only person running out to the side of the boat every half hour to, uh, fertilize the ocean.  I’ve tried taking Dramamine, eating saltine crackers and drinking ginger ale, pressure point bands, even wearing a paper bag against my stomach (which kind of works, actually…), but nothing fully gets rid of that queasy feeling.  So how can I tolerate going out and being sick all day?  Basically, I am really excited about learning about things that live under the ocean.  So interested, in fact, that I don’t mind the seasickness so much!  I wanted to write about this because people who get seasick should know that it is still possible to have a successful, happy career in marine science.

First of all, some tips to help eliminate or reduce seasickness:

Pressure point bands can help alleviate seasickness in some people.

Pressure point bands can help alleviate seasickness in some people.

  • Medications such as Dramamine, Bonine, and Marezine are helpful.  They are most effective if you take one pill the night before going out on a boat, then another about one hour before the boat is underway.
  • Pressure point bands work for some people.  These look like bracelets with a little knob that presses on a pressure point on the inside of your wrist.  If you start feeling sick, you can press the knobs into the pressure point.
  • Ginger, whether in the form of fresh, dried, candied, or ginger ale, helps ease upset stomachs (although I personally think candied ginger tastes terrible!).
  • Carbonated beverages (especially ginger ale) are also helpful for upset stomachs.
  • Surprisingly, keeping some food in your stomach can be really helpful.  I don’t start feeling really sick until my stomach is completely empty.
  • Scopalamine is a prescription drug that you can ask for.  It comes in a little patch that you wear behind your ear.  It releases medication into your body slowly over time.  Some people get a little loopy on this, but it is supposed to be one of the best medications.
  • A brown paper bag (huh?).  A friend of mine just told me about this one, and basically, you just put a paper bag under your clothes, in contact with your stomach.

These solutions would not all be necessary if so many people didn’t end up with the same problem that I have.  Seasickness is common!  Everyone figures out the best way to deal with it (for example, my favorite is to take Bonine, wear pressure point bands, drink ginger ale, and keep some food in my stomach).  The other scientist on yesterday’s cruise wore a Scopalamine patch.  If you tend to get seasick, you’re not alone!  And you can still pursue marine science.  In my next post, I’ll tell you about some of the amazing things we saw on our cruise, and you’ll see why seasickness is minor compared to the amazing coolness that is marine science and oceanography.  *Sigh*

You can already check out some of the cool things people do at sea with this video! Also, share your favorite seasickness remedies by leaving a comment!


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