(Today, we have another post courtesy of MS 211: Ecology of Marine Mammals, Birds and Turtles, this time from Moss Landing student and author Jenni Johnson. She is going to talk about the hectic but rewarding work involved in elephant seal research at Año Nuevo State Park.)
BEEP! BEEP! I roll over to turn off my alarm and read the clock: 4:30 a.m. Begrudgingly I arise, slip into my field clothes, and head to the kitchen to make breakfast before beginning the forty-five minute commute to Long Marine Lab (LML). As I drive north, I mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. Today our focus is assisting with the annual weanling weighing effort. Upon arrival at LML, the field crew assembles all necessary gear, electronically checks into the park, and then piles into the truck. As we cruise up Highway 1 the sky begins to lighten, gradually revealing the charming California coast while the truck buzzes with conversation.
Twenty minutes later the truck pulls into the entrance of Año Nuevo and turns right down the limited access road. The progression is slow as we carefully survey the dirt road for endangered San Francisco garter snakes. I take this opportunity to observe the magnificent landscape, hoping to catch a glimpse of deer, coyotes, bobcats, or the elusive cougar. Alas, no such luck today. Instead, I admire the soft glow of the early morning light and the captivating shades of pink and orange spilling across the sky, signaling the eminent arrival of the sun. I feel excitement start to build as we park the truck.
Will Fennie in the field collecting data. Photo Source: Will Fennie
Whether it be out in the field or inside the lab, conducting research is often what people imagine as the highlight of science. However, once that research is completed, then what? For many scientists, it’s the impact of their research that is viewed as a true career highlight. MLML alum, Will Fennie, had his first taste of this success when research from his Master’s thesis contributed to a well-publicized paper on juvenile rockfish and ocean acidification.
For this study, Dr. Scott Hamilton, professor of Ichthyology at MLML, served as first author and his student, Will Fennie, served as third author. Continue reading
Today’s post was provided by San Jose State student Olivia Townsend. Olivia is currently attending Moss Landing as an auxiliary student in MS 211: Ecology of Marine Mammals, Birds and Turtles. Lucky for us (!), she is also an amazing artist, and in keeping with our mission of interdisciplinary collaboration she has written this piece about scientific illustration and its role in supplementing traditional scientific observations.
Art and science. Conventional thought places these two fields on opposite ends of the
spectrum and some people still polarize them today. Science is data-driven and technical,
while art is expressive and compelled by emotion. In fact, the process that happens in the
laboratory is very similar to what happens in the studio. Both scientists and artists are
investigators—they ask the big questions, scrutinize over detail, and strive to convey
information and ideas. Moreover, art and science have a profound and historically rooted
connection in which one undoubtedly cannot exist without the other.
Image Source: MLML WordPress
Trying to navigate the murky waters of credible marine science can leave knowledge-seekers feeling lost at sea. Like a beacon of light guiding seafarers, scientists at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) have been discussing their best on-line sources for accurate information. Those recommendations have now been compiled into three groups of credible marine science sources with the following social media abbreviations: Instagram (IG), Facebook (FB), YouTube (YT) & Twitter (TW):
1) MLML: We’re starting things off with a comprehensive list of all our sources. Continue reading
When I originally conceived of this post 2 months ago I thought it would be a reflection of my experiences presenting my research at a major science conference for the first time.
It has since morphed into something else.
The third week of December I joined 20,000 of my colleagues in
AGU was held at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco
the Earth Sciences at the 2016 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. I was one of around 8,000 students who arrived in San Francisco to present one of the 15,000 posters that would be displayed over the course of the week. It’s hard to describe the emotions of a graduate student attending their first conference. Its how I imagine a promising pitcher feels when they walk into a big league locker room after having been called up from the minors. They have left the relative comfort of the minor leagues, and are now face to face with their idols, the people they have admired in their profession from afar, never thinking it possible that they could one day compete on that level. They must ask themselves: “am I good enough to be here?”
Last weekend marked the seventh annual Whalefest celebration in Monterey, California. From ocean mascots and graduate students to one very obedient pup named Obi, the outreach table for Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) was well staffed all weekend long. For a full set of photos check out the Whalefest photo album on MLML’s Facebook Page.
Thanks to all the talbers who particapted at Whalefest 2017! Photo Source: Vicky Vásquez
By June Shrestha, Ichthyology Lab.
Congratulations are in order for the eight students who successfully defended their research theses this past semester (Fall 2016)! Student research spanned from California to French Polynesia, from plankton to marine mammals. Read below to learn about the main points of their research, and if you have any questions or want to get in touch with the recent graduates, please leave a comment!