Thirteen students defend thesis research in 2019!

By June ShresthaIchthyology Lab.

I’m happy to share that we’ve had a total of 13 students students defend their theses in 2019! Please join me in congratulating the students, and read below to learn a little more about their research.

The following students defended in the summer or fall:

  • Steven Cunningham, Phycology
  • Amanda Heidt, Invertebrate Zoology
  • Sharon Hsu, Vertebrate Ecology
  • Brijonnay Madrigal, Vertebrate Ecology
  • Cynthia Michaud, Physical Oceanography
  • Elizabeth Ramsay, Phycology
  • Katie Harrington, Vertebrate Ecology

The following students defended in the spring:

  • Jessica Jang, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Melissa Nehmens, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Stephen Pang, Ichthyology Lab
  • Patrick Daniel, Physical Oceanography
  • Heather Barrett, Vertebrate Ecology
  • Sierra Helmann, Biological Oceanography

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Celebrating the Art in Seaweed Science

headshotAnn Bishop    @annie_otter
Phycology lab, graduate student
Moss Landing Museum, curator




Josie Iselin, artist, author & phycologist, providing instruction during the workshop.

SCIENCE often brings to mind measured and exact descriptions. But, often the process of conducting science requires curiosity, creativity, and a willingness to take an experimental risk. Qualities that are more often associated with art. Perhaps, unsurprisingly, these two fields collaborate more often than expected. A local artist, author, and phycologist, Josie Iselin, recently held a workshop at her studio where participants could explore the collaboration of seaweed science, art, and a little bit of history.

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Struggles with Mental Health while Writing a Graduate Thesis

My time as a student at Moss Landing have been some of the most enjoyable years of my life.  I have had the opportunity to learn from some wonderful professors, improve on my skills as a scientist, and do field work in places like Baja California and aboard the R/V Atlantis.  While I appreciate the many academic experiences being an MLML student has given me, I am most grateful for the chance to meet you all.  The MLML community is one of the most positive places I have been.  Seriously, if I have talked to you before, I would really like to give you a hug and thank you for making MLML such a positive and supportive place.  I have too many stories to mention here.

However, despite all of the good Moss has given me, there have been low moments too.  None more so then the last few months.  Continue reading

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Open House 2019 is this weekend!

By June ShresthaIchthyology Lab.

Come out and join us for an interactive peek at MLML research during this two-day event! Taking place all weekend, this special occasion is a family favorite with educational attractions and activities geared for all ages, yummy food, and best of all – it’s FREE!

MLML_OH 2019

For more info and a schedule of events, check out our Open House website or continue reading below!

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Kelp and Piscos in the Southern Sun


This week’s post was written by Ann Bishop of the Phycology Lab as a companion to the recent post about the Global Kelp Systems course. While both Chile and Monterey are dominated by kelp, they are not identical. Part of the fun of the class was the ability to compare and contrast the local environments.

One of the unique advantages of Moss Landing Marine Labs is the opportunity to participate in international science education. This winter a small group of MLML students traveled to Central Chile to participate in an international class focused on kelp ecology. In Chile, kelp –mainly the genus Lessonia– doesn’t stop at the subtidal but instead comes all the way into the intertidal. What’s even more surprising is the first glance of the Las Cruces’ Chilean coast looks like it could be the rocky shores of Monterey or Pacific Grove. But, looking closer it is quite a different world.

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Listen Up! Brings Marine Science to Monterey-Area Schools

AR web Bri.jpg

This week’s post comes from Vertebrate Ecology student Bri Madrigal. Bri recently started her own K-12 outreach program called Listen Up! to get kids interested in science and teach about the importance of acoustics in the marine environment.


I love working with children. They are enthusiastic and inquisitive, and I am always so amazed by how much they can absorb and learn. From a young age, I knew I wanted to become a marine biologist and inspire children to be interested in science by exposing them to new subjects and teaching them about the ocean. As marine scientists, we realize the importance of ocean conservation and we want people to make changes in their daily habits in order to maintain healthy oceans and healthy ecosystems.

But first, we need to make people care about the ocean. How do you do that? One way is by connecting people to the amazing animals that live in the ocean. I believe that marine mammals like whales, dolphins, and other charismatic megafauna, are an avenue to tap into peoples’ hearts and inspire them to care about our oceans. When these values are established as children, I believe this will make a more profound impact on how they perceive environmental issues, influence their daily habits and influence their vote as adults to make an impact on ocean conservation.

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I’ll Take Kids and a Career for $500, Alex


This week’s post is written by Holly Chiswell of the Chemical Oceanography Lab as a companion to our most recent Society for Women in Marine Science (SWMS) event, held at Moss Landing Marine Labs on February 21st.


I went hiking yesterday, and one of my friends made mention of how in Santa Cruz we are in a little bubble. Our access to redwoods and the ocean all in one hike is a natural escape and we are particularly fortunate to live and work where we do. Besides the stress-reducing getaway aspect, I think we are also lucky for the marine science community we are a part of, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) is certainly included within this. However, there is a world outside of this redwood-duff, kelp-canopy bubble, where we all can do more to support the greater marine science community, especially those who wish to start families and maintain their careers.

Last week at MLML, SWMS hosted one of our female tenure-track faculty members, Dr. Gitte McDonald, and her colleague Dr. Stella Hein, a visiting faculty/staff at UC Santa Cruz, for a lunch discussion centered around a recent paper published in Marine Mammal Science titled: “Equity and career-life balance in marine mammal science?” [1]. I found this conversation on career-life balance appreciated and I’d like to share my thoughts and some takeaways from the afternoon.

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