We’re A “Big” Deal: The BBC’s “Big Blue Live” Coming to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary!

August 30, 2015 by

DSC_0838By Catherine Drake, graduate student in the Invertebrate Zoology Lab

Have you ever heard of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary? If not, I bet you’ve stepped foot in the Sanctuary! If you’ve ever gone to the beach and stuck your toes into Monterey Bay waters (like many of our MLML graduate students have time and time again), you’re in the Sanctuary! A National Marine Sanctuary is like a National Park or Forest, except that the protected area is underwater, starting at the high tide line. There are a total of fourteen Sanctuaries in United States’ waters, including four along the California coast (from south to north): Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, Gulf of the Farallones, and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries. Like Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS), the other Sanctuaries were created to ensure that as we utilize the ocean’s resources available to us, we also work toward sustainable practices and habitat protection.

Photo Credit: NOAA.

The fourteen National Marine Sanctuaries in the United States. One of the fourteen locations (Papahanaumokuakea) is designated a Marine National Monument. Photo Credit: NOAA.

MBNMS was established in 1992, in part thanks to the efforts of a grass roots campaign by Santa Cruz citizens who wanted to ensure that no offshore drilling would occur along this stretch of coastline, which is an essential area to both many different marine species and humans alike. It protects 276 miles of California’s coast (almost 1/4 of our state’s coastline!) and more than 6000 square miles of the Pacific Ocean and its inhabitants, and it stretches from San Francisco to Cambria.

Photo credit: NOAA.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary covers more than 6000 square miles of ocean and is one of four Sanctuaries along California’s coast. Photo credit: NOAA.

Those of us living near the MBNMS are aware of its importance, but others around the globe may not be as informed. That’s where “Big Blue Live” comes in – it’s a production by the BBC and PBS, on August 31st to September 2nd at 8:00PM PT, and it will highlight all the amazing features of the MBNMS. The BBC has been filming here in the MBNMS for the past couple weeks, and will continue to throughout “Big Blue Live” to highlight all the amazing aspects of the MBNMS. Be sure to tune in to PBS starting tomorrow (KQED is our local PBS channel for NorCal) and check out the wonders of our Sanctuary!!

It’s essential for us to understand the importance of the MBNMS, not only to protect its inhabitants – which include 34 marine mammal species, 94 different species of marine birds, about 350 species of fish and 450 species of algae, and thousands of invertebrate species – but also to learn from our past mistakes. Many of the animal populations are on the rebound from being hunted by humans in the past centuries.

Sea otters were hunted for their luxurious fur, which has one million hairs per square inch, and whales were hunted for their blubber for meat and oils that were often used in lamps that lined the streets. Local fish and invertebrates that we often enjoy at restaurants were also hunted without foresight into how the populations may suffer in the future. Now, with the MBNMS intact, all of these animal populations are on the rebound, thanks to a better understanding of sustainability and better fishing practices.

Photo Credit: Hathaway Photo Collection.

In 1928, new ships called Purse-Seiners became known as the “Wolves of the Sea” because of their nets that stretched a quarter mile long and two hundred feet deep. As a result, fishermen were able to bring in many tons of sardines at one time. Photo Credit: Hathaway Photo Collection.

Us locals know how breathtakingly beautiful our Sanctuary is, and it’s great that we’re getting some global spotlight on the wondrous Monterey Bay. Thanks to the BBC and PBS, the videos of humpbacks breaching and sea otters eating clams will promote the central message of the Sanctuary, “To understand and protect the coastal ecosystem and cultural resources of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary,” to others globally. Hopefully “Big Blue Live” will attract visitors from all over who will recreate and enjoy visiting the Sanctuary while also understanding and respecting the history of Monterey Bay.

So, tune in to your local PBS station to watch “Big Blue Live” and to find out more about the MBNMS!

Below are a bunch of links about “Big Blue Live” for you to check out:

The BBC’s “Big Blue Live” Facebook Page – Constantly updated with live footage from the BBC’s film crew.

NOAA’s MBNMS “Big Blue Live” Website – Information about MBNMS and it’s involvement with “Big Blue Live.”

PBS “Big Blue Live” Homepage – Has showtimes for “Big Blue Live” – check it out to find what time it airs in your location!

“Big Blue Live” Twitter – Live tweets about what the film crew is spotting out in the MBNMS.

Search Instagram’s #bigbluelive – Photos from all the groups involved with “Big Blue Live.”

First Thoughts From a First Year

August 25, 2015 by

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Amanda is a first-year graduate student working in the Invertebrate Zoology lab at MLML. She’s here to provide an insider’s opinion on the graduate process beginning with day one. You can follow Amanda on Instagram (@scatter_cushion) for more sciency goings-ons and the weekly #SeaCreatureSunday.

 

Greetings to any and all fellow readers and allow me to take the time to introduce myself. My name is Amanda and I am but a small part of the new cohort of graduate students here at Moss Landing. I’m coming into the Invertebrate Lab under Dr. Geller. During orientation, the lack of a new student’s perspective was bemoaned by the powers that be, and so I have offered myself up as candid, quivering bait. I realize that there’s not much I can say that can be of much import, returning as I have to the low wrung of the academic ladder. But all self-deprecating aside I hope that at least some of my fellow new blood can read this and know that maybe it’s ok to feel any and all things I’m sure we have felt this week.

This is me! (Photo courtesy of Colin Prior)

This is me! (Photo courtesy of Colin Prior)

Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 6

August 18, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould’”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

 

 

05/02/15

 

Fish for Days

Palmer sunrise.

Palmer sunrise.

We are on another fishing trip.  We left a day early from station because the seawater pumps failed in the Palmer Station aquarium and all the fish died.  It was tragic, and the need for more fish was urgent.  Since this leg of the cruise was dedicated to the fishing group, and we were not sampling, I was left with little to do and so helped with the fishing efforts.  This included deploying the pots and trawling.

Three penguin.

Three penguin.

First we deployed the pots, which are left out for 24 hours.  We had to prepare bait for the bait bags that lure the fish into the pots.  The bait is hung on the mesh inside of the pots by large, industrial safety pins.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tales From the Field, Back to Baja: Three weeks in the Gulf of California.

August 12, 2015 by

 

Although MLML has some great resources on campus, students also occasionally have opportunities to get out of central California and do some work in other areas. Some of you may remember my post about my time in the Gulf of California last year with MLML’s “Baja class” where I studied herbivorous fishes. Well, I was given the opportunity to go back to Baja earlier this year to build upon the study that I began previously. In mid-June, I was part of a research team with two other MLML students and our dive safety officer / research faculty, Dr. Diana Steller, to help out on some projects through UC – Santa Cruz and to work on the herbivore project.

Because we needed to transport some large supplies, including scuba tanks and the field air compressor (to fill up the scuba tanks), we needed to drive down and back again this year. Although it sounds tough, the drive is only 3-4 days, and it’s definitely part of the adventure!

Just after sunset at our desert campsite in Cataviña, Baja California.

Just after sunset at our desert campsite in Cataviña, Baja California.

Driving isn’t too bad when you get to camp at sites such as this at Playa Requesón! Photo by Heather Fulton-Bennett

Driving isn’t too bad when you get to camp at sites such as this at Playa Requesón! Photo by Heather Fulton-Bennett

Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 5

July 28, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

 

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould'”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

 

 

04/26/15

 

Let’s Get Physical

 

Everyone decorated Styrofoam cups and we attached them in a mesh bag to the CTD.  They went down to 4000m. The air in the cups is compressed and thus shrinks the cup size.

Everyone decorated Styrofoam cups and we attached them in a mesh bag to the CTD. They went down to 4000m. The air in the cups is compressed and thus shrinks the cup size.

This week’s research has been dedicated to the physical oceanographers onboard. These scientists from Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Caltech, and Princeton are studying how water masses interact in the Antarctic. They accomplish this by recording temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll levels at different depths within the water column using a variety of instruments. The area they are sampling is back in Drake Passage–about a 40 hour steam from Palmer. Read the rest of this entry »

Is TV Showing Us What Shark Experts Really Look Like?

July 6, 2015 by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vicky Vásquez is a graduate student under the Pacific Shark Research Center and the founding Deputy Director of the Ocean Research Foundation. You can follow Vicky on Twitter at @VickyV_TeamORF.

The Shark Expert.

As an early career scientist, I am still learning about what it means to be a shark expert and the standards by which we uphold these individuals to. Before starting school at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, I used programming similar to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week or NatGeoWild’s SharkFest to help me define those terms and build my knowledge of “shark facts”. Did you make the same mistake?

Shark Week's 2014 campaign, King of Summer used a comical caricature of a shark expert.

Shark Week’s 2014 campaign, King of Summer used a comical caricature of a shark expert.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Field in Antarctica: Post 4

June 11, 2015 by
In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team's blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

In the field for their current work in Antarctica is adjunct professor, Dr. Valerie Loeb (right) with the team’s blog writer, Jamie Sibley Yin.

Dr. Valerie Loeb is an adjunct professor at Moss Landing Marine Labs. Currently, she functions as an independent Antarctic ecosystem research scientist collaborating with Jarrod Santora of UC Santa Cruz. In April, she headed out to sea with a new NSF funded project entitled “Pilot Study:   Addition of Biological Sampling to Drake Passage Transits of the ‘LM Gould’”.  The following are updates from the field by Jamie Sibley Yin who is in charge of communications.

 

 

 

April 22, 2015

Antarctic Krill

Euphausia superba: also known as Antarctic krill, these were more than 2 inches in length, also notice the phytoplankon in stomach.

Euphausia superba: also known as Antarctic krill, these were more than 2 inches in length, also notice the phytoplankon in stomach.

When we unlatched the cod end from the net, gobs of krill poured over the top, I scrambled to catch the wriggling animals in a bucket.  The boat was en route to a fish trawling area near Dallmann Bay.  Read the rest of this entry »

Happy World Oceans Day!

June 8, 2015 by

Happy World Oceans Day!

A lemon shark swims near the ARMS deployed in Tetiaroa, Society Islands, French Polynesia.

A lemon shark swims by the ARMS deployed in Tetiaroa, Society Islands, French Polynesia. Photo: Christopher Meyer, Smithsonian

 

Every June 8th, marine and citizen scientists around the globe spread the word about celebrating our oceans and taking action to protect the diversity of life within. We are celebrating World Oceans Day on the island of Tetiaroa in French Polynesia! Read the rest of this entry »

Tales From the Field in Mo’orea: Part I

June 4, 2015 by

812640_10100637121929820_1046383806_o-3By Emily Schmeltzer, Invertebrate Zoology Lab

Hi everyone! Although I don’t have much to show for it just yet, I was asked to write a series of blog posts about my current research trip to Mo’orea and Tetiaroa in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. Talk about a fantastic place to do some fieldwork!

Mo'orea, French Polynesia

Mo’orea, French Polynesia- my view from the bungalow                                                    Photo Source: Emily Schmeltzer

Mo’orea is a small island and coral atoll near Tahiti, and is about 10 miles in width east to west. A coral atoll is formed over tens of thousands of years! Coral begins to grow as a fringing reef on an oceanic island, and as the island landmass is eroded and begins to become submerged, the coral continues to grow and forms a barrier reef. Once enough of the interior island is submerged, it forms a lagoon on the inner part of the barrier reef. You can visualize this formation from the aerial photograph below. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Backyard Bloom: The Domoic Acid Event of the Decade in Monterey Bay

June 1, 2015 by
 ECOHAB crew members Zachary Epperson and Steven Loiacono get ready to deploy the new MLML CTD rosette. Photo credit: Dr. Jason Smith.

ECOHAB crew members Zachary Epperson and Steven Loiacono get ready to deploy the new MLML CTD rosette. Photo credit: Dr. Jason Smith.

 

 

 

 

This guest post is written by Zachary Epperson whom is a graduate student at MLML and works with the Environmental Biotechnology Lab

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past few weeks, several marine mammals, particularly sea lions, have been exhibiting some haunting symptoms: writhing on the beach, bending back their necks, or lying suspiciously motionless. As the NOAA-NCCOS-funded, collaborative (MLML, UCSC, MBARI, USC, SCCWRP, UCLA, and IOOS) Ecology & Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB) project gears up for its third week of sampling, data-armed scientists are ready with an explanation—toxic algae. Along with an armada of robotic labs and water quality surveillance vehicles roaming the bay, this field effort provides higher temporal and spatial resolution than our weekly shore based monitoring, which detected initiation of a mixed species Pseudo-nitzschia bloom in April (http://oceandatacenter.ucsc.edu/PhytoBlog/).

The diatom Pseudo-nitzschia spp. is known to produce the neurotoxin domoic acid (DA), responsible for cases of domoic acid poisoning (DAP, also known as amnesic shellfish poisoning), when contaminated tissue is consumed in high enough quantities. Symptoms of DAP may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness; in severe cases the victim may experience difficulty breathing, confusion, disorientation, seizures, permanent loss of short‑term memory, coma and death. For this reason, recreational harvesting of shellfish is usually quarantined from about late April to Halloween.

A light microscope slide from a phytoplankton tow containing Pseudo-nitzschia chains. Photo credit: USCS-Kudela Lab.

A light microscope slide from a phytoplankton tow containing Pseudo-nitzschia chains. Photo credit: USCS-Kudela Lab.

Though a spring bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia is typical, what’s surprising this year is the total DA load. According to Dr. Raphe Kudela (UCSC) levels this high haven’t been seen since the year 2000! And ECOHAB is out there to track it. Read the rest of this entry »


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