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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Habitat Mapping: Investigating Potential Impacts of the Soberanes Wildfires to the Big Sur Coastline

JGK2.pngBy: Jessie Doyle, Gilbert Mak, and Katie Szelong

To wrap up our coverage of the Habitat Mapping class projects, this week’s post walks us through an investigation of the ways in which wildfires can impact both the physical condition of streams as well as the associated invertebrate community. Small invertebrates which live in the riverbed are closely linked to the sand itself. The size, shape, and composition of the sand –and therefore any changes to those conditions– can directly affect the collection of animals found in a given stream.

Their class project explored changes in streambed characteristics resulting from one wildfire of interest: the 2016 Soberanes Wildfire. Burning throughout Monterey County, it was the most costly wildfire in U.S. history at the time, and it destroyed dozens of homes. Garrapata Creek, Soberanes Creek, Rocky Creek, and Big Sur Creek flow through the affected area, making them important streams for post-fire analysis.

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Habitat Mapping: The Fate of Wetlands at the Moss Landing Wildlife Area in Elkhorn Slough

We are back to covering class projects from Habitat Mapping this week. Julia Karo and Monica Appiano (“The Ladies”) will walk us through their study of marshland growth in Elkhorn Slough. Recently designated a Wetland of International Importance, the Slough supports the most extensive salt marshes in California south of San Francisco Bay.  Currently, a $6.5 million, 61-acre tidal wetland project is restoring drowning marshes to elevations that will better withstand changes in sea level in the coming century.


Photo credit: ESNERR

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¡Saludos desde Chile y Global Kelp Systems!

We’re going to take a brief break from highlighting the Habitat Mapping class’s work to talk about another class that just returned from the field: the Global Kelp Systems course held in Las Cruces, Chile!

Every other year, a small group of students have made the journey south to study kelp forests in the lower latitudes. Kelp forests are found throughout the world –although the dominant species may differ– but the research that comes out of each region often fails to link each system together. Or worse, findings from one part of the world will be applied broadly to all kelp forests, despite the huge differences in local conditions.


This figure from one of our lecture slides shows the global distribution of kelps –a specific type of large, brown algae– and highlights the different groups that are most common. In Monterey, for example, the forest-forming kelp we see is Macrocystis. As you can see, there is a lot of diversity! (Photo: Mike Graham)

We’ll have a blog specifically discussing the differences between the kelp forests of California and those of Chile in the next few weeks –courtesy of Phycology lab student Ann Bishop– but for this post we wanted to discuss what we actually did during the class.

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