Stepping up to the Plate

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

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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?”

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Whalefest Wrap-up 2017

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.

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Thanks to all the talbers who particapted at Whalefest 2017! Photo Source: Vicky Vásquez

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Congrats to Fall 2016’s eight new Masters of Science!

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!

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Fish out of water

Recent graduate, Jackie Schwartzstein, recounts the intensive safety training to prepare for field work at sea.

The Drop-In Blog @ Moss Landing Marine Labs

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by Jackie Schwartzstein, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

Last weekend, my fellow Vert-Lab-member Angie and I hopped in my little car and made the four hour drive down to Carpinteria, CA for offshore survival training.  We are preparing to join a research team that conducts aerial surveys for marine turtles and mammals along the central California coast.  Before we can participate in these surveys, we are required to take a course in open water survival.

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Adventures in Phycology

What’s in store for students enrolled in MLML courses? Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse with this re-blog by recent graduate Heather Fulton Bennett, who is now pursuing a Ph.D. at Oregon State University.

The Drop-In Blog @ Moss Landing Marine Labs

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by Heather Fulton-Bennett, Phycology Lab

One of the best parts of classes at Moss Landing Marine Labs, are the field trips. The Biology of Seaweeds class makes numerous trips around the Monterey Bay area to examine different algal habitats and to learn more about the ecological niches of algae in the intertidal. Every year, Professor Mike Graham, leads the phycology class on a trip south of Point Conception to discover the similarities and differences in southern California algae. This year we camped at El Capitan State Beach and enjoyed some beach combing, s’mores, and late night Phyctionary, where we attempted to illustrate terms related to seaweeds.

Our teaching assistant, Sarah Jeffries, Professor Mike Graham, and phycology student Bobby San Miguel examine one of the boulders still visible above the sand. Our teaching assistant, Sarah Jeffries, Dr. Mike Graham, and phycology student Bobby San Miguel examine one of the boulders still visible above the sand.

The next morning we were up at the crack of dawn chasing a very low tide to Coal Oil…

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Invertebrate Spotlight: Christmas Tree Worms

Here’s a festive re-blog written by Catherine Drake who recently defended her Master’s thesis this Fall at MLML.

The Drop-In Blog @ Moss Landing Marine Labs

By Catherine Drake, Invertebrate Zoology Lab

For those of you vertebrates who still have their holiday decorations up, here is an invertebrate you might enjoy learning about: the Christmas tree worm.  These polychaetes, Spirobranchus giganteus, are tube-building worms that have two “crowns” in the shape of Christmas trees, hence their name.

Many Christmas tree worms assembled together.

These appendages are an extension of their mouth and catch prey that swims by and then transport it by cilia to the worm’s mouth.  Additionally, the appendages act as part of the worm’s respiratory system, and are thus commonly referred to as gills.  Christmas tree worms are generally found in tropical waters and live within corals in calcareous tubes formed by the worms.

The appendages on these polycheates aid in the catching of prey.

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Class Cruisin’

There are days that change you. One minute you are chasing what you thought was your dream, and then something comes along that changes your trajectory. Those days are rare, and can come to define one’s entire purpose in life.

For me that day was my first day at sea, working to unravel it’s mysteries aboard the R/V Pt. Sur. I had fallen in love with the ocean before, and knew that I wanted to become a scientist, but that day would come to change just exactly what aspect of Marine Science would become my life’s pursuit. Continue reading

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