Moss Landing Welcomes the Society for Women in Marine Science (SWMS)

6ce83b1333b1a1e5e83c19febdc05f7392ae54a5Students here at Moss Landing Marine Labs recently founded a local chapter of the Society for Women in Marine Sciences (SWMS). While this group has been doing great work on the east coast for several years, we are excited to bring its success to the Monterey Bay area. Kim Elson is one of several students on the inaugural leadership committee, but she was also the driving force behind the initial push to bring SWMS to Moss. We recently held our first event, a trivia night! Here, Kim offers up some insight into SWMS’s history and its future under the new chapter.

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Ms. Scientist Goes to San Francisco

Amanda Heidt of the Invertebrate Molecular Ecology lab was recently selected as the 2018 KQED-CSUMB Fuhs Science Communication Fellow. The Fuhs Family Foundation provided funding for a one year $10,000 scholarship and a paid summer internship at KQED Public Media in San Francisco. She spent the summer living in the city, navigating the BART, and making a map of all the food she needed to eat. At work, she split her time between covering stories for Science News and researching story lines for the popular 4k Youtube video series Deep Look.

She recently returned back to the lab and caught us up on what she learned from her crash course in science communication. You can also skip forward here to see her KQED portfolio.

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Who Are the People Who Run Towards the Stinky Beach Carcass?


One of the benefits of being a student in the Vertebrate Ecology Lab here at Moss Landing is that it provides the most opportunities for close encounters with some of our most recognizable Monterey Bay faces: otters, whales, dolphins, birds, seals, and sea lions. But for a handful of students, those counters often come at the end of an animal’s life, when the call comes in and the volunteers that make up the Marine Mammal Stranding Network descend onto Monterey’s beaches. Armed with gloves, vials, and a bright blue body bag, they take advantage of nature’s stark cruelty to collect valuable data on local animal populations. Sharon Hsu is one of the volunteers with the Stranding Network and a student in the lab, here to provide us with answers to some of the questions you may have always wanted to ask and to explain how you can help contribute to this valuable resource.

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A Happy Blogiversary! Celeblogtion? Blogchievement?

This year we are celebrating The Drop-In’s ten-year anniversary! That’s ten years of working hard to give our readers a truthful account of what it means to be a student of marine science conducting our work here in the Monterey Bay.

Photo: FishBio

There are some exciting posts lined up in the coming weeks, but we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the blog’s purpose and the audience it supports.

Erin Loury was one of the co-founders, and she paused in packing for her trip to southeast Asia to chat with me about what motivated her to start The Drop-In.

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Posted in Amanda Heidt, Authors, Erin Loury, Grad Life | 1 Comment

The Spirit of Moss Landing Marine Labs

By June ShresthaIchthyology Lab.

Watch this video to learn more about who we are, what makes MLML a first-class marine research institution, and discover the “spirit of MLML”!


About the video:

With the generous donations from our supporters, MLML produced this rich, inside look at the history of MLML, our Masters in Marine Science graduate program, our research and our close proximity to the  beautiful Monterey Bay Canyon and surrounding wetlands.  MLML is known for a hands-on, field-oriented approach which places our students, faculty, researchers and staff at the frontiers of marine science worldwide where discoveries are being made.  MLML provides the skills and training so students become successful scientists, teachers and resource managers serving societal needs involving marine issues.  

For more cool videos, check out the MLML Video Library!


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Nine students defend theses in spring/summer 2018

By June ShresthaIchthyology Lab.

As the summer wraps up, we have had a whirlwind of student thesis defenses at the labs. Congratulations to the following students that successfully defended their theses in the spring and summer of 2018:

  • Cody Dawson, Phycology
  • Evan Mattiasen, Ichthyology
  • Tyler Barnes, Geological Oceanography
  • Catarina Pien, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Natalie Yingling, Biological Oceanography
  • Drew Burrier, Physical Oceanography
  • Jen Chiu, Fisheries and Conservation Biology
  • Anne Tagini, Fisheries and Conservation Biology
  • Suzanne Christensen, Phycology

Read below to learn more about their research. With three months to go until the end of the year,  stay tuned to our blog to learn of the next round of thesis defenses!

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Tales from the Field: Rhodolith Ecology on Santa Catalina Island

By June ShresthaIchthyology Lab.

I recently returned from a field expedition to assist PIs Dr. Diana Steller (MLML) and Dr. Matt Edwards (SDSU) research rhodolith beds on Catalina!

What are rhodoliths, you may ask? 

Rhodoliths exist around the world, yet not much is known about them. They are a calcareous red alga that provides relief and habitat in otherwise sandy soft-bottom stretches of the nearshore coastal environment, supporting invert and fish communities.
They have been a hot topic in recent years due to implications of ocean acidification on their structure, as well as the fact that they exist in areas with lots of boat traffic and moorings. Interestingly, they are not usually included in habitat characterizations or taken into consideration during MPA designations (which maybe they should!).

A rare rhodolith bed, found at only 6 bays/coves in Catalina. (photo: S. Gabara)

Collaboration in Action

The recent research trip was truly a collaborative effort between multiple institutions. Our team was composed of great minds and divers from MLML, SDSU, and even Kunsan National University in South Korea. The research team also featured the one-and-only Scott Gabara, previous grad student at MLML, who is now continuing his research on rhodoliths at SDSU in the Edwards Lab for his PhD (check out his previous Drop-In post about rhodoliths here!)

Further Reading

SDSU Graduate Student, Pike Spector, recently wrote a couple of fantastic blog posts about our work from this trip. I encourage you to check them out for more great pictures and descriptions!

Dr. Diana Steller (red BCD) and Scott Gabara survey the rhodolith bed community along a transect.

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