Habitat Mapping: Changes in Dune and Beach Morphology on the Central Monterey Bay Coast from 2015 to 2018


A beautiful day to survey! (Amelia Labbe)

In the past, teachers here at Moss Landing Marine Labs have required their students to write companion blog pieces about their work as part of a course. For example, most recently we shared a series of posts from the Marine Mammals class. These are great opportunities for students to get some communication experience and are a dream come true for us blog managers! We get high-quality, student-driven content that gives a detailed account of what it means to be a student here at MLML.

Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing stories from the Habitat Mapping course taught this semester by geological oceanographer Ivano Aeillo.

Our first post comes from Victoria Dickey and Amelia Labbe, two students who partnered with the Central Coast Wetlands Group (CCWG)  to study how dunes and beaches change shape and profile over time.
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Posted in Classes, Fieldwork, Grad Life, oceanography, Oh, the Places We Go!, Research: Fresh from the Field, Tales from the Classroom | Leave a comment

Congratulations to the 3 students that defended in Fall 2018!

By June ShresthaIchthyology Lab.

Please join me in congratulating the three masters students that defended their thesis research this fall!

  • Laurel Lam, Ichthyology
  • Alex Olson, Chemical Oceanography
  • Holly Chiswell, Chemical Oceanography

Read below to learn the main take-aways of their research!

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Posted in Grad Life, June Shrestha, Thesis Defenses | Leave a comment

The Search for Clean, Green Energy in the Cosmic Center of the Universe




Katie Graves is a graduate student with our Chemical Oceanography lab. Katie’s field work for her thesis occurs in Elkhorn Slough. 





It is generally well known that our planet’s fossil fuel reserves are being used up at an alarming rate. Recent studies suggest that we should transition to using renewable energy by 2030 to ensure a smooth switch from fossil fuel dependence [1].

What isn’t as well known is that the answer to producing clean, sustainable energy is closer than we think. In fact, if you live in the area of Elkhorn Slough you might see the solution as you drive over the HWY 1 bridge and notice the water is covered in a green carpet. Continue reading

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Survey Like a BOSS: A few highlights from a month at sea testing the Benthic Observation Survey System



Ryan Fields serves as lab technician to the Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab (FCB lab), where he also studied for his Master’s degree. As a technician Ryan continues to participate in lab projects that include California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program and the development of new video lander tools to improve fisheries management of Pacific rocky reefs.



Leaving port to launch the Benthic Observation Survey System (BOSS) on a series of deep-in water surveys. Pictured: Ryan Field on the right, Jimmy Williamson (Ryan’s labmate) below, and Rachel Brooks (student in Ichthyology lab) on the left. 

This October, the Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab completed a month-long research cruise along the California coast testing a new video camera tool designed to survey fishes. This was both a fantastic project and trip, and I want to share a few highlights from video we collected. The main goal of this project was to design, build, and demonstrate the feasibility of deploying a video lander tool at a scale that is useful for fisheries management agencies (i.e. a coastwide survey). We were very successful in meeting this first goal, and in 24 days we conducted 419 visual surveys across 295 miles of coastline between Half Moon Bay and Anacapa Island.

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Posted in Cool Creatures, Fisheries, Oh, the Places We Go!, Research: Fresh from the Field, Research: Live from the Labs, Sustainability, What's Happening at MLML | Leave a comment

The SODA Project (no calories, all marine science)

MLML researchers recently participated in a collaborative research project orchestrated by the Office of Naval Research to study stratified ocean dynamics in the Arctic (SODA). Two seas were examined for this project, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas; with the MLML team exploring the former.


One of three encounters with polar bears as we were ice breaking toward the three ice instrument cluster sites around 80 N in the eastern Beaufort Sea. This was a mother and second year youth. (Photo Source: Dr. Tim Stanton)

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Posted in Fieldwork, oceanography, Oh, the Places We Go!, Research: Fresh from the Field, the Places We Go!, Vicky Vásquez | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

MLML students present research at Western Society of Naturalists 2018 meeting

By June Shrestha, Ichthyology Lab

Congratulations to the eight students that presented results of independent research at the annual Western Society of Naturalists (WSN) meeting in Tacoma, WA this November 8-11, 2018!

WSN is a scientific society with a strong focus on ecology, evolution, natural history, and marine biology. Beloved by scientists primarily from Canada, Washington, Oregon, California, and Mexico, the annual conference provides a supportive environment for graduate students to present their research each year.

WSN logo 2018

This year’s student presenters from MLML included:

  • Jacoby Baker* (Ichthyology Lab)
  • June Shrestha (Ichthyology Lab)
  • Kristin Saksa (Ichthyology Lab)
  • Melissa Palmisciano (Ichthyology Lab)
  • Katie Cieri (Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab)
  • Taylor Eddy (Invertebrate Zoology)
  • Rachel Brooks (Ichthyology Lab)
  • Lauren Parker (Ichthyology Lab)

*A very special congratulations to Jacoby Baker for winning the highly-competitive Best Student Presentation Award in Organismal/Population Biology!

Please continue below to read more about everyone’s research.


MLML students representing at WSN with fearless leader & advisor Dr. Scott Hamilton

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Posted in June Shrestha, Oh, the Places We Go!, Western Society of Naturalists | Leave a comment

HERstory: “Turning the Tide” with Science Communication


Photo Credit: Cat Chiappa

This week’s post comes to us from Biological Oceanography student Sierra Helmann. When not studying phytoplankton for her thesis research, she works in guest experience at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and takes great pride in exposing young audiences to marine science. After starring in our Open House play for the last two years, she took the lead role of Julia Platt in the aquarium’s summer production of “Turning the Tides: The Story of Monterey Bay.”

Acting is a very unique branch of science communication that taps into the power of imagination. Here, she speaks to its importance in engaging the public and acknowledging the historical contributions of women (HERstory).

(It’s also her birthday next week, so wish her well if you see her!)

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Posted in Grad Life, Take Action!, Why Science Generally Rocks | Leave a comment