Imagine you are a scientist about to begin researching the density of a type of Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens. Let’s pretend you have already spent hours and hours doing the background research necessary and now you are tasked with collecting the data. You create a list of all the tools you’ll need; meter tape, data sheets, flagging tape etc, and now you’re ready to go into the field to sample. A quick drive up to northern California will put you right in the middle of the Redwood forest where you can easily collect your data. Now picture that your next project is to collect the density of blue rockfish, Sebastes mystinus. It sounds pretty similar to your previous study but with an added challenge; your site is underwater. This added challenge will require a completely different method to collect your data. You’ll need to actually see these rockfish in order to count them, but how?
Posts Tagged ‘MLML’
One of the great things about being a student at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is going diving with your fellow students. You get to see what they are studying and hopefully get some good karma or pay them back for helping you out. I was able to get back in the water after a couple months of drying up on land and dive with Devona Yates.
She is interested in predator-prey relationships and how predatory fishes can have cascading effects on lower trophic levels as they consume invertebrate prey. This cascading effect may differ inside and outside Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), as it appears MPAs may have different, larger, and more abundant predatory fish. Devona is using tethering and survey methods to quantify mortality of these invertebrates and how that may vary as a function of MPA status. It will be interesting and exciting to look at these MPA effects on the survival of these important prey sources for fishes. We use MPAs as a way to protect and increase important ecosystem members we depend on for food and are necessary for maintaining ecosystem function. Predator depletion and recovery may cause changes that were much more complex than we had thought.
By Melissa Nehmens PSRC
This past weekend, Moss Landing Marine Labs opened our doors and welcomed everyone to our annual Open House event. For those of you new to Moss Landing traditions (as I am as a first year student), it is an event we hold every year in the Spring that is organized by the student body and hosted by the students, faculty, and staff.
We take Open House as an opportunity to share our research in a fun, yet educational way. Just to name a few exciting activities: the Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology lab had an invertebrate touch tank where you could see, touch, and learn about all of our interesting local invertebrates.
It is amazing how many different ways organisms can survive in the ocean. One of the most interesting is the many different strategies to try to get food from the water (filled with phytoplankton, zooplankton and detritus (particles of decaying algae and animal material)), from larger algae growing on the bottom, or from the organisms that consume these sources.
We see Kelp Rockfish associating with, surprise…kelp! They eat different crustaceans on the kelp and even eat small year-old rockfish.
This Fish-eating Anemone eats crustaceans and fishes. It would not be pleasant to be captured by one of these and digested slowly!
This Sunflower Star is a surprisingly fast moving predator in the kelp forest. They, like other seastars, extrude their stomach and digest their prey using acids, another not-so-fun way to be eaten.
This beautiful Kelp Greenling male eats different invertebrates and even fishes when they become available.
This lined chiton moves along the bottom scraping the surface, getting foods like coralline algae, detritus (decaying algal and animal material), attached invertebrates, diatoms (algae), red algae, and green algae.
These species are just a preview of what we see each dive around the Monterey Bay area. I am grateful people before us have studied these organisms so we are able to construct food webs to try to understand how all of this diversity we see interacts over time and space.
By Scott Gabara, Phycology “Seaweed” Lab
Circulating seawater systems are very important for marine laboratories as they need to keep organisms from the ocean alive and use the water to aid in conducting experiments. We have recently had our Moss Landing Marine Laboratories offshore intake upgraded and we went on a dive to inspect its current status. The large meshed cylinder sucks in water and supplies our lab with flowing seawater. We routinely inspect and clean the surface of the grates and the structure.
It is interesting to see what invertebrates recruit or move onto the structure. With sand surrounding us we create a small oasis of life concentrated on the hard substrate. One of the issues we have to deal with is that seawater contains invertebrate larvae and some species will settle on the inside the pipes and eventually constrict and clog our flow, similar to plaque buildup in an artery. We have to force a Pigging Inspection Gauge (PIG), a tool which is usually a piece of cylindrical foam, through the inside of the pipe to clean and clear the walls. It’s great we can get routine cleanings so our seawater system continues flowing and our lab doesn’t have a “heart attack”!
Recently the marine science diving class here at Moss Landing Marine Labs went down to Monterey’s Breakwater to conduct a sunset and night dive. The first dive was to a rocky outcrop called the Metridium field. The Metridium are white plumose anemones that look like fluffy cauliflowers and filter particulates out of the water. It is a stunning sight with so many anemones.
The second dive was conducted by nightfall. Every diver had a glow-stick to better locate their buddy and stay in visual contact in the dark. Each diver has a waterproof light, it takes practice to communicate underwater let alone now using a flashlight. We saw different species like red octopus which were out foraging and rockfish that seemed to hover almost half asleep in the water column. It is interesting to see these changes that happen as the rocky reef changes from day to night.
Help create a wave of change this World Oceans Day! Today is a day to spread the word about conservation and our responsibility of improving the health of the oceans. To find out ways to celebrate go to worldoceans.org. Your promise to the oceans could be to start using a reusable water bottle or bringing reusable grocery bags to the store. We will have a large positive impact on the health of the oceans if each one of us reduces the amount of plastic we use. You can read in this article about MBARI’s observations of trash in the deep sea. Of 1100+ observations of garbage in Monterey Bay, 32% were plastic and 23% metal. Our impacts were detected as deep as 13,000 feet and 300 miles offshore. We need to reduce our reliance on single use items! Celebrate in your own way to rise up and be the voice of the ocean!
by Angela Szesciorka, Vertebrate Ecology Lab
A few Sundays ago — Super Bowl Sunday, in fact — I took a three-hour walk along the beach at Fort Ord in Monterey, CA with Don Glasco, a systems engineer and former cartographer.
This wasn’t a leisurely pursuit, but my volunteer service to the Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network’s (SIMoN) Coastal Ocean Mammal and Bird Education and Research Surveys, also known as Beach COMBERS.
I meet Don at Fort Ord Dunes State Park in Marina around 9 a.m. After downing the last of my coffee, we head out into the foggy morning.
In the southern California bight, the channel islands archipeligo sits in warm subtropical waters brought north along the coast from Mexico to the islands. Toward the east, Santa Catalina Island supports many different fishes living in these warm waters. On a recent thesis sampling trip, frenzied fish behavior was observed. Similar to people gathering at a popular eatery, small orange cigar shaped fish called Senorita, and speckled kelp bass, schooled near disturbances created by divers. You may see the small grayish crab in the photo just underneath the fish’s mouth (see below). These fish would say that algae mats provide a home for many tasty invertebrates!
Help create a wave of change this World Ocean Day! Today is a day to spread the word about conservation and our responsibility of improving the health of the ocean. To find out ways to celebrate go to worldoceans.org. Today I am continuing to make a lifestyle change and rode my bike to get to the UC Santa Cruz library to study and make this post! Celebrate in your own way to rise up and be the voice of the ocean!