The Academic Village

Figure 1. Location of the Sandholdt Property adjacent to the Main Building of MLML. The yellow line represents the boundaries of the property.

In 2005, MLML and the SJSU Research Foundation purchased 9.2 acres adjacent to the main MLML building (Figs. 1 & 2) with the intent of building an Academic Village. Anyone that has attended MLML realizes that one of the main impediments to student life here is housing. It is a critical need for everyone, but students at MLML are particularly impacted because tuition and living costs have increased dramatically, housing in the area is scarce and expensive, and the cost of conducting field-based research also is increasing. We have always realized we needed housing and other amenities to remain competitive and better serve our students, so this property and the building plans are critical to our future.

Figure 2. Sandholdt Property, the future site of the MLML Academic Village

The Academic Village is a planned development to be built with state-of-the-art sustainable methods, and would provide housing for our residential graduate students, summer course participants, consortium classes, field trips for K-12 students, and visiting scientists (Fig. 3). The conference center/research facility would provide space for larger classes than are possible at the Main Lab building, and would provide lab space for collaborating scientists and classes (Fig. 4).  Our concept is to provide all of the activities listed above, greatly increase our capability of serving larger undergraduate courses, and maintain a sense of a marine science community using sustainable “green” building methods.

 

The Academic Village would include:

  • Small apartments or other housing structures for long-term housing
  • Larger dorm-like dwellings and possibly Yurts for short-term housing.
  • A research lab with running seawater, wet tables and tanks for holding live organisms for classes and researchers.
  • A multi-purpose conference space with cafeteria (Fig. 3)
  • Parking
  • Marine and freshwater wetlands that weave through the property which could be used as demonstration wetlands for class sampling, water quality improvements, and for habitat restoration
  • Demonstration of “green” building techniques (e.g. passive energy building techniques, integrated solar electricity and heating, cistern and other water storage capacity, and native vegetation)

Josh Nelson (faculty member in Industrial Design) and four of his students at SJSU helped develop a preliminary design of the Academic Village. MLML Faculty, staff, and students engaged in a number of meetings to provide concept designs and ideas for this space. After a number of iterations, the current plan unfolded. It incorporates the various buildings into a village concept with wandering paths connecting the buildings, various outdoor spaces (teaching, private discussions, and entertaining), and seawater and freshwater waterways (Fig. 3). The idea is to create a location that inspires learning, creativity, relaxation, and community.

Figure 3. Site plan for the Academic Village with conference building in upper area, classrooms and lab space in the "barn" structure on far left, and short- and long-term housing in the lower part of the acreage.
Figure 4. Image of the Conference Center in the foreground, the barn (classrooms, labs, offices) in the back right, and housing in the background from the flatlands (short-term) up onto the sloping hill (long-term).

This property is critical for the expansion of the lab so that it can serve more undergraduates, more classes, and more researchers. It also would provide affordable housing options for our graduate students that struggle with rental rates that are some of the most expensive in the country. Here is a short animation that depicts the various aspects of the proposed Academic Village at MLML.

 

Because State funding for such projects is extremely limited we will begin a major fund-raising effort in the near future. To learn more about how you can help support the Academic Village, our students, and our programs at MLML with cash, stocks, or an estate gift please contact Jim Harvey.

Figure 5. Barn and waterway in the Academic Village to the left with the MLML main building in the upper right and the Salinas River in the foreground.

Our New Aquaculture Program at MLML

OUR NEW AQUACULTURE PROGRAM AT MLML

Possibly some of you are aware of the statistics from the FAO report that are contained in the “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture”:

  • 31% of commercial wild fish stocks are overfished
  • Yet global per capita fish consumption has increased to 20kg annually
  • Minimal increase in wild caught seafood since 1980 (see graph below)
  • But an exponential increase in seafood consumption worldwide since 1980
  • All this increased capacity for seafood is from aquaculture

Worldwide production of aquaculture and wild-caught seafood from 1950 to 2010. (FAO 2012)

Because of the increased demand for seafood but the environmental, political, and social concerns regarding former aquaculture practices it was apparent to us that MLML could play a key role in helping to establish sustainable, healthy, and productive aquaculture practices for California and elsewhere.

So, on the old shorelab site we have built a new Aquaculture Facility at MLML with funding from the Packard Foundation and our own internal funds. San José State University also provided financial support and managed the project, with the new building dedicated on 22 August 2014 (Figure below).

We are rapidly expanding our aquaculture and seawater capacity by:

  • Increasing the amount of seawater we pump from 300 gallons per minute (GPM) to 450 GPM with financial assistance from MBARI who also receives a portion of the seawater.
  • Adding 24 new 200-gallon tanks to investigate the potential for seaweeds to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification on shellfish growth (funding from CA Sea Grant to Mike Graham and Scott Hamilton)
  • Adding a new trailer with computer controls to allow precise control of pH in 20 new tanks to assess the impacts of changing ocean acidification on rockfishes (funding from NSF to Scott Hamilton).
  • With funding from Anthopocene Institute and a collaboration with Kerstin Wasson (Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve) we have started a hatchery for the native Olympia Oyster with the intent of restocking impacted populations of this oyster in Elkhorn Slough and possibly later in San Francisco Bay. Use this link to read more: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Science-Institute/News/how-aquaculture-will-shape-the-future-of-olympia-oysters-at-elkhorn-slough.

Opening of the aquaculture facility at the shore lab at MLML.

One of the exciting developments regarding adding new aquaculture expertise at MLML involves the hiring of Dr. Luke Gardner, a new California Sea Grant Extension Specialist in aquaculture (photo below). Luke received his Ph.D. from Queensland University of Technology in Australia, and most recently was a postdoc with Barbara Block’s lab at Hopkins Marine Station.  Luke will be teaching courses in aquaculture, advising students, and conducting research in addition to his duties as a Sea Grant Extension Specialist.  More info: https://caseagrant.ucsd.edu/profile/luke-gardner

Dr. Luke Gardner

Luke’s research interests broadly involve the development of sustainable aquaculture. Specifically, in working with industry to apply advanced and emerging technologies to help solve issues limiting aquaculture growth. Luke has used biotechnology to study physiological systems in marine organisms including reproduction, bio-mineralization, toxicology, and nutrition.  Current research interests include: (1) using high-throughput sequencing and bio-informatics to develop biomarkers for valuable traits in cultured aquatic organisms, and (2) development of alternative fish-free feeds. He has experience with fishes, shellfish, and seaweeds.

We have a number of industry partners using the facility and supporting MLML graduate students:

  • Monterey Abalone Company is using our facilities for their hatchery and nursery before the young abalone are sent off to their Monterey farm for grow out.
  • Monterey Bay Seaweeds farms a number of sustainable seaweed species at the MLML Aquaculture Facility that then make their way to high end restaurants along the west coast.
  • Anago-USA has tanks at MLML housing hagfish before they are sent off to markets in Korea and elsewhere. They likely also will be funding a number of research projects for students.
  • TwoXSea and Bill Foss have donated an experimental fish-feed mill that will allow us to experiment with the composition of various fish feeds. The ultimate goal is to greatly reduce the amount of fish products used in producing fish meal to the point where we have removed fish entirely from the diet. This mill will be one of only two on the U.S. west coast, and will allow MLML to lead the way in developing fish-free pellets for culturing marine fishes.

FUTURE PLANS

We are in the final stages of developing a Center for Aquaculture in collaboration with the San José State University.

The goals of the Center are to:

  • Coordinate the interests and activities of CSU and UC scientists/teachers,
  • Provide research and infrastructure to lead in sustainable aquaculture practices,
  • Help decision-makers with solving issues associated with permitting and management,
  • Assist with policy making regarding responsible aquaculture practices in California and elsewhere, and
  • Provide education and resources for the new entrepreneurs in aquaculture.

We also have plans to develop a curriculum in Aquaculture Science and Practices:

  • Courses in culturing algae, shellfish, and fishes; aquaculture systems, permitting and policy; design and implementation; and entrepreneurship
  • New M.S. degree or certificate in Aquaculture
  • Develop partnerships with other institutions and companies

We expect MLML to help lead the way for sustainable, restorative aquaculture done the right way in California. Check out the MLML Aquaculture Facility website for more information.

BlueTech Week 2016

8th Annual San Diego BlueTech Week, Crowne Plaza Hotel, San Diego, CA, November 10, 2016  

 

Michael Lee took part in a panel discussion on “Education and Workforce Development for the Blue Economy”. He discussed the opportunities and challenges associated with the development of an aquaculture industry in California and efforts at MLML to develop training and research to support the blue economy as part of a panel of educators and workforce developers moderated by Jerry Schubel of the Long Beach Aquarium.

 

Learn more about BlueTech Week 2016 here.

CeNCOOS 2016

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), Moss Landing, CA, December 5, 2016

Michael Lee gave a “Lightning Talk” on “The development of the new MLML Aquaculture Facility” as part of the Regional Focus session on the Monterey Bay. He briefed meeting attendees on ongoing developments and future plans for MLML Aquaculture Center teaching, research and outreach and reflected on how ocean observing and CeNCOOS data collection and management relate to aquaculture and our efforts at MLML.

Learn more about the 2016 CenCOOS Winter Meeting here.

The Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS) is a collaborative that enables sustained and coordinated measurements, model nowcasts and forecasts, and integrated products to inform decisions about our regional ocean.

Ocean Aquaculture in California: Status and Opportunities

March 15, 2016
CSU COAST (Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology) sponsored a lunchtime briefing for legislators and staff in Sacramento on Tuesday March 15, 2016 at the Capitol Event Center as part of Ocean Day. The briefing, entitled Ocean Aquaculture in California: Status and Opportunities, was moderated by CSU Monterey Bay’s Distinguished Professor of Marine Science and Policy, Dr. James Lindholm, and featured presentations by Diane Windham, NOAA West Coast Regional Coordinator- California, Secretary John Laird, California Natural Resources Agency, and Dr. Michael Lee, Professor of Anthropology, Geography and Environmental Studies at Cal State East Bay. Diane presented the federal perspective on aquaculture off the California Coast, Secretary Laird discussed the state perspective and the role of his agency, and Michael discussed the status of and opportunities for aquaculture teaching and research at the CSU. In doing so, Michael highlighted work being done at Moss Landing Marine Lab and the efforts being undertaken to establish the MLML Center for Aquaculture and a broader, CSU-wide initiative for a Center for Sustainable Aquaculture that can tie together the many great faculty and student research projects and faculty expertise across the 23 campus and the MLML.

You can read more from CSUEB, or download the Powerpoint presentation.

 

California State Senate’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture

February 11, 2016
 
Dr. Mike Graham, representing Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, San Jose State University, and the MLML Aquaculture Facility, appeared before the California State Senate’s Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture on 11 February 2016. The purpose of Dr. Graham’s presentation was to inform the Committee on the plans for a Center for Aquaculture initially placed at SJSU and the MLML consortium, and eventually developing a CSU-wide Center for Aquaculture. The concept was well received by the committee members, including support from Assemblyman Mark Stone who was in the audience.
Watch the meeting below:

Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture: February 11, 2016: Aquaculture Agenda Item

Grand Opening: August 22, 2014

Today's Grand Opening of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories' Aquaculture Facility was well attended and well received.

The day's speakers included Jim Harvey, Director of MLML; Dennis Jaehne, AVP Undergraduate Studies & Acting Deputy Provost; Pam Stacks, AVP Graduate Studies & Research at SJSU and Interim Chief Operating Officer at SJSU Research Foundation; Rebecca Dukes, COO at SJSU Tower Foundation; Wayne Porter, U.S. Navy (retired); and Mike Graham, Professor of Phycology at MLML.

Attendees from various scientific, business, academic, and community sectors enjoyed the event’s aquaculture demonstrations and discussions. There was lots of positive responses to this new facility, a unique center on the west coast that directly partners an educational institution to aquaculture research. Moss Landing Marine Laboratories is grateful to the David & Lucile Packard Foundation for making the construction of this new facility possible. The next step is continuing to foster collaborative relationships that partner business with researchers and students; and to furnish the center with various analytical and monitoring instrumentation.

Photos by Scott Gabara

Aquaculture Workshop 2016

Moss Landing, CA, January 22, 2016

On Jan. 13-14, 2016, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories hosted a workshop that brought together California lawmakers, NGOs, business owners, and industry reps with researchers from the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system to discuss how this diverse group of stakeholders can combine their expertise and work together to bolster California’s underdeveloped aquaculture industry.

Organized by Dr. Michael Graham of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, and funded by both the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST) and California Sea Grant, the workshop generated enthusiasm from all sides about the potential to strengthen California’s standing in aquaculture research, education, and industry.

The next step is already underway. CSU aquaculture researchers are in the process of establishing the framework for their collaboration, which will allow the CSU to promote a strong, sustainable aquaculture industry in California, train a future workforce and entrepreneurs, and engage with policymakers to provide the best available science to inform responsible decisions regarding the future of aquaculture in California, the United States, and ultimately worldwide.

Read more about the workshop on CSU News the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the Monterey Herald.