An article by the Riviera Maritime Media on the 'best available science' for rendering non-viable organisms in ballast water gets the expert option of MLML's biological oceanographer, Dr. Nick Welschmeyer. Dr. Welschmeyer’s lab utilizes techniques/instrumentation fundamental to the understanding of growth and physiology of marine plankton such as radioisotope tracers, metabolic assays, culture incubations, microscopy and flow cytometry. As a result, the lab's research helps direct ballast water treatment protocols.
A recent article in Bay Nature Institute interviews Dr. Brigitte McDonald, head of SJSU/MLML's Vertebrate Ecology Lab, about her physiology research on Northern Elephant Seals (Mirounga angustirostris). The article highlights many of the impressive attributes possessed by Northern Elephant Seals, such as a maximum diving depth of aproximately 1800 m, which out-does all their seal relatives.
In the Journal of Marine Gegology, Dr. Ivano Aiello delivers a first-author publication entitled, "Climate, sea level and tectonic controls on sediment discharge from the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea during the Mid- to Late Pleistocene". In this study, sedimentological analysis of mainly siliciclastic slope sedimentation tells the evolutionary story of a major tropical river, the Sepik River in Papau New Guinea, throughout changing climate and sea-level conditions over a period of nearly ~555 kyr. The Sepik River is currently the largest contributor of solute and particulate material to the world ocean.
Amanda Heidt, alumae of our Invertebrate Zoology lab, is currently completing a master’s degree in science communication at UC Santa Cruz. In addition, she is a contributor to Inside Science and her latest piece covers the research of long-time colleague and collaborator to MLML, Dr. Giacomo Bernardi. A recent study by Dr. Bernardi on damselfish has been published in the Journal of Molecular Ecology and documents a rare example of brood parasitism in fish (the behavior is most commonly observed in birds).
In less than a year's time, researchers from our SJSU/MLML campus have collaborated with Cal State Northridge (CSUN) scientists on the publication of two separate marine ecology studies. Both publications consider data collected from California MPA's, some of which have been monitored by research faculty member, Dr. Rick Starr and his Fisheries and Conservation lab. The Starr lab's efforts are part of a larger project through the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP).
Setting ecological expectations for adaptive management of marine protected areas (Fig. 1, Nickols et al. 2019)
During July of last year, MLML research faculty member, Dr. Rick Starr, and his lab contributed to a new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology in collaborations with 4 other universities (CSUN as well as Oregon State, UC Davis & UC Santa Cruz). This open access paper, examines the efficacy and adaptability of MPA management by evaluating expected responses (estimated using population models) with monitoring data collected by Dr. Starr and his team (via their ongoing project with the California Collaborative Fisheries Program). The paper identified several variables, such as harvest rates prior to MPA implementation, that can determine whether a response to MPA establishment is detectable for a target species. The authors overall approach provides a a critical step of adaptive management by providing a framework for which the implementation of an MPA can be evaluated.
Influence of protogynous sex change on recovery of fish populations within marine protected areas (Easter et al. 2020)
Becoming the first official MLML study of 2020, Dr. Scott Hamilton and former student, Stephen Pang, co-author a paper in the Journal of Ecological Applications with researchers from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. This study takes a novel approach to MPA management for a target species by considering, for the first time, how a population of generic sex-changing fish would respond to the implementation of a protected area. Their findings suggest that protogynous fishes may recover faster than species with fixed sex determination. This study has attracted media attention, including a recent article in Science Daily which interviews Dr. Hamilton about the intriguing results.
In 1987 all remaining California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) in the wild were captured and placed into captive breeding programs. Since then, these condor populations have rebounded to over 400 individuals. To cover the 2019 story of this avian comeback, Hakai Magazine reached out to our director, Dr. Jim Harvey, for what may seem like the unexpected connection between a critically endangered raptor and California's marine mammals.
California Condor in flight. NPS/Gavin Emmons
Ross Clark, director of SJSJ/MLML's Central Coast Wetlands Group (CCWG), talks with The CSU's Newswise about sea level rise and how these changes are predicted to affect California beaches. Mr. Clark further explains that there are much bigger impacts to consider such as the elimination of our estuaries, "[we] may lose some of those nurseries. And much of the fishing industry is located in our coastal harbors, which are vulnerable in many ways", says Mr. Clark. Full story here: Bye-Bye, Beaches
In 2019, research faculty and director of the Pacific Shark Research Center, Dr. David Ebert, worked with colleagues to describe two new species of skates. As a research associate with the California Academy of Sciences (CAS), this work was highlighted in a recent press release from CAS which recognized 71 newly discovered species this year by their scientists. The image on the left is Leucoraja elaineae, common name Elaine's Skate, and comes from the Western Indian Ocean. The image on the right is, Dipturus lamillai, common name Warrah Skate inhabit; it's from the surrounding waters of the Falkland Islands.
Dr. Tom Connolly collaborated with our neighbors at MBARI for a study published this year in the journal of Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. The research focuses on the hydrozoan medusa, Benthocodon pedunculatathe within the abyssal Northeast Pacific habitat. Part of this work observed currents from the benthic boundary layer which shed light on the ecological importance of this species of zooplankton.
For more on this three year study, follow the link to their paper: Gelatinous zooplankton abundance and benthic boundary layer currents in the abyssal Northeast Pacific: A 3-yr time series study
SJSU/MLML's Marine Pollution Studies Lab has analyzed mussels growing near shipwrecks that are now leaching trace metals. Originally, these ships were used roughly 90 years ago during the Prohibition to smuggle Canadian whiskey. For more on this history of the shipwrecks, read this article in San Luis Obispo Tribune.