Congratulations to Heather Barrett, M.Sc. for her new staff position with MLML research affiliates, Sea Otter Savvy Before being offered a position, Barrett collaborated with them on her Master's Thesis, The energetic cost of human disturbance on the southern sea otter, which she completed under professor Dr. Gitte McDonald and the Vertebrate Ecology lab. Although the graduate program might be over, Barrett's sea otter research definitely is not! That's because Barrett will now serve as the Science Communication Director & Research Scientist at Sea Otter Savvy.
Arley Muth, M.Sc. has published an article in the Ecological Society of America journal regarding, Recruitment tolerance to increased temperature present across multiple kelp clades. The paper also includes SJSU/MLML phycology professor, Dr. Mike Graham, Muth's former advisor as one of the co-authors. The researchers investigated twelve eastern Pacific kelp taxa and how their sporophyte production would be affected by changes in nitrate and temperature so as to determine the limiting factors for recruitment. Since graduating from SJSU/MLML, Arley Muth, is now pursuing her PhD at The University of Texas at Austin.
One of the most special moments for MLML alumni is to have their thesis work published. Ryan Manzer, alumnus to the Physical Oceanography lab, is now one of those people; thanks to his recent publication, Physical factors influencing phytoplankton abundance in southern Monterey Bay in the journal of Continental Shelf Research. His co-authors consist of MLML's physical oceanography faculty, Dr. Tom Connolly & Dr. G. Jason Smith and former member, Dr. Erika McPhee-Shaw. Their research correlated physical factors such as inner shelf water temperature and upwelling relaxation events, to phytoplankton biomass.
SJSU/MLML's chemical oceanographer, Dr. Maxime Grand, has first-authored a paper in the Marine Biogeochemistry section of the journal, 'Frontiers in Marine Science', along with ten co-authors from around the globe, such as South Africa, Japan, Australia, and several European countries. In this scientific article, Developing Autonomous Observing Systems for Micronutrient Trace Metals, Dr. Grand and colleagues, "discuss the current state of the art and analytical challenges associated with metal micronutrient determinations and highlight existing and emerging technologies". This paper can help guide future researchers studying micronutrient trace metals in challenging conditions such as seasonal shifts in the ocean or remote locations.
An article by the Riviera Maritime Media on the 'best available science' for rendering non-viable organisms in ballast water gets the expert opinion 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 Geology, 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.