A World Upside Down: The Floating Seafloor of the Urania Basin-April 25th

Ivano Aiello, Moss Landing Marine Labs

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - April 25th, 2019

Hosted by The Vertebrate Ecology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Bio: Ivano teaches several graduate courses on different topics and methodologies concerning Marine Geology and cross-disciplinary fields in marine sciences. Ivano's teaching phyilosophy and the research conducted in the Geology Lab are multidisciplinary is the sense that students combine to different degrees geology with a variety of other disciplines in marine sciences (e.g. marine ecology, biology). Ivano's research has also a general interdisciplinary approach: Sedimentology/paleoceanography of upwelling biogenic sediments in Europe and the Pacific Rim (e.g. Monterey Fmt.), eastern equatorial Pacific and Peru Margin (ODP Leg 201), the sub-Arctic (IODP Expedition 323 in the Bering Sea). Relationships between geology and microbial activity in deeply buried marine sediments and other extreme environments. Past evidence of microbial activity preserved by authigenic precipitates in sediments (cold seeps). Geologic/geomorphology of central California rapidly changing costal environments including Elkhorn Slough, beaches and sea cliffs of Monterey Bay. Use of terrestrial laser scanning and 3D data analysis to asses small-scale geomorphologic change.

Abstract:

The Urania Basin (Eastern Mediterranean) is a Deep Hypersaline Anoxic Basin (DHAB) characterized by extreme physical and chemical conditions including very high temperatures (>50ºC), very high salinities (more than 5X seawater) and some of the highest methane concentrations ever recorded in the water column (up to 3.8 mmol/L). Although the Urania Basin is a classic example of DHAB and has been investigated multiple times in the past 30 years, a recent deep-sea expedition made some groundbreaking discoveries both in terms of the physics/geology of the environment as well as concerning occurrence and distribution of microbial life in arguably one of earth's most extreme and inhospitable environments.We found that the lower half of the deep water brine is filled with a very fine (~6µm), high-density (>1.6g/cm3) fluid mud mainly composed of floating modern and fossil species of coccoliths. Because of thermal convection and the very fine size of the coccolith particles, we hypothesized that without accelerating mechanisms (e.g. fecal pellets) the mud could stay in suspension for times longer than the slowest normal pelagic settling creating what looks like an ‘expansion’ of the seafloor several tens of meters into the brine. Based on a  diffusive-convective model, the origin of the Urania Basin stratification has be dated to 1650 years B.P., and may be linked to a major earthquake in the region. This deep-water basin characterized by an expansion of the seafloor into the water column, a 'zero-gravity' environment where particle are capable of staying in suspension for long times, and with a highly diversified microbial life that has more affinity to the deep subseafloor than to the water column could be a model system for life in other planets and moons (e.g. Europa).

 

 

Perspectives on an urban wetland: Berrys Creek, New Jersey- January 24th

Craig Jones, Integral Consulting Inc.

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - January 24th, 2019

Hosted by the Geological Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Dr. Craig Jones is a principal ocean and environmental engineer with 20 years of experience in developing and executing engineering and science projects for government agencies and the private sector to characterize offshore environmental sites. His experience includes riverine, lacustrine, estuarine, and coastal processes involving hydrodynamics, waves, sediment, and contaminant transport. Dr. Jones’ expertise includes the application of state-of-the-science field measurements and modeling analysis to characterize and quantify processes in all aquatic systems. He actively participates in the design of field activities and instrumentation to develop data sets in support of clients’ needs. Dr. Jones is adept at incorporating these data into the most effective levels of analysis, from empirical to numerical modeling, necessary to efficiently address the project needs.

Abstract
Sediment and contaminant transport in urban wetlands is a complex problem requiring robust tools to characterize. Berry’s Creek in New Jersey is an urban wetland that has undergone a multitude of changes over the past century, many of which resulted in contamination posing unacceptable ecosystem risk. The presentation will outline the field and modeling studies related to the risk assessment and remedial investigation of the Berry’s Creek Study Area wetland. The study goals were to characterize the fate and transport of sediment-bound contaminants in the system. These perspectives are being used to develop remedial strategies that will help reduce the overall risk.

Watch Craig’s MLML Seminar Presentation Below:

How animal social behavior can shape ecosystems-February 7th

Mike Gil, UC Santa Cruz

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series -February 7th, 2019

Hosted by The Invertebrate Zoology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Dr. Mike Gil, Ph.D., is a National Science Foundation Research Fellow, a TED Fellow, and a National Geographic Explorer. He has led research around the world: from coral reefs in the Caribbean, French Polynesia and Southeast Asia, to ‘microislands’ of plastic garbage, teeming with life, in the middle of the Pacific. Various national and international media outlets have covered Mike’s scientific discoveries. His diverse research efforts are unified by a common goal: better understand how natural ecosystems work, so that we can better sustain the essential services these ecosystems provide to humankind. In addition to his scientific research, Mike is an award-winning science communicator with broad interests in connecting diverse swaths of the public with the process of scientific discovery and all that it offers to individuals and to humankind. The son of an Argentine immigrant, Mike was raised working class by a single mom and was a first generation college student. He knows all too well the barriers that prevent the economically disadvantaged from tapping into the STEM world. Thus, Mike founded and runs SciAll.org, which uses unconventional videos to diversify interest in and access to STEM. By bringing mass online audiences along for the adventures of his career, including run ins with sharks, whales and other underwater wonders, Mike aims to deliver the timely message that science is an exhilarating process of discovery that is truly accessible to all and in the service of all.

Abstract
Through their presence and even simplest behaviors, animals produce sensory information that is publicly available to influence the behavior of surrounding individuals, even those from different species. While there is a wealth of evidence that social information can strongly affect the behavior, fitness and interactions of organisms, it remains largely unknown how this ubiquitous phenomenon may affect the ecology of the greater system. In this talk, centered on the behavior of mixed-species groups of fish in a tropical coral reef, I present work that integrates novel empirical and quantitative approaches to investigate the role that social information can play in the function and dynamics of natural ecosystems.

Detection of climate change: characterising signal and memory-February 14th

Claudie Beaulieu, UC Santa Cruz

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - February 14th, 2019

Hosted by The Chemical Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

About the Speaker
Assistant professor, Ocean Sciences Department, UCSC (since 2018)
Visiting academic, Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton (since 2018)
Lecturer, Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton (2013-2018)
Postdoctoral researcher, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Princeton University (2009-2013)
PhD, Water Sciences, INRS-ETE, University of Quebec, 2009
BSc, Statistics, Université Laval, 2003

Website: https://beaulieu.sites.ucsc.edu/

Abstract
Natural variability in all aspects of the Earth system – including the climate system and ecosystems – presents a formidable challenge to the detection and quantification of change forced by industrial activities. Error in detection can disrupt concerted efforts to respond to the challenges of climate change, whereas statistically robust quantification informs our understanding of underlying mechanisms of change. The rate of observed climate change results from the superposition of mixed signals such as trends and shifts on variability arising from the memory within the climate system. Statistical methods used to characterize change in time-series must be flexible enough to distinguish these components. In this talk, I present a new methodology that is used to separate different modes of change from memory in global mean surface temperature records. This analysis clarifies a key point in the scientific debate related to the recent “hiatus” in warming. I also discuss the importance of considering memory timescales (i.e. short vs long memory), and highlight regions in the ocean where the routinely assumed short-memory assumption may be problematic and affect detection.

Ecosystem response to physical variability in the California Current: from upwelling to fish to predators- February 21st

Jerome Fiechter, UC Santa Cruz

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - February 21st 2019

Hosted by The Physical Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Abstract
I will present results from a suite of coupled ocean circulation-ecosystem model simulations and describe the impact of environmental variability at local and regional scales on the broader California Current ecosystem response, ranging from primary production to krill distributions to population abundances and foraging patterns of key forage fish species (sardine and anchovy) and apex predators (sea lions).

Watch Jerome’s MLML Seminar Presentation Below:

The physical side of nearshore ecology:From pH and warming to ocean turbulence-March 7th

Brian Gaylord, UC Davis

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 7th, 2019

Hosted by The Pacific Shark Research Center

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Brian Gaylord conducts research in marine ecomechanics, working at the interface of ocean physics and organismal biology and ecology. He and his students are interested in topics that include physical disturbance by waves, dispersal and settlement of spores and larvae, flow through aquatic vegetation, and consequences for marine life of human-induced changes to the ocean realm. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University, did a postdoc and spent some time as a research scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, then came to the University of California, Davis’ Bodega Marine Laboratory. He has been working there since, often with collaborators including a diverse suite of students who are continuously expanding the scope of subjects pursued by his laboratory.

 

Abstract:
Physical-biological interactions are pervasive in the ocean. We’ll discuss several lines of ongoing work where we examine such interactions, focusing on issues of ocean acidification, thermal stresses in mussel beds, and effects of turbulence on settlement of marine invertebrate larvae.

 

Watch Brian’s MLML Seminar Presentation Below:

Mangroves in a changing world: Methods and techniques to estimate dispersal patterns in intertidal forests-March 14th

Tom Van der Stocken, NASA

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 14th 2019

Hosted by The Biological Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Tom is a postdoctoral researcher at NASA’s Jet propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who partners colleagues of the JPL Earth Science Division to better understand the dispersal and community ecology of coastal wetlands. The team also focuses on the importance of land-ocean interactions in modulating global ocean biogeochemistry. As a member of the Radar Science and Engineering Section he aids in developing global maps of coastal deltas and estuaries to simulate the Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission observations strategy. He is involved in various studies to map mangrove forest structure, and estimate biomass and carbon storage along geographic and environmental gradients. The team combines knowledge and tools from different sciences such as biology and physical geography, using state-of-the-art numerical models, as well as in situ and remote sensing data. Tom holds a master’s degree in Physical Geography from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and KULeuven (KUL) and earned a PhD degree in Sciences from the VUB and Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). During his PhD, he conducted fieldwork in Kenyan mangroves and was a visiting researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ, the Netherlands). He taught international student groups at both bachelor and master level and was a supervisor of international excursions in ecology and biogeography. In 2014 and 2015, he was selected to participate in the Visiting Student Researchers Program at JPL.

WEBSITE LINK:
JPL profile: https://science.jpl.nasa.gov/people/Van%20der%20Stocken/
VUB profile: http://we.vub.ac.be/en/tom-van-der-stocken

Abstract:
Climate-driven distributional shifts have been observed in a diverse range of marine and terrestrial taxa, altering biotic interactions, habitat composition, as well as ecosystem productivity and functioning. Latitudinal range shifts have also been reported for mangroves, coastal shoreline plants that are found predominantly at tropical and subtropical latitudes, and are considered of particular ecological and socio-economical value. Understanding range shifts requires knowledge on dispersal, a key ecological process that allows species to track the environmental conditions to which they are adapted. However, studying dispersal is challenging, particularly in systems such as mangroves, which grow along rivers and shores, and have evolved traits to disperse via river and ocean currents, allowing for wide, transoceanic dispersal events that are beyond direct observation. In addition, tidal flooding and dense aerial root networks make mangrove forests a physically demanding environment to conduct field experiments. This presentation opens in a changing world, includes a walk through the mangroves, and introduces some of the methods and techniques that allow for better understanding the mechanisms and ecological drivers of dispersal in these sea-faring systems.

Watch Tom’s MLML Seminar Presentation Below:

Mercury and microplastics in San Francisco Bay and Lake Erie-March 21st

Katlin Bowman, MLML

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 21st, 2019

Hosted by The Chemical Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

 

 

Katlin Bowman is an oceanographer who studies mercury chemistry in marine environments. She has crossed the Atlantic, cruised through the tropical Pacific Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, walked across ice floes at the North Pole, and explored the seafloor in the deep-ocean submersible Alvin. Her work across the globe has helped scientists understand how mercury concentrations have changed throughout history. She uses a combination of chemistry and genomic techniques to hunt for bacteria that make methylmercury in the ocean. Currently, she is studying how microplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay impacts mercury cycling. Bowman supports young women in science through a mentoring program for underrepresented women applying to graduate school. She is the co-author and narrator of a children’s book, “To the Top of the World,” that tells the story of a research expedition to the Arctic Ocean. Originally from northeastern Ohio, Bowman now lives in Santa Cruz, California, as a researcher and educator.

 

Abstract:

Microplastics are an emerging contaminant that threatens the health of aquatic ecosystems. These small (<5 mm) fragments of deteriorated plastic absorb and concentrate contaminants before they are ingested by zooplankton, fish, marine mammals, and sea birds. Microplastics also host microbial biofilms which warrants the question – how do microplastics influence the biogeochemistry of adsorbed mercury? We quantified total mercury and methylmercury adsorbed to microplastics collected from two urban waterways in the United States, San Francisco Bay California, and Lake Erie near Cleveland, Ohio. Microplastics from San Francisco Bay had methylmercury concentrations similar to suspended particles collected from the same water. In Lake Erie, microplastic methylmercury concentrations were an order of magnitude less than suspended particles, and greatest near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Microfibers were found in the guts of whole fish obtained from commercial fisheries at both study sites, however, there was no correlation between microfiber abundance and mercury concentration in muscle tissue. Genetic material was extracted from microplastics to characterize microbial communities and search for mercury cycling genes (mer genes and hgcAB). Finally, under controlled laboratory conditions, chemical transformation rates of mercury were determined for coastal seawater containing different size and concentration of microplastics.

 

Using virtual reality to share the ocean-April 18th

Erika Woolsey, Stanford/The Hydrous

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - April 18th, 2019

Hosted by The Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Erika is a marine biologist, National Geographic Explorer, and Ocean Design Fellow at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (the d.school) in partnership with the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. She studied biology and art history at Duke University and conducted her Masters and Ph.D. research on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where she lived and worked for seven years. Erika is CEO and co-founder of The Hydrous, a non-profit devoted to translating marine science into public understanding, and is Executive Producer of ‘Immerse,’ a virtual dive on the coral reefs of Palau.

Abstract:

How can we care about something we never see? Virtual reality (VR) can simulate places that are unreachable to most (like the ocean or outer space) and is a promising medium for science learning and generating empathy towards complex issues. In this seminar, Dr. Erika Woolsey will discuss the power of immersive experiences, especially related to threatened ocean environments, and share her VR/360 film ‘Immerse.'

 

Watch Erika’s MLML Seminar Presentation Below: