Nine students defend thesis research in 2020!

By June ShresthaMLML Ichthyology Lab

2020 was a big year. We saw a global pandemic, protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and wildfires raging across the state. Despite all of this, we had nine students pull through to defend their thesis research in 2020! Please join me in congratulating the following students:

  • Lindsay Cooper, Phycology Lab
  • Kenji Soto, Geological Oceanography Lab
  • Amber Reichert, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Mason Cole, Vertebrate Ecology Lab
  • June Shrestha, Ichthyology Lab
  • Dan Gossard, Phycology Lab
  • Jacoby Baker, Ichthyology Lab
  • Emily Pierce, Invertebrate Zoology Lab
  • Miya Pavlock-McAuliffe, Physical Oceanography Lab

Please read below to learn a little more about each student's research. As always, please also check out the posts highlighting student research from previous years as well at the following links: 2019, 2018, and 2017.

Special author note: As I am one of the students that defended and graduated this year, this will be my last post for The Drop-In. From writing about classes to conferences and student research, it's been a pleasure writing for this blog. Hopefully someone else will carry the torch forward in the new year to highlight and celebrate the research of graduating students!

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Thesis Defense by Amber Reichert – December 7th

 

"Habitat Associations of Catshark Egg Cases (Chrondrichthyes: Pentanchidae) off the U.S. Pacific Coast"
A Thesis Defense by Amber N. Reichert

Pacific Shark Research Center

MLML Live-Stream | December 7, 2020 at 4 pm

Thesis Abstract:

Many marine species select sites for reproduction based on habitat suitability, environmental tolerances, and oceanographic conditions, in order to enhance development or survival of their offspring. For many species living in the deep sea, it is unknown which factors influence this aspect of the reproductive process. In this study, the occurrence and influences of oviposition site selection were determined for the brown catshark, Apristurus brunneus, and filetail catshark, Parmaturus xaniurus, in the greater Monterey Bay region, providing novel insights into specific habitat preferences and depth distributions. Video footage from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center Fisheries Ecology Division (NOAA-SWFSC-FED) was utilized to predict suitable oviposition habitat using MaxEnt presence-only modeling, identify attachment substrates and faunal associations using qualitative observations, and determine depth and habitat preferences using tests of independence and Manly’s selectivity indices. The greater Monterey Bay region was determined as a nursery for both A. brunneus and P. xaniurus on the basis of meeting all oviparous nursery qualifications: high densities of egg cases deposited in the same region, habitat was benthic, oviposition sites were continually used, and no juvenile sharks were observed in the vicinity of egg cases. Complex geographic and environmental features such as rugosity and depth were shown to influence oviposition sites of A. brunneus and P. xaniurus. An increase in rugosity indicated higher predictive habitat suitability. The primary depth range of oviposition sites for both species was 150–199 m, with relatively more A. brunneus egg cases in the 100–149 m range, and more P. xaniurus egg cases observed at deeper depths (200–300 m). Depth ranges for both species are similar and were expanded based on MBARI video observations  (A. brunneus = 87–550 m, P. xaniurus = 99–524 m). Areas of greatest predicted habitat suitability were indicated on the shelf break and upper to mid slope of the Monterey Canyon and in adjacent canyons. MaxEnt model output indicated higher induration (i.e., rockier) habitat was the main driver of oviposition site selection. Structure forming marine invertebrates (SFMI) such as corals and sponges were identified as important faunal attachment structures, with egg cases of both species occurring significantly more often on sponges than other substrates. Nurseries are critically important habitat and this research is necessary for influencing habitat-based management. The vulnerability of these and other species prompts further research concerning the use of SFMI as oviparous nurseries for potential essential fish habitat (EFH) designation.

Amber Reichert Presents: Habitat Associations of Catshark Egg Cases (Chrondrichthyes: Pentanchidae) off the U.S. Pacific Coast

Thirteen students defend thesis research in 2019!

By June Shrestha, MLML Ichthyology Lab

I'm happy to share that we've had a total of 13 students students defend their theses in 2019! Please join me in congratulating the students, and read below to learn a little more about their research.

  • Steven Cunningham, Phycology
  • Amanda Heidt, Invertebrate Zoology
  • Sharon Hsu, Vertebrate Ecology
  • Brijonnay Madrigal, Vertebrate Ecology
  • Cynthia Michaud, Physical Oceanography
  • Elizabeth Ramsay, Phycology
  • Katie Harrington, Vertebrate Ecology
  • Jessica Jang, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Melissa Nehmens, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Stephen Pang, Ichthyology Lab
  • Patrick Daniel, Physical Oceanography
  • Heather Barrett, Vertebrate Ecology
  • Sierra Helmann, Biological Oceanography

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Twelve students defend theses in 2018!

By June Shrestha, MLML Ichthyology Lab

Congratulations to the twelve students that successfully defended their theses in 2018!

  • Laurel Lam, Ichthyology
  • Alex Olson, Chemical Oceanography
  • Holly Chiswell, Chemical Oceanography
  • Cody Dawson, Phycology
  • Evan Mattiasen, Ichthyology
  • Tyler Barnes, Geological Oceanography
  • Catarina Pien, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Natalie Yingling, Biological Oceanography
  • Drew Burrier, Physical Oceanography
  • Jen Chiu, Fisheries and Conservation Biology
  • Anne Tagini, Fisheries and Conservation Biology
  • Suzanne Christensen, Phycology

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The SODA Project (no calories, all marine science)

by Vicky Vásquez

MLML researchers recently participated in a collaborative research project orchestrated by the Office of Naval Research to study stratified ocean dynamics in the Arctic (SODA). Two seas were examined for this project, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas; with the MLML team exploring the former.

PB2_both_cross1
One of three encounters with polar bears as we were ice breaking toward the three ice instrument cluster sites around 80 N in the eastern Beaufort Sea. This was a mother and second year youth. (Photo Source: Dr. Tim Stanton)

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Congratulations to our 2017 graduates!

By June ShresthaIchthyology Lab

Congratulations to 14 students who defended their research theses and graduated from our program this year! Student research spanned across continents, taking us from the kelp forests of California, to the deep seas of South Africa, and even Antarctica!

The following students were awarded a Masters of Science in Marine Science:

  • Angela Zepp, Phycology
  • Devona Yates, Ichthyology
  • Maureen Wise, Chemical Oceanography & Phycology
  • Melinda Wheelock, Invertebrate Zoology
  • Kristin Walovich, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Dorota Szuta, Benthic Ecology
  • Scott Miller, Ichthyology
  • Ryan Manzer, Physical Oceanography
  • James Knuckey, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Jen Keliher, Invertebrate Zoology
  • Jinchen (Martin) Guo, Invertebrate Zoology
  • Christian Denney, Fisheries and Conservation Biology
  • Paul Clerkin, Pacific Shark Research Center
  • Stephan Bitterwolf, Phycology

Read below to learn more about the graduates' research. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any additional questions!

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Collecting Kelp Data in Waves

By Vicky Vásquez

Cunninham wave instrument 1
Beautiful morning at Stillwater Cove to deploy a newly constructed instrument for measuring waves in a kelp forest. (Photo credit: Dr. Colleen Durkin)

What do you get when a wave hits a kelp bed? The attention of two different labs at MLML! To better understand wave behavior as it meets a kelp bed, graduate student Steven Cunningham from the Phycology lab is partnering with Physical Oceanography professor, Dr. Tom Connolly.

Understanding this physical process will help components of Mr. Cunningham's thesis work on kelp forest ecosystems. The instrument needed for this work is an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV), which obtains high resolution water velocity and pressure. The ADV will allow Mr. Cunningham to see when waves pass over the instrument and then get direction as well as velocity of wave orbitals.

 

 

Cunninham wave instrument 2
Dr. Tom Connolly tests out the ADV technology with his laptop before field deployment. (Photo Credit: Steven Cunningham).

Mr. Cunningham and Dr. Connolly have recently built a prototype housing for kelp bed deployments. Their ADV's unique design includes legs that fold up to reduce entanglement when the instrument is retrieved by line. It is this feature that has led to the ADV's nickname- the Virus.

Cunninham wave instrument 3
Meet the Virus! An ADV created by Steven Cunningham and Dr. Tom Connolly. (Photo Credit: Steven Cunningham).

 

Finding the Pearls of Wisdom in a Sea of Scientific Misinformation

By Vicky Vásquez, Pacific Shark Research Center

Trying to navigate the murky waters of credible marine science can leave knowledge-seekers feeling lost at sea. Like a beacon of light guiding seafarers, scientists at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) have been discussing their best on-line sources for accurate information. Those recommendations have now been compiled into three groups of credible marine science sources with the following social media abbreviations: Instagram (IG), Facebook (FB), YouTube (YT) & Twitter (TW):

1) MLML: We’re starting things off with a comprehensive list of all our sources.

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Whalefest Wrap-up 2017

By Vicky Vásquez

Last weekend marked the seventh annual Whalefest celebration in Monterey, California. From ocean mascots and graduate students to one very obedient pup named Obi, the outreach table for Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) was well staffed all weekend long. For a full set of photos check out the Whalefest photo album on MLML's Facebook Page.

tabling-pros
Thanks to all the talbers who particapted at Whalefest 2017! Photo Source: Vicky Vásquez

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