A single-cell view of microbial activity in the deep sea – February 22nd, 2018

Anne Dekas, Stanford University
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - February 22nd, 2018

Hosted by the Biological Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Anne Dekas is an Assistant Professor at Stanford University in the Earth System Science Department studying the microbiology and biogeochemistry of the deep sea.  She is broadly interested in how microbial life affects the chemistry and climate of the planet, today and throughout time. Her research combines tools from molecular biology and isotope geochemistry to identify and quantify microbial metabolic capabilities, activity, and interactions, with a focus on understanding uncultured microorganisms in deep-sea water and sediment. Before joining the faculty at Stanford, she was a Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where she investigated the carbon metabolic flexibility of pelagic marine archaea. She received a Ph.D. in Geobiology from the California Institute of Technology, where she studied nitrogen fixation, methane oxidation and sulfate reduction at deep-sea methane seeps. She received an A.B. in Earth and Planetary Sciences from Harvard University. Originally interested in space sciences, Dekas performed research at three NASA centers (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Ames Research Center, and Goddard Space Flight Center ) before beginning her Ph.D., and she continues to be interested in the survival strategies of life in extreme environments.


A single-cell view of microbial activity in the deep sea

The deep sea is one of the largest habitats for microbial life on the planet: it covers nearly two thirds of our Earth’s surface and harbors approximately 70% of total marine microorganisms. The activity of microorganisms in the deep sea plays an essential role in biogeochemical cycling, including the production and consumption of greenhouse gases (e.g., CH4, CO2 and N2O), thereby affecting climate. Our knowledge of the diversity and activity of the microorganisms in the environment, including the deep sea, has expanded in recent years with the development of next generation sequencing (e.g., “-omics” methodologies). However, our understanding of trends in microbial activity as a function of phylotype and physicochemical parameters is still lacking, and particularly so in the deep ocean. Closing this gap in our knowledge will increase our understanding of greenhouse gas cycling in the marine environment, and will better equip us to predict the activity of microorganisms in a changing climate. To this end, my group is currently studying: (1) organic substrate utilization by pelagic marine Thaumarchaeota, (2) nitrogen fixation by anaerobic bacteria and archaea in marine sediments, and (3) methane oxidation by syntrophic archaea at methane seeps. In this presentation I will touch on each of these areas of exploration, as well as our recent methodological advances in the use of nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (nanoSIMS) to quantify anabolic activity in uncultured microorganisms on the single-cell level.

Watch Dr. Dekas’ MLML seminar presentation below:

Public Engagement using the Marine Sciences – March 1st, 2018

Russell Arnott, University of Bath (UK)
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 1st, 2018

Hosted by the Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Having studied Oceanography at University of Southampton, Russell worked as a commercial oceanographer before becoming a high school Physics teacher. With a passion for public engagement, Russell left teaching to pursue science outreach as Education Consultant and Presenter for Incredible Oceans. Russell frequently performs at events across Europe including the Cheltenham Science Festival, Elderflower Fields Festival, Wilderness Festival, and Brighton Science Festival.

Russell joined the University of Bath in September 2016 to study phytoplankton morphology and its influence on turbulent interactions. As well as field data, the project involves empirical data gathering via mesocosm experiments leading to the production of 3D-printed scale models of phytoplankton cells.  You can follow him on twitter here.

Public Engagement using the Marine Sciences

As the role of the university within the local and global community evolves, being able to engage those in research outside of academia is becoming more important. Done correctly public engagement in the sciences can inspire and enthuse others in research areas / topics that they were previously unaware of while also providing the researcher with a plethora of benefits.

Watch Russell’s MLML seminar presentation below:

Observations of Intermittent Breaching at the Carmel River, CA – March 8th, 2018

Mara Orescanin, Naval Postgraduate School
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 8th, 2018

Hosted by the Physical Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Dr. Mara M. Orescanin has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oceanography at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) since 2016.  Here, her research focuses on coastal physical oceanography relating to exchange between land and sea through rivers, inlets, marshes, and estuaries. She is currently supervising four Master’s students whose projects span ephemeral rivers using novel UAV imaging techniques, plume/wave hydrodynamics, as well as numerically modeling storm surge in small tidal inlet systems.  She believes in an hands-on approach to teaching and mentoring geared at stimulating active learning and has mentored students at all levels from middle school through graduate school.  Prof. Orescanin also teaches several classes to active duty naval METOC (meteorology and oceanography) officers at NPS including Nearshore Processes, Ocean Dynamics II: Waves and Instabilities, and Littoral Field Methods. 

Dr. Orescanin received her B.A. with distinction in physics from Carleton College, Northfield, MN, where she discovered her passion for teaching as well as engaging in research outdoors.  After her undergraduate degree, Dr. Orescanin received two M.Sc. degrees in 2009 from the University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, in geology and in theoretical and applied mechanics, where she studied both explosive multiphase flows from volcanoes and the flow of blood cells through small capillaries.  Here, she realized her passion for the beach, and completed her Ph. D. in 2015 through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Joint Program in Oceanography, in the Department of Applied Ocean Sciences and Engineering.  She also has worked as a coastal engineer/consultant at the Woods Hole Group from 2014-2017 focusing on observations and numerical modeling of tidal marsh restoration projects.

Observations of Intermittent Breaching at the Carmel River, CA

Ephemeral rivers provide unpredictable transport from back lagoons to the coastal ocean critical to biological processes such as larval transport, and understanding the relative role of discharge, tides, and waves is critical to understanding the expected area of influence.  The Carmel River, in Carmel, CA, is well-known to seasonally breach, though the duration and timing of each breach is difficult to predict.  Observations of seven distinct breaches from December 2016 through January 2017 indicate that while river discharge is low, the combined effect of waves and tides is sufficient to reduce flow through the breach, allowing sediment to accumulate at the mouth and close off the river. 

Resolving the Food Paradox in the Sea – March 15th, 2018

Dr. Kelly Benoit-Bird, MBARI
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 15th, 2018

Hosted by the Vertebrate Ecology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Dr. Kelly Benoit-Bird is a Senior Scientist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. She received a B.S. in Aquatic Ecology from Brown University in 1998 and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa 2003. She spent a year as Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology before joining the faculty of Oregon State University in 2004 where she served was a professor of Oceanography until 2016. Kelly is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, and an IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Distinguished Lecturer. She recently served on the Scientific Steering Committee for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Symposium on Marine Ecosystem Acoustics, as an organizer for the National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, and as Chief Scientist for an Office of Naval Research Basic Research Challenge. Her research explores the ecological role of spatial and temporal dynamics in pelagic marine ecosystems from the surface to the deep sea. Her collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to understanding ocean ecosystems combines acoustic technologies with other tools including optical sampling, animal tagging, and behavioral modeling. Her work is changing our understanding of how ocean animals including zooplankton, fish, squid, seabirds, and marine mammals make their living.


Resolving the Food Paradox in the Sea

The average concentrations of biota in the ocean are generally low, a critical problem for ocean consumers. When we examine the biology with new tools guided by the predators themselves, we find that instead of being relatively devoid of life, the ocean is peppered with narrow hot-spots of activity. From the surface ocean to the deep sea and animals ranging from plankton and fish to squid and whales, small patches of plenty have impacts on ecosystems disproportionate to their contribution to the total biomass. These small aggregations provide the key to solving experimentally demonstrated feeding paradoxes as well providing a mechanism for evolution in an apparently isotropic environment where there are no obvious barriers to gene flow, Hutchinson’s “Paradox of Plankton”.

Repelling sharks to save them…and us! – March 22nd, 2018

Ryan Kempster, University of Western Australia
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - March 22nd, 2018

Hosted by the Environmental Biotechnology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Ryan is a researcher and co-founder of the shark conservation group Support Our Sharks. Ryan began his research career with a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Marine Biology at Bangor University in the United Kingdom.  After completing his studies, Ryan travelled the world and was fortunate enough to gain experience working for a number of marine conservation organizations. He worked on a range of projects, including restoring mangrove forests in Thailand, surveying coral reefs in The Bahamas, monitoring fish populations in Fiji, and protecting sea turtle nests in Costa Rica. Despite having the opportunity to get up-close and personal with a diverse range of marine life, Ryan was always drawn to sharks.  In 2010, Ryan took his passion to the next level by completing a doctorate degree at the University of Western Australia, investigating the sensory biology of sharks.  His research in Australia focused on the sensory biology of sharks with the ultimate goal of refining and improving shark repellent devices to protect ocean users and reduce shark bycatch in commercial fisheries. 

Repelling sharks to save them...and us!

A detailed knowledge of the sensory biology of sharks is essential for understanding the way in which they interpret the world around them.  By understanding a shark’s senses, we may be able to develop non-lethal methods to manipulate their behavior and discourage negative interactions with humans.  Until recently, much of our understanding of the sensory biology of sharks was derived from early attempts by the US Navy to develop shark repellents to protect servicemen.  Although shark repellents have traditionally been used to reduce the risk of negative interactions with humans, they may also play an important role in reducing fisheries’ bycatch and, ultimately, in the protection of these ecologically and economically important species. Shark Biologist Dr. Ryan Kempster will reveal the history of shark repellent technologies and the latest insights from his own global research projects in the field. 

For more information, see: www.ryankempster.com; www.supportoursharks.com

The power of open data science: experience from the Ocean Health Index – April 5th, 2018

Dr. Julia Stewart Lowndes, UC Santa Barbara
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - April 5th, 2018

Hosted by the Pacific Shark Research Center

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Dr. Julia Stewart Lowndes is a marine data scientist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). As Science Program Lead for the Ocean Health Index (OHI), she works to bridge marine science and resource management. Julia contributes to the science and open data science behind OHI assessments and also leads a training program internationally to enable independent groups to assess ocean health and inform policy in their own waters. Increasingly, she is teaching open data science trainings as an instructor with NCEAS, Software Carpentry (including at MBARI last December!), RLadies, and Mozilla Study Groups (eco-data-science).

Prior to joining the OHI team, Julia earned her Ph.D. at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, researching potential effects of the Humboldt squid in the California Current System on coastal fisheries in a changing climate. She collaborated closely with her PhD advisor Bill Gilly, as well as John Field, Steven Bograd, Elliott Hazen (NOAA), Bruce Robison and Steve Haddock (MBARI) and many others. She was also heavily involved in the Center for Ocean Solutions’ MARINE program.

You can follow her on twitter: @juliesquid

The power of open data science: experience from the Ocean Health Index

For the past four years, we have dramatically improved how we work with the Ocean Health Index by embracing open data science practices and tools. We now work in a way that is more reproducible, transparent, collaborative, and open, with more emphasis on communication. Because of this, more than 20 countries around the world are building off our science and our code for ocean management in their own jurisdictions.

We’re sharing our story in a recent publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution (Lowndes et al. 2017) because at the time we thought this transformation was intimidating, but we are living proof that it’s possible. By describing specific tools and how we incrementally began using them for the Ocean Health Index project, we hope to encourage others in the scientific community to do the same — so we can all produce better science in less time.


Watch Dr. Stewart Lowndes’ MLML seminar presentation below:

Natural and anthropogenic carbon cycle interactions: a befuddling muddling of conceptually distinct carbon pools – April 12th, 2018

Andrea Fassbender, MBARI
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - April 12th, 2018

Hosted by the Chemical Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Andrea Fassbender received her undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of British Columbia (2007) then completed a Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (2009) and earned both her Master’s Degree (2010) and Ph.D. (2014) in Oceanography at the University of Washington. For her postdoc, she collaborated with NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Washington Ocean Acidification Center to characterize carbonate chemistry throughout Washington’s marine surface waters as a UCAR PACE Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2017, she joined MBARI to lead a group studying marine biogeochemical cycling and the ocean’s role in global climate through the carbon cycle.




Natural and anthropogenic carbon cycle interactions: a befuddling muddling of conceptually distinct carbon pools

Abstract: On thousand-year timescales, the vast majority of anthropogenic carbon will be distributed and stored within the ocean; however, humans are modifying the carbon cycle much more rapidly than the ocean circulates. As a result, large changes in the carbon dioxide (CO2) content of the atmosphere and upper ocean are occurring, as is the amount of carbon stored within land plants. The ocean has absorbed an estimated 30% of the anthropogenic carbon released to the atmosphere since industrialization, and it has long been recognized that the efficiency of ocean CO2 uptake will decline over time due to anticipated, long-term changes in ocean chemistry. What remains less clear is how anthropogenic carbon interacts with natural carbon in the ocean to influence carbon cycle processes occurring on shorter timescales, such as seasons. Thus, a lingering question is: will the modern pattern of ocean CO2 uptake persist? In this talk, I will discuss ways in which natural and anthropogenic carbon interact to modify the fingerprint of marine carbon cycle processes, how this many influence air-sea CO2 exchange, and why this provides further incentive to characterize the biological pump for the sake of global climate projections.

Underwater secrets of the Hayward fault zone: integrated 3D imaging to understand earthquake hazards – April 19th, 2018

Janet Watt, USGS
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - April 26th, 2018

Hosted by the Geological Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Janet Watt received her M.S. in Marine Science (Geological Oceanography) from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 2004 while working at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA. As part of the Geophysical Unit of Menlo Park (GUMP), She used potential-field methods (gravity and magnetics) and 3D geologic mapping to understand earthquake and volcano hazards, and mineral and water resources in the western U.S. In 2010, She returned to her marine geology roots and joined the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, CA where she currently works as a Research Geophysicist.

Her research focuses on characterizing onshore/offshore geologic structure, deformation, and active tectonics to address problems focused on geologic hazards and framework geologic processes. Her recent work involves the development and application of integrative geophysical approaches to 3D characterization of faults and fault interactions.

Underwater secrets of the Hayward fault zone: integrated 3D imaging to understand earthquake hazards

The next major earthquake to strike the ~7 million residents of the San Francisco Bay Area will most likely result from rupture of the Hayward or Rodgers Creek faults. Until now, the relationship between these two faults beneath San Pablo Bay has been a mystery. Detailed subsurface imaging provides definitive evidence of active faulting along the Hayward fault as it traverses San Pablo Bay and bends ~10° to the right toward the Rodgers Creek fault. Integrated geophysical interpretation and kinematic modeling show that the Hayward and Rodgers Creek faults are directly connected at the surface—a geometric relationship that has significant implications for earthquake dynamics and seismic hazard. A direct link enables simultaneous rupture of the Hayward and Rodgers Creek faults, a scenario that could result in a major earthquake (M = 7.4) that would cause extensive damage and loss of life with global economic impact.

Watch Dr. Watt’s MLML seminar presentation below:

Analyzing potential impacts of offshore wind projects off the coast of California – April 26th, 2018

Scott Terrill, HT Harvey and Associates
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - April 26th, 2018

Hosted by the Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Scott is a native to the California Bay Area.  He received his B.S. and M.S. in Zoology from Arizona State University and received his Ph.D. from the State University of New York.  His research focused on avian migration and he is a Von Humboldt Fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Physiology.  He has observed birds in the California current on hundreds of occasions for over 50 years.  He was the Regional Editor for seabird section for the journal North American Birds for 10 years and coauthored the seabirds section of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Site Characterization.  Currently, he is coauthoring a major study on the near California endemic seabird the Ashy Storm-Petrel.

Scott is Senior Ornithologist and Vice President at H. T. Harvey and Associates, an ecological consulting company started by Tom Harvey, Jim Harvey’s father, nearly 50 years ago.  This consulting group is relatively unique in that, in addition to applied ecology consulting services, it conducts basic research on marine systems funded by NSF, NOAA and others, and the group has contributed over 500 referred scientific publications.


Analyzing Potential Impacts of Offshore Wind Projects off the Coast of California

Significantly reducing carbon-based energy production is critical to mitigate the long-term impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change.  California has a very ambitious renewable energy target for the state.  Sources of renewable energy include solar, wind, hydropower, thermal and marine hydrokinetics (wave and tidal).  Many terrestrial wind projects exist in California and the abundant offshore winds provide a huge potential source of renewable energy.

A number of offshore wind projects exist in Europe and there is one project off the east coast of North America.  These projects are all nearshore projects in shallow water.  The potential for projects off California in deep water over the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is being considered by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the California Energy Commission. Such projects would use turbines on floating platforms rather than turbines anchored to the ocean bottom.  Whereas some of the information on avian response to nearshore turbines in Europe can be used to inform risk assessments off California, especially nearshore wind projects if proposed, they would have very limited application to turbines off the OCS. The nutrient rich California current is used by large numbers of offshore pelagic birds, many of which disperse long distances to reach it.  Most of these species are quite different from those in nearshore Europe, and in many cases far offshore of Europe as well. I will also discuss the differences between the offshore wind projects in Europe and any proposed off California with respect to landbird migrants over the ocean. Although my specialty is birds, I will touch on potential concerns for some other offshore taxa as well.

I will be discussing some of the fundamental differences in the ocean avian communities in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and how those differences need to be taken into account when approaching risk assessments in the California Current.  Additionally, I will be discussing existing data that can be used to inform risk assessments, remaining data gaps, and possible next steps.

Watch Dr. Terrill’s MLML seminar presentation below:

Up, down & sideways: 4 decades of change in a Monterey kelp forest – May 3rd, 2018

Dr. James Watanabe, Hopkins Marine Station
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - May 3rd, 2018

Hosted by the Phycology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Dr. James M. Watanabe received his PhD in zoology from UC Berkeley. His research interests focus on invertebrate zoology and marine ecology, with particular emphasis on kelp forests and rocky intertidal communities. Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in 1994, he directed the research program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium for 10 years.

Dr. Watanabe has conducted research on the distribution and abundance of kelp forest invertebrates, the dynamics of sea urchin-mediated deforestations, and the physiological ecology of kelp . These studies have focused on predator-prey interactions, interspecific competition, and the effects of disturbance on marine organisms. He is also interested in the statistical problems of detecting changes in natural populations through time.

Dr. Watanabe's primary responsibility at Hopkins Marine Station is undergraduate teaching. During winter, spring, and summer quarters he teaches subjects ranging from introductory biology and invertebrate zoology to kelp forest ecology, experimental design, and statistics. His courses attempt to nuture an appreciation for the natural world through accumulation of detailed knowledge and hands-on experience.


Up, down, and sideways: four decades in a Monterey kelp forest

Four decades of observing the kelp forests of the Monterey peninsula have shown me a broad spectrum of variability in both time and space, from unexpected swings in the abundance of some species to near constancy in others.  Witnessing this procession of change has challenged my perceptions as the years have gone by and altered my understanding of how I think these communities function.  I'll present some data and a few thoughts on how massive barnacle settlement, sea star mass mortality, and sea urchin-mediated deforestation in the heart of sea otter country have taught me lessons from the kelp forest.

Watch James Watanabe’s MLML seminar presentation below: