Webinar – Creative Conservation for the Unconverted – May 7th


Tierney Thys, National Geographic
Presenting: "Creative conservation for the unconverted"

MLML Webinar | May 7th, 2020 at 4pm



As Rachel Carson wrote, ”It is not half so important to know, as to feel.”  Acknowledging, understanding and wielding the power of emotional messaging for scientifically-informed, conservation causes is an ongoing, challenging task. We, humans, are complex, emotionally driven creatures who make decisions based on our own sets of wide-ranging values. To effectively message marine science and conservation requires a multi-step process involving three integral components: 1) quantifying  the current state of the ocean’s goods and services for people; 2) framing those scientific findings in a narrative way that speaks to the audiences’ diverse sets of values and; 3) experimenting, evaluating and honing those narratives since there is no one-size-fits-all. Multi-disciplinary collaborations are integral to this iterative process and the number of innovative groups experimenting in this realm is growing. In this talk I  present a range of interdisciplinary conservation projects, lessons learned along the way plus offer a hopeful look to the future.


Dr. Nick Welschmeyer On the Best Available Science for Ballast Water Treatment

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.

Webinar – Passive Acoustic Monitoring in California’s National Marine Sanctuaries by MLML alumna Angela Szesciorka

Register Here (free)

Date/Time: February 19, 2020 at 2 pm Pacific / 5 pm Eastern

Presented by: Samara Haver, Ph.D candidate at Oregon State University; Angela R. Szesciorka and Vanessa ZoBell, Ph.D. candidates at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Description: Acoustic signals travel quickly and efficiently over long distances in the aquatic environment; thus, sound has become the principal sensory modality used by many marine animal species. This is particularly true for acoustically oriented marine mammals that rely on sound to communicate, perceive their environment, detect and avoid predators, forage for food, and navigate. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is used to measure, monitor, and determine the sources of sound in underwater environments, enabling scientists to eavesdrop on the acoustic behavior of marine animals (e.g., whale song, fish chorusing, snapping shrimp), natural abiotic sounds (e.g., wind, earthquakes), and human generated sounds (e.g., cargo vessels). By utilizing PAM tools in national marine sanctuaries, researchers are able to collect data to answer questions about these valuable marine habitats and provide important condition information to managers and policymakers. In this webinar, three Ph.D. candidates that are NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholars will discuss current PAM research efforts taking place in some of California’s national marine sanctuaries.

Drivers of biogeochemical variability in a kelp forest in southern Monterey Bay and beyond – January 23rd

Yui Takeshita, Monterey Bay Aquarium research Institute
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - January 23rd, 2020

Hosted by The Chemical Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Submerged aquatic vegetation such as seagrass beds and kelp forests have been proposed as a potential strategy to locally ameliorate impacts of ocean acidification. However, kelp forests are known to thrive in highly dynamic systems, where chemical conditions are controlled by a complex interaction of physical and biological drivers. Thus, in order to accurately assess the potential and limitations for this strategy, we must first quantify the underlying natural processes that drive its variability. In this talk, I will present a paired-mooring experiment conducted in the summer of 2018 where a mooring was deployed inside and outside of the kelp forest right outside of Hopkins Marine Lab. The moorings were instrumented with pH and O2 sensors that provided high vertical resolution. The results will be discussed in the context of this kelp forest's potential to curb acidification stress, and how this site compares to others along the California coast. 

My main research interests are focused on developing and applying new autonomous biogeochemical sensing technology. I use these new instruments to study various marine processes, especially in the coastal ocean where impacts of ocean change are felt most strongly by society. For example, we have used moored instrumentation to make habitat specific ocean acidification predictions in Southern California, and developed benthic flux systems to measure net calcification rates on coral reefs as a proxy for reef health. Currently our group is working on improving benthic flux systems for long term, sustained measurements; studying high frequency dynamics in coastal systems such as coral reefs, kelp forests, and sea grass beds; operating pH sensors on underwater gliders; and refining our thermodynamic model of CO2 chemistry in seawater to establish robust calibration protocols for pH sensors on autonomous sensor networks such as gliders and profiling floats. 

I have been a scientist at MBARI since 2017. I received my Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego under Todd Martz, and did a postdoc under Ken Caldeira at the Carnegie Institution for Science 

I also hold an adjunct faculty position in the Ocean Sciences (link: https://oceansci.ucsc.edu/) department at the University of California Santa Cruz. 












Thesis Defense by Miya Pavlock-McAuliffe – January 27th

Drivers of Sub-Seasonal to Interannual Shoreline Change at Sunset State Beach in Monterey Bay, CA

A Thesis Defense by Miya Pavlock-McAuliffe

The Physical Oceanography Lab

Monday, January 27th, 2020 at 4pm

MLML Seminar Room

Thesis Abstract:

This study investigates the interrelationships between the shoreline, sandbar, and wave characteristics using twenty months of half-hourly video observations and five years of biannual survey observations. The relationship between sandbar and shoreline position was investigated to evaluate whether the sandbar buffers the shoreline from incoming wave energy. The shoreline varied by approximately 60 meters while the sandbar varied by approximately 100 meters in the cross-shore direction. The 95th percentile of nearshore significant wave height (1.7m) was required to significantly erode the shoreline at the onset of winter. The investigation of sandbar buffering was inconclusive but suggests that sandbar position plays a greater role in shoreline recovery than in shoreline erosion. Next, shoreline change models were used to test the influence of cross- and alongshore sediment transport on storm-scale to interannual shoreline evolution. An equilibrium shoreline change model was used to simulate shoreline change due to cross-shore sediment transport (RMSE = 6.4m). According to the equilibrium model, the accretion timescale at Sunset State Beach was nearly four times longer than the erosion timescale. Model performance was not significantly improved by the inclusion of shoreline change due to alongshore sediment transport but was likely degraded by temporally variable sediment supply, inferred from annual fluctuations of sandbar and shoreline position. Enhanced shoreline erosion corresponded with greater average winter wave heights and when wave energy approached from more shore-normal directions. Shore-normal wave approach did not necessarily correspond with El Niño periods, but did act to enhance alongshore wave energy gradients due to the irregular bathymetry of the Monterey Submarine Canyon. The results of this study emphasize the need for accurate projections of changing wave direction in addition to wave energy to accurately predict coastal change.

Miya Pavlock McAuliffe Presents: Drivers of sub-seasonal to interannual shoreline change at Sunset State Beach in Monterey Bay, CA

Carbon Fluxes and Ocean Acidification During the Paleocene-Eocene – January 30th

Jim Zachos, UCSC
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - January 30th, 2020

Hosted by The Geological Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

~More information to come~


Jim Zachos's research interests encompass a wide variety of problems related to the biological, chemical, and climatic evolution of late Cretaceous and Cenozoic oceans. He measures the chemical composition of shells from marine sediments to reconstruct past changes in ocean temperature & circulation, continental ice-volume, productivity, and carbon cycling. His research is oriented toward identifying the mechanisms responsible for driving long and short-term changes in global climate.

Zachos, his students, and colleagues are currently participating in several projects oriented toward understanding the nature of rapid and extreme climate transitions in earth's past. These projects involve the application of stable isotope and trace metal ratios to reconstruct the ocean temperature and chemistry for several episodes of extreme climates including the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (~56 mya), the middle- and early Eocene Climatic Optimums, as well as subsequent long-term cooling trends. This also includes work to quantify rare episodes of ocean acidification (acid oceans) that accompanied several of the transient warmings. He is also utilizing sediment archives to establish the approximate timing and extent of continental glaciations during the Oligocene and Miocene epochs (between 15 to 35 million years ago).










Climate change impacts on kelp forest ecosystems on the California Current region – February 6th

Fiorenza Micheli, Hopkins Marine Station
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - February 6th, 2020

Hosted by The Phycology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

~More information to come~



Fiorenza Micheli is a marine ecologist and conservation biologist conducting research and teaching at the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, where she is the David and Lucile Packard Professor of Marine Science and the co-director, with Jim Leape, of Center for Ocean Solutions (www.centerforoceansolutions.org). Micheli’s research focuses on the processes shaping marine communities and incorporating this understanding in the management and conservation of marine ecosystems. Her current research projects investigate social and ecological drivers of the resilience of small-scale fisheries to climatic impacts in Baja California, Mexico, the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of coastal hypoxia and ocean acidification in the California Current large marine ecosystem, the ecological role and spatial ecology of parrotfish and reef sharks in the coral reefs of the Pacific Line Islands, the effects of ocean acidification on seagrass, rocky reef and kelp forest communities, and the performance and management of marine protected Areas in the Mediterranean Sea. She is a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and senior fellow at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment.

Watch Fiorenza’s MLML Seminar Presentation Below:

What does blue mud tell us about subduction? – February 13th


Geoff Wheat, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Presenting: What does blue mud tell us about seduction?

Hosted by The Chemical Oceanography Lab

MLML Seminar Room | February 13th, 2020 at 4pm

Open to the public


Geoff Wheat uses chemical tracers to understand processes that influence the cycle of elements in the oceans. Much of this work focuses on the transport of fluids through the oceanic crust in a range of settings including hydrothermal systems on mid-ocean ridges and flanks and seepage sites along zones of subduction and in coastal environments. Studies typically include sampling and analyzing fluids and solids, developing transport-reaction models, and relating results to biogeochemical cycles and crustal evolution. Wheat has participated on 79 ocean expeditions of which 49 included a submersible or ROV component. On 26 of these cruises Wheat was either the Chief Scientist or one of two Co-Chief Scientists. Wheat also has participated on two legs of the Ocean Drilling Program and seven expeditions of the Integrated (International) Ocean Drilling (Discovery) Program (IODP).


The Mariana forearc is home to tens of active serpentinite mud volcanoes, which are the largest mud volcanoes on Earth, some spanning 50 km in diameter and kilometers high. These mud volcanoes form at the intersection of faults in a non-accretionary forearc prism. Such faults permit fluids, muds, clasts, and rocks to be transported from the subduction channel to the seafloor. Because these active serpentinite mud volcanoes are located at different distances from the trench, they are supplied by material that originates at a range of depths, temperatures, and pressures within the subduction channel. Thus, serpentinite mud volcanoes are windows into the subduction channel, allowing us to characterize physical, thermal, chemical, and microbial processes within a subduction channel. 


Watch Geoff’s MLML Seminar Presentation Below:

Evolution of bioluminescence in the sea – February 20th

Manabu Bessho, Monterey Bay Research Institute
Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - February 20th, 2020

Hosted by The Invertebrate Zoology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

~More information to come~



Manabu earned his PhD in Bioagricultural Sciences from Nagoya University, Japan; where he also received his Masters and Bachelor degrees. Manabu’s research interests are in bioluminescence, evolutionary novelty, and evolutionary developmental biology. At MBARI, Manabu’s fellowship will focus on important questions in deep-sea bioluminescence.