Virtual Seminar – Spatial dynamics of coastal ecosystems and their resilience to disturbance, fishing and climate change – February 25th


Andrew Rassweiler, Florida State University

Hosted by the Ichthyology Lab

Presenting: "Spatial dynamics of coastal ecosystems and their resilience to disturbance, fishing and climate change"

MLML Virtual Seminar | February 25th, 2021 at 4pm

Watch the Live Stream here or here




Dr. Andrew Rassweiler is an Assistant Professor in the department of Biological Science at Florida State University. He is an applied marine ecologist who studies coastal environments with an emphasis on resilience, abrupt ecological state change and the spatial management of marine resources. He works in kelp forest, seagrass and coral reef ecosystems using a mix of empirical and theoretical approaches. His work is highly interdisciplinary and features collaboration with economists and anthropologists to better understand feedbacks between ecological and human components of nearshore marine systems. 

Check out his website here:


Endangered white abalone raised at SJSU/MLML Aquaculture Center flown to Los Angeles for release

Moss Landing Marine Labs researchers Peter Hain and Kayla Roy along with California Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist Luke Gardner have spent the past two years raising endangered white abalone at the SJSU/MLML Aquaculture Center. These marine snails started out as tiny larvae but have grown to ~2 inches long and are now ready to be released into the wild to help save their species. 

On February 19th, a total of 902 abalone were transferred from MLML to the Southern California Marine Institute. These endangered mollusks received VIP treatment and were flown by private plane from Monterey Bay to Los Angeles courtesy of LightHawk volunteer pilot David Houghton. The abalone will be cared for by staff from The Bay Foundation until they pass a health check and are ready to be released into the wild. There are currently only a few thousand wild white abalone, so this release will be a huge bump to the population.

This project is part of a large multi-institutional effort funded by NOAA Fisheries and coordinated by the White Abalone Captive Breeding Program based at Bodega Marine Laboratory of UC Davis. Thank you to all of our fantastic partners for making this important work possible!

Virtual Seminar – Do you want to build a worm brain? Lessons from annelids and evo-devo – February 17th


Nicole Webster, Clark University

Hosted by the Invertebrate Ecology Lab

Presenting: "Do you want to build a worm brain? Lessons from annelids and evo-devo"

MLML Virtual Seminar | February 18th, 2021 at 4pm

Watch the Live Stream here or here




Dr. Nicole Webster earned a PhD through University of Alberta and is conducting a postdoctoral fellowship at Clark University where she is studying BMP pathway and neural specification in the marine annelid Capitella teleta.

Ocean Protection Council awards $1.3 million in funding to support Elkhorn Slough restoration

We are thrilled to announce that the California Ocean Protection Council has approved $1.3 million in new funding to support restoration of Elkhorn Slough! This restoration will take place on the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, owned and managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with NOAA and with support from the Elkhorn Slough Foundation.

More than 90% of California’s wetlands have vanished over the past century. Today Elkhorn Slough features the most extensive salt marshes in California south of San Francisco Bay, yet without intervention the remaining marshes are projected to be lost within 50 years due to rising sea levels, subsidence, and tidal erosion. This new funding, generated by California’s Proposition 68, will be used to restore a diversity of species and habitats in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve including native oysters, eelgrass beds, coastal grasslands, and tidal salt marsh.

Oysters in Elkhorn Slough are at dire risk of local extinction, with no successful reproduction in the wild since 2012. To restore these vanishing filter feeders, scientists have pursued a novel approach, capitalizing on techniques used by commercial oyster farmers. They will bring adult oysters from the slough to the SJSU/MLML Aquaculture Facility, where they will be fed and warmed until they produce larvae. The larvae settle out on clam shells provided by the aquaculturists. When they are dime-sized, the baby oysters will be reintroduced to the restored tidal creeks. 

Lean more about Elkhorn Slough and this exciting new restoration project at

Virtual Seminar – From molecules to management: how stable isotope analysis can inform conservation planning for sea turtles – February 11th


Jeffrey Seminoff, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Hosted by the Vertebrate Ecology Lab

Presenting: "From molecules to management: how stable isotope analysis can inform conservation planning for sea turtles"

MLML Virtual Seminar | February 11th, 2021 at 4pm

Watch the Live Stream here or here




Dr. Jeffrey Seminoff is Leader of the Marine Turtle Ecology & Assessment Program and Director of the Stable Isotope Laboratory at the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center (La Jolla, California). Since 1992 Jeff has been involved in ecological research and conservation of sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 2000, and was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida from 2000 to 2002. Seminoff is the Past-President of the International Sea Turtle Society and hosted the 31st International Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in San Diego in 2011. He is Editor of the hard-cover book 'Sea Turtles of the Eastern Pacific' (University of Arizona Press) and was team leader for the green sea turtle status assessments for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Seminoff serves as the U.S. Delegate for the Scientific Committee of the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation of Sea Turtles, is a member of IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group and the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, and is the Executive Editor of the professional scientific journal Chelonian Conservation and Biology. He is deeply committed to teaching and training young scientists about turtle research and conservation techniques, and has served on thesis committees of more than 50 graduate students. Jeffrey’s current research uses innovative approaches such as stable isotope analysis, biotelemetry, animal-borne imagery, and aerial surveys to elucidate the life history of sea turtles throughout the world. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and his research has been featured in numerous popular magazines, local and national news outlets, as well as on the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS, and National Geographic Television. Jeffrey lives with his wife, Jennifer, and children Quin and Graeson, in San Diego along with their three dogs and two leopard tortoises, Winnie and Mango.


Thesis Defense by Ann Bishop – February 23 Livestream


"Feeling the heat: Reproductive Competition between Macrocystis pyrifera and Sargassum horneri"
A Thesis Defense by Ann Bishop

The Phycology Lab

MLML Live-Stream | February 23, 2021 at 4 pm

Ann is a masters student in the Phycology and has been working under the co-advisement of Dr. Mike Graham and Dr. Diana Steller. She grew up in the forests and on the water of the Great Lakes in northern Michigan, but the lakes weren’t quite enough to satisfy her curiosity. While studying Natural Resource Management and Conservation at Colorado State University she explored policy and research in rangelands, forestry, and anthropology. This led to opportunities to study in Australia focusing on tropical ecology and how to take terrestrial research techniques and apply them to managing natural resources above and below the water. After achieving her Bachelor of Science, she crisscrossed the country working for the National Park Service as a sea turtle technician and for the Catalina Environmental Leadership Program teaching students and sharing her love of nature, ecology, and- especially- seaweed and plants. During her time on Catalina, Ann watched kelp forests on the island disappear in a matter of months and be replaced with a thicket of invasive sargassum. A desire to understand what happened to Catalina’s kelp forests drove her to pursue a masters and became the topic of her thesis. At Moss Landing Marine Labs in addition to her thesis work, she has traveled to study kelp forests in Baja Mexico and Chile, interned at the Monterey Bay Aquarium as their herbarium technician, and assisted with the marine botany course. She has also has been the curator for the MLML Research Museum, which included cataloging and caring for MLML’s historic collections, presenting at conferences on behalf of the museum and her own research, and working to develop the education and outreach side of the collection. Ann hopes to continue working where everything – research, management, outreach – is connected.

Thesis Abstract:

Off the south west coast of North America, kelp forests are facing both warmer waters and introductions of new species. This study examined how the reproductive strategies of giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, and the invasive fucoid Sargassum horneri may have contributed to the interactions of these species on Catalina Island during the 2014 heatwave and 2015/16 El Niño. In 2018-2019 monthly field surveys were conducted to observe current density, demography, temporal variability of vegetative vs. reproductive biomass investment, and temporal variation in gamete release for both species. Field observations were complimented with experimental lab cultures growing M. pyrifera with and without S. horneri. The lab experiments sought to test the effect of temperature on competition between these two species at their microscopic life stages, and what role temperature plays in gamete genesis. Peaks in Macrocystis biomass occurred in summer and coincided with peaks in zoospore production, however there was only a weak correlation between individual size and zoospore production. Conversely, Sargassum biomass and reproductive output peaked between February and April when this seaweed invests heavily in reproduction before the end of its lifespan. Macrocystis produced more propagules per individual at its peak reproductive period than Sargassum. Sargassum released all of its gametes in the spring and grew quickly from the microscopic to juvenile stage. In the lab Macrocystis development was affected mostly by temperature and less by settlement density. Macrocystis sporophyte production decreased with higher temperatures whereas Sargassum zygotes developed more quickly with increases in temperature. The results and observations of this study would indicate that temperature plays a large role in the developmental success of each of these species. The unique events that preceded the record 2015-16 El Niño likely contributed to Sargassum dominating the seascape. If temperatures are anomalously high this will be exacerbated in the future if Macrocystis gametophytes are unable to complete fertilization and develop sporophytes. The high propagule production of Macrocystis and its potential for large area dispersal could provide influxes of gametophytes to deforested areas, particularly in La Niña years, regenerating these habitats. Further research focused on how high ocean temperatures impact Macrocystis resilience and kelp forest connectivity could inform how these ecological processes are changing due to climate change. This can aid in better understanding to manage the trajectory of current and future introduced species, such as invasive Sargassum horneri.

Ann Bishop Presents: Feeling the heat: Reproductive Competition between Macrocystis pyrifera and Sargassum horneri

SJSU/MLML alumna June Shrestha named 2021 California Sea Grant State Fellow

Congratulations to SJSU/MLML alumna June Shrestha on her selection as a 2021 California Sea Grant State Fellow! 

This competitive program matches recent grads with municipal, state, or federal host agencies in California for year-long fellowships that provide training at the interface of science, communication, policy, and management. June received her MS in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Labs in 2020 and will be working with NOAA Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary for her fellowship. June will support efforts to revise the sanctuary management plan, facilitate engagement with stakeholders during sanctuary advisory council meetings, and contribute to education and outreach initiatives.

Read more in the California Sea Grant State Fellowship announcement.

Virtual Seminar – Recovery of white sharks off California and what this means to coastal communities – February 4th


Chris Lowe, CSU Long Beach

Hosted by the Pacific Shark Research Center

Presenting: "Recovery of white sharks off California and what this means to coastal communities"

MLML Virtual Seminar | February 4th, 2021 at 4pm

Watch the Live Stream here or here




Dr. Chris Lowe is a professor in marine biology and director of the Shark Lab at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where he and his students work with acoustic and satellite telemetry techniques to study the movement, behavior and physiology of sharks, rays and gamefishes.   He has been an active scientific diver for 30 years, logging 100s of research related dives at “sharky” places including California, Hawaii, Northwestern Hawaiian Island, Palmyra Atoll, Belize, Bikini Atoll, Great Barrier Reef, and the Philippines.  Dr. Lowe serves on the CSU Ocean Studies Institute and USC Diving Control Boards.

Dr. Lowe earned his Bachelor of Arts in marine biology at Barrington College in Rhode Island and a Master of Science degree in biology at CSULB. In 1998, he earned a doctorate in zoology, studying bioenergetics of juvenile hammerhead sharks, at the University of Hawaii.

In 1998, he returned to CSULB to teach marine biology and oversee the Shark Lab, which was founded in 1966 by Dr. Donald R. Nelson, a pioneer in the development and use of acoustic telemetry to study sharks. It has been Dr. Lowe’s goal to maintain the history of innovation Dr. Nelson established. For the last ten years, he and his students have been studying the baby and juvenile white sharks of Southern California and have greatly contributed to the field of knowledge for this enigmatic species. In addition, recent research by Dr. Lowe and his student team has focused on the development of underwater robots for autonomously tracking sharks and gamefishes. He has garnered several academic awards, including CSULB’s 2008-2009 Outstanding Professor Award, 2012 CSULB Impact in Research Award, 2016 the Nell and John Wooden Ethics in Leadership Award, and recognized by the Orange County Register as among the top 100 Most Influential People.

As the climate, ocean and marine life continue to change, Dr. Lowe has become adept at speaking to media about how fluctuations in water temperatures and weather patterns have affected ocean life. He has appeared in many articles and on TV and radio broadcasts, including the PBS/BBC special “Big Blue Live”, “TODAY”, “Al Jazeera America”, “CBC News”, Newsweek, KNX Radio, the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Time and the Long Beach Press-Telegram, just to name a few.

Dr. Lowe grew up on Martha’s Vineyard, where he spent a majority of his youth fishing and diving the waters around Cape Cod. He comes from a long line of New England fishermen and whalers, and the first in his family to go to college, he believes a career focused on the ocean environment was inevitable.


MLML logo featured in video highlighting the history of famous Japanese design “The Great Wave”

You probably recognize the iconic Japanese design “The Great Wave” from its countless recreations on posters, advertisements, emojis 🌊, and even our signature Moss Landing Marine Labs wave logo. But what is the story behind this image and how did it become so famous?

German newspaper Zeit Online recently produced a fascinating short film about the history of The Great Wave that includes the original MLML wave logo designed by Chuck Versaggi at 7:10 (also pictured right). Watch the video with English subtitles here.

Still want to learn more? Check out this blogpost by Lloyd Kitazano from our 50th Anniversary Blog to learn more about the story behind the MLML wave.