Alumna Sophie Bernstein ’21 publishes new paper on domoic acid transfer in marine food webs

Congrats to MLML Ichthyology Lab alumna Sophie Bernstein ’21 on the publication of her thesis research in the scientific journal Harmful Algae!

Domoic acid (DA) is a harmful marine biotoxin produced by algae that accumulates in shellfish and other marine species, especially during harmful algal blooms (HAB). In their study, Sophie and co-authors used stable isotope analysis and DA measurements to investigate how DA is transferred through marine food webs in Monterey Bay. They found that anchovies are better sentinel species for coastal-pelagic regions than mussels, which did not contain any detectable levels of day. Their study demonstrates the efficacy of combining multiple biogeochemical tracers to improve HAB monitoring efforts and identify the main routes of DA transfer across habitats and trophic levels.

Read the open access paper here: Bernstein et al. 2021

Figure from Bernstein et al. 2021. Isotopic niches of potential DA vectors, crabs and predators vulnerable to DA toxicosis. (A) Bayesian standard ellipses and trophic level estimates of key taxa. Each point represents an individual and each color is associated with a different species. (B) Site-control analysis presenting the Bayesian ellipses of five potential DA vectors collected at stations 114, 115, and 116, and Dungeness crabs at C1 and C2.

Virtual Seminar – Losing their lifeline? Mussel attachment in dynamic coastal environments- October 28


Emily Carrington, University of Washington, Seattle

Hosted by the Invertebrate Ecology Lab

Presenting: "Losing their lifeline? Mussel attachment in dynamic coastal environments"

MLML Virtual Seminar | October 28th, 2021 at 4pm

Watch the Live Stream here or here

Mussels are well-known ecosystem engineers, often dominating temperate wave-swept shores worldwide.  They are also important aquaculture species and a “biofouling” nuisance to many maritime industries. Disturbance to mussel populations, such as dislodgment due to increased flow forces and/or weakened attachment, therefore has important ecological and economic ramifications.  Mussels attach securely to hard substrates such as rock, aquaculture rope and ship hulls by molding individual collagen-like tethers called byssal threads.  This seminar will describe some of our controlled laboratory experiments on the effects of ocean acidification (OA), ocean warming (OW) and hypoxia on byssal thread strength, as well as our field observations of farmed mussel populations. Our ecomechanical framework provides a valuable tool for predicting the responses of mussels, and their dependent coastal communities, to current and future climate scenarios.

About the speaker:

Emily Carrington is Professor of Biology at the University of Washington, where she leads a marine biomechanics research group based in Seattle and the Friday Harbor Laboratories in the San Juan Islands.  She grew up in Michigan and North Carolina, where she developed a fascination with industrial assembly lines and coastal waves and currents. Her research on the mechanical design of marine invertebrates and macroalgae, especially those that thrive in the wave-swept rocky shores began on the shores of Monterey Bay. Her work draws upon the fields of engineering, biology and oceanography to develop a mechanistic understanding of how coastal organisms will fare in changing ocean climates.

Emily Carrington Presents: Losing their lifeline? Mussel attachment in dynamic coastal environments

Dr. Michael Graham named new MLML Department Chair

We are excited to announce that Dr. Michael Graham has been named the new Department Chair of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories!

Dr. Graham received his MS in Marine Science from San José State University & MLML in 1995 and joined the faculty here in 2003 after earning his PhD in Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Dr. Graham and his students in the Phycology Lab study the role of seaweeds in regulating the dynamics and diversity of marine systems. He looks forward to serving the MLML community in new capacities as Department Chair.

SJSU/MLML Central Coast Wetlands Group researchers meet with State Senator John Laird

Yesterday, researchers from the SJSU/MLML Central Coast Wetlands Group organized a field trip with California State Senator John Laird to discuss their innovative new watershed restoration project. 

The project, titled “Castroville to the Coast”, is a collaborative effort between resource managers, local farmers, and community members. It aims to increase climate resilience, decrease local flooding, and improve water quality and wetland habitat while equally meeting the needs of the Castroville community, the participating farmers, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Partners agree that the Castroville to the Coast project can be a model for restoring the numerous watershed functions within the Salinas Valley we all rely on.

Read more about this important project in the official press release.

Virtual Seminar – Mercury…sure it’s toxic, but it also tells us interesting things about the ocean – October 14


Carl Lamborg, University of California Santa Cruz

Hosted by the Chemical Oceanography Lab

Presenting: "Mercury...sure it's toxic, but it also tells us interesting things about the ocean "

MLML Virtual Seminar | October 14th, 2021 at 4pm

Watch the Live Stream here or here

About the speaker:

Dr. Carl Lamborg is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Ocean Sciences Department. Prior to working at UCSC, Carl spent 11 years working at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, first as a Post-doctoral Scholar and later as an Associate Scientist without tenure. Carl received a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Connecticut in 2003, a MS in Environmental Chemistry from University of Michigan, and a BA in Chemistry from Oberlin College.

Carl Lamborg Presents: Mercury… sure it’s toxic, but it also tells us interesting things about the ocean

Virtual Seminar – Climate change, ocean stratification, and impacts on breeding performance of indicator species – October 7th


William Sydeman, Farallon Institute

Hosted by the Biological Oceanography Lab

Presenting: "Climate change, ocean stratification, and impacts on breeding performance of indicator species"

MLML Virtual Seminar | October 7th, 2021 at 4pm

Watch the Live Stream here or here

About the speaker:

Dr. William J. Sydeman is a veteran marine ecologist with expertise in eastern boundary current - upwelling, and other temperate-subarctic ecosystems of the North Pacific.  Bill conducts interdisciplinary research focusing on marine climate impacts on plankton (krill), forage fish, and predators (seabirds).  His expertise includes changes in ocean temperature and winds, population biology of krill and forage fish, seabird ecology and conservation, ecosystem-based fisheries management, and ecological indicators.  He has published about 200 papers in the primary literature, and serves on various advisory panels including as current co-chair of California’s Ocean Protection Council – Science Advisory Team.  Bill lives and works in Petaluma in northern California.  Bill’s presentation will be based on a recent paper published in Science in May 2021 entitled “Hemispheric Asymmetry in Ocean Change and the Productivity of Ecosystem Sentinels” in which he and a large group of international colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of changes in seabird breeding success across the globe and compared responses across seabird trophic levels and foraging behavior.

William Sydeman Presents: Climate change, ocean stratification, and impacts on breeding performance of indicator species

SJSU/MLML invertebrate zoologist Dr. Jonathan Geller retires after 23 years of service

Please join us in wishing SJSU/MLML Professor Jonathan Geller a happy retirement!

Friday, October 1st was Dr. Geller’s last day on the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories faculty after 23 years of service to the labs and San José State University. Dr. Geller first came to MLML in 1998 as an Associate Professor and was promoted to Full Professor in 2005. He served as the MLML Department Chair from 2011 to 2015. Under Dr. Geller’s leadership, students and researchers in the Invertebrate Zoology & Molecular Ecology Lab used genetic techniques to study the evolutionary ecology of marine invertebrates. Dr. Geller looks forward to continuing with this research as a Professor Emeritus. Congratulations on your retirement, Dr. Geller!