Thesis Defense by Jennifer Tackaberry – May 17 Livestream


"Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, feeding dynamics from the perspective of the individual: Insights from demography, life history, and bio-logging"
A Thesis Defense by Jennifer Tackaberry

The Vertebrate Ecology Lab

MLML Live-Stream | May 17, 2021 at 11 am

Thesis Abstract:

In fission-fusion societies, individuals do not need to conform to a social structure in which their demographic or relatedness dictates their behavioral state or associations. Therefore, studies of fission-fusion societies provide a framework in which to compare the feeding dynamics across demographics unrestrained by stable associations. This study used bio-logger data and surface observations combined with long-term population data from the Gulf of Maine humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, population to better understand the influence of demographics on feeding methods, time spent feeding and determine if a coordinated feeding method, kick-feeding, was a cooperative behavior. The results suggest that demographics did influence the feeding method used and highlighted the need to determine how energetic needs change across the feeding season. The results suggest that kick-feeding was not a form of cooperation. In contrast, demographics and the broader population structure did influence the roles that individuals filled in kick-feeding dyads.  Additionally, females’ extensive use of bottom-feeding, compared to males, suggests that different energetic requirements influence the feeding methods used. Preferential use of the lower water column by mother-calf pairs and pregnant females should be considered in future studies about anthropogenic threats.

Images taken under NOAA permit #981-1707, 775-1875, 605-1607, 605-1904, and 18059

Thesis Defense by Gregory Bongey – May 11 Livestream


"Relationships between weathering and climate variability in a high-relief tropical region during the ice ages: IODP X363 offshore record of Papua New Guinea"
A Thesis Defense by Gregory Bongey

The Geological Oceanography Lab

MLML Live-Stream | May 11, 2021 at 3 pm

Thesis Abstract:

Changes in the Earth’s climate are closely associated with the changes in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. One process that may play a major role in modulating CO2 availability is the chemical weathering of silicate rocks into clays. Chemical weathering and the associated CO2 drawdown are especially efficient in the islands of the Indonesian Archipelago, including New Guinea, due to the combination of warm, wet conditions and tectonic uplift.  Despite New Guinea’s potential global significance as a major contributor to Earth’s carbon cycle, few studies have addressed its rapid geological evolution and the weathering conditions associated with it during the Pleistocene.

As direct products of weathered silicate rocks, clay minerals are a useful and widespread tool for reconstructing past weathering environments and source rocks. Clay mineral data from New Guinea are limited, with no clay records from the Sepik-Ramu Rivers, the island’s largest river system and one of the largest contributors of sediments to the world’s ocean. Deep-sea sediment cores collected by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Expedition 363 just offshore of the Sepik River mouth provide an unprecedented opportunity to evaluate the history of chemical weathering in a critical, rapidly-evolving region during the middle to late Pleistocene (the past ~550 kyr). This thesis identified and quantified the relative abundance over time of the clay mineral species in the core record in order to establish the regional weathering conditions, test a recent model of the Sepik’s development from an epicontinental sea to an enclosed river valley, and examine the relationship of tropical weathering rates with sea level change during glacial-interglacial cycles. Additionally, this thesis evaluated weathering microtextures on silt-sized feldspar particles to provide a secondary supporting dataset.

This project processed and analyzed the clay compositions of 124 samples from two IODP Expedition 363 sites: Sites U1484 and U1485, along with 16 samples from Site U1486, a site located further offshore from the Sepik River mouth. Isolated clay fractions from each sample were measured with x-ray diffractometry and quantified as clay percentages using simulation software (NewMod). For the corollary study, fine sand-sized feldspar particles were evaluated for weathering microtextures using a scanning electron microscope.

Overall, the clay assemblage is dominated by illite (~25-62%) and chlorite (~20-62%) with secondary amounts of smectite (~2-26%) and kaolinite (~3-32%), suggesting that mechanical rather than chemical weathering is the dominant mechanism responsible for clay generation in this region, possibly due to the active tectonic setting. The record also shows an increase in chlorite over time, attributed to ongoing tectonic uplift and the associated expansion of high-altitude glaciers and mechanical weathering. In addition, a sharp decrease in illite after the oldest samples is interpreted as the cessation of the diagenetic transformation of smectite to illite.

The clay mineral record also shows short-term compositional shifts—the most notable of which include two shifts in clay abundance from 400-430 ka and 125-140 ka characterized by an increase in smectite and kaolinite and a decrease in illite and chlorite. These shifts coincide with glacial terminations, suggesting that rapid sea level rise during deglaciations may have resulted in the reworking of older and more chemically weathered soils. The 400-430 ka shift also coincides with a unit of coccolith ooze indicative of a pelagic environment. This suggests that in the oldest part of the record, marine deposition and sea level transgression may have both contributed to the short-term enrichment of smectite, whereas later clay mineral shifts were driven mainly by sea level rise. The apparent increase in influence from marine transgressions may reflect increasing areas of lowland created by the filling of the Sepik Basin.  These results highlight the numerous processes controlling tropical weathering and document their changing relative significance throughout the evolution of the region.

Thesis Defense by Justin Cordova – May 12 Livestream


"Descriptions of Deep-Sea Catsharks (Pentanchidae: Apristurus Garman 1913) from the Southwestern Indian Ocean"
A Thesis Defense by Justin Cordova

The Pacific Shark Research Center

MLML Live-Stream | May 12, 2021 at 4 pm

Thesis Abstract:

Demon catsharks (Carcharhiniformes: Pentanchidae: Apristurus Garman) are one of the most diverse genera of sharks, with 39 described species. The genus is further divided formally into three subgroups based on morphological characters and molecular phylogenies, and referred to as the brunneus-, longicephalus-, and spongiceps subgroups. Six Apristurus species are considered valid in the Southwestern Indian Ocean (SWIO) where the spongiceps subgroup makes up a third of the species in the area. This study identifies and formally describes two additional Apristurus species in the spongiceps subgroup from the SWIO Ridge based on morphometric and meristic data, and includes re-examination of type specimens of Apristurus species from the North Atlantic and Southwestern Pacific oceans due to their close morphological relationship to one of the species found in the area. In this study, morphological characteristics and meristics, along with multivariate statistical tests, were used to determine that significant differences existed between the putative species, confirming species designations. Overall, two species were identified with the first record of A. ampliceps in the area and one new species, referred here to as A. cf. albisoma. An improved Apristurus identification key for the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) will assist fisheries managers in developing conservation policies for fisheries operating in this area.

Thesis Defense by Matthew Jew – May 5 Livestream


"Evaluating the trophic habits and dietary overlap of two deep-sea catsharks (Apristurus brunneus and Parmaturus xaniurus) in central California"
A Thesis Defense by Matthew Jew

The Ichthyology Lab

MLML Live-Stream | May 5, 2021 at 4 pm

Matthew Jew grew up in Southern California and attributes his passion for Marine Science to Mr. Tom Clarke, his science teacher during his senior year of high school.  He attended California State University, Monterey Bay, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Marine Science and Mathematics.  As an undergraduate, he worked with Dr. James Lindholm and Paul Clerkin as a research assistant.  He credits Dr. Lindholm for fostering his love for research and SCUBA which led him on his career path to MLML.

During his time in graduate school, he shared his passions for marine research and quantitative analysis by teaching in the Marine Science and Mathematics departments at CSU Monterey Bay.  His research at MLML was very diverse, he has kept busy working on numerous projects with a variety of researchers.  He published a paper with Dr. Dave Ebert that redefined the taxonomic description of Hydrolagus macrophthalmus.  He was a California Sea Grant trainee working with Dr. Iliana Ruiz-Cooley learning to trace Domoic Acid through the food web.  And finally, he was advised on his thesis by Dr. Scott Hamilton, Dr. Gitte McDonald, and Keith Bosley evaluating the trophic habits of two deep-sea catsharks.
Now that his time at MLML is nearing it's end, look for him underwater in the spectacular kelp forests for Monterey Bay!

Thesis Abstract:

In marine communities, there are often multiple species that occupy the same or similar niches. When resources are in short supply, competitive interactions can negatively affect the survival of one or both of the species involved. Understanding the trophic habits and interactions of species helps explain their role in a given ecosystem. Additionally, knowing the trophic habits of targeted or bycaught species captured in fisheries can help to influence management decisions on an ecosystem level. Apristurus brunneus and Parmaturus xaniurus (Family: Scyliorhinidae) are abundant deep-sea predators native to the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. Central California offers a unique opportunity to study these sympatric species in a location where they have large populations and the potential to compete for dietary resources. This study identifies: (1) the dietary composition each predator; (2) what biological and environmental factors are associated with variation in their trophic habits; (3) the trophic level of each species; and (4) the level of trophic overlap and potential for interspecific competition between the two species. To investigate the trophic habits of these two predators, this study used two complimentary techniques: stomach content analysis (SCA) and stable isotope analysis (SIA). Specimen from both species were collected during fishery-independent trawl surveys along the central California coast. Stomachs (for SCA) and dorsal white muscle tissue (for SIA) were removed from sharks after biological and catch data were recorded for each individual, including potential explanatory variables (e.g., depth, latitude, longitude, maturity, season, sex, trawl composition, and total length). Trophic habits and trophic position were calculated for each species independently and the level of trophic overlap between each species were calculated for SCA and SIA. Both shark species consumed the same three major prey groups (shrimp, squid, and fishes), however A. brunneus exhibited a similar preference for all three prey categories, while P. xaniurus placed a disproportional preference for shrimp. Apristurus brunneus diet composition varied with sampling season, latitude, sex, and total length. In contrast, the diet of P. xaniurus only varied with sampling season and total length. The results of the SIA indicated similar results. In A. brunneus, δ 15 N varied with latitude, sex, and total length while δ 13 C varied with latitude and total length. Parmaturus xaniurus’ SIA variation was as a function of total length, latitude, and season for δ 15 N and δ 13 C varied with latitude and season. SCA and SIA metrics indicated that the size of dietary niche was consistently smaller for P. xaniurus. Species with a smaller niche size are considered to implement specialist feeding strategy, whereas a much larger niche (like A. brunneus) would indicate generalist diet. Despite the differences in the size of the dietary niche, both SCA and SIA found significant trophic overlap between the two species, such that P. xaniurus samples are nearly completely contained within the isotopic space of A. brunneus. While there is significant dietary overlap, in order for there to be competition between species resources must be limiting. In central California, resources are likely not limiting and these two species have implemented feeding strategies that maximize their net energy gain even when a strong co-competitor is present. Ultimately, the knowledge gained on the dietary and competitive habits of these two species improves our understanding of their role in the deep-sea ecosystem of central California and this new knowledge will aid managers in the implementation of ecosystem-based fisheries management.

Thesis Defense by Bonnie Brown – March 31 Livestream


"Geographic and Ontogenetic Variation in the Trophic Ecology of Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) Along the U.S. West Coast"
A Thesis Defense by Bonnie Brown

The Fisheries and Conservation Biology Lab

MLML Live-Stream | March 31, 2021 at 12 pm

Thesis Abstract:

Dietary studies of fishes provide an understanding of predator-prey interactions and may be used to inform resource managers about food web dynamics. Along the West Coast of North America, Lingcod (Ophiodon elongatus) are top marine predators in rocky-reef habitats and an economically important fishery. In this study, gut content and stable isotope analyses were used to evaluate differences in the diets of Lingcod collected along the U.S. West Coast (Alaska to Southern California) in 2016 and 2017.  Overall, Lingcod consumed a wide variety of prey and exhibited both generalist and opportunist feeding strategies. Significant variability in Lingcod diets were driven by factors such as depth, region, sex, and total length. Small, shallow water, male Lingcod consumed more lower trophic level prey items (e.g. cephalopods) and had less diverse diets. Large, deep water, female Lingcod consumed more higher trophic level prey items (e.g. gadids) and had more diverse diets. Geographic variation in trophic level was associated with environmental conditions of primary productivity (i.e., chlorophyll a), and sea surface temperature. Southern Lingcod fed more on cephalopods while northern Lingcod fed more on various fish groups. This study fills in data gaps in the trophic ecology of a top marine predator and can be used to inform food web models and fisheries management.

Thesis Defense by Taylor Eddy – March 19 Livestream


"Multiscale habitat use and effects of resource availability on California Spiny Lobster (Panulirus interruptus) population success"
A Thesis Defense by Taylor Eddy

The Invertebrate Zoology Lab

MLML Live-Stream | March 19, 2021 at 4 pm

Thesis Abstract:

Habitat use can affect ecological and biological processes, such as resource use, survival, and reproduction. For many species, habitat use can vary with season as their energetic needs change, for example increasing foraging area in the energetically costly reproductive season. In this study, we sought to understand the seasonal and temporal scales of spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) habitat use in a southern California ecosystem by integrating habitat surveys using GIS (Global information system), lobster demographic surveys, and diet analysis using stable isotopes. We focused on the California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) because the species uses a variety of habitats at different seasonal and spatial scale and is economically and ecologically important. Results indicated that Bird Rock had a higher density of lobsters than Big Fisherman Cove and intertidal habitat recorded higher density of individuals than subtidal habitat at both sites during nocturnal high tides. At Bird Rock, the proportion of females to males, and the reproductive condition of the females is greater than that at Big Fisherman Cove. I detected a distinct seasonal change in the diet of spiny lobsters, such that a higher diversity of prey resources were consumed in the summer than in the winter during nighttime high tide movement from the subtidal to the intertidal, specifically lobsters at Bird Rock foraged on the mussel beds that are present at the site. Seasonal foraging in the intertidal habitat acts as a diet subsidy for the spiny lobsters during the reproductive season, a time of high energetic cost. The differences in the reproductive condition of the population are likely due to the presence of the mussel bed at Bird Rock, which is a valuable prey resource for many species of lobster. Understanding fine scale spatial and seasonal habitat needs of target species can help create better protected areas, not only for the spiny lobster, but other critically important species.

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

Thesis Defense by Daniel Gossard – December 18th Livestream


"Epiphyte-host dynamics between Pyropia and Nereocystis in central California"
A Thesis Defense by Daniel J. Gossard

The Phycology Lab

MLML Live-Stream | December 18, 2020 at 1 pm

Dan didn't really care for seaweeds until he started working at a seaweed farm in 2016 and everything changed. He realized that the complexity of these (primarily) sessile organisms requires lifetimes of study to even marginally understand, and that they're much more interesting than fish ever could be. His appreciation for the ecology of seaweeds grew as he realized that seaweeds can play an important foundational role for ecosystems. As seaweed biogeographic distributions have been known to rely on ocean temperatures, how will this foundational role change in reaction to a changing climate? What will be the trophic consequences? Can seaweeds potentially mitigate greenhouse (CO2 and methane) emissions? The answer is yes, but can the application be scaled in practical purposes on a global scale? Is seaweed farming a sustainable and scalable US industry that can alleviate the country's import deficit, feed livestock and fertilize fields, and be used as a biological filter to mediate industrial runoff alleviating the effects of eutrophication? (Yes). Despite all these pressing issues related to seaweeds, Dan chose to study an esoteric algal epiphyte for his Master's thesis. After graduating, Dan hopes to continue research in the fields of seaweed ecology and/or aquaculture.

Thesis Abstract:

Epiphytism is widespread in the marine environment across macroalgal taxa. However, despite being geographically ubiquitous, many unique epiphyte-host interactions remain poorly understood. Radiation within the bladed Bangiales (Rhodophyta), presumably brought on by a heteromorphic life history coupled with exceptional tolerance of stressors, led to many subtidal species of Pyropia occupying the epiphytic subtidal niche with their annual gametophyte stage. Pyropia nereocystis is a northeastern Pacific species that has evolved to primarily epiphytize the annual kelp Nereocystis luetkeana, which has a large latitudinal range from central California to the Aleutian Islands. There is a complete lack of tested hypotheses regarding the spatial and temporal dynamics of this epiphyte-host interaction and a lack of understanding of whether environmental heterogeneity drives recruitment and growth of Pyropia. I tested three aspects of Pyropia-Nereocystis epiphyte-host dynamics in the southern extent of the host’s range: (1) spatial and temporal variation in epiphtyte presence as a function host canopy densities at five sites for two cohorts; (2) empirical tests of the effects of depth on growth of gametophyte and sporophyte (conchocelis) life history stages through transplantation experiments; and (3) evaluation of the effects of depth and host characteristics on the recruitment and biomass of the ephiphyte over two seasons.

Pyropia epiphytism exhibited a shift in presence on Nereocystis that was attributed to an increase in the proportion of hosts that were epiphytized over the first two sampling periods. These dynamics differed interannually as a function of Nereocystis density. Additionally, testing the coefficient of variation of densities of epiphytized versus non-epiphytized Nereocystis over time (for sampling periods where Pyropia was present) indicated greater clumping of unepiphytized Nereocystis and more regularly arranged epiphytized Nereocystis. Pyropia gametophyte transplants showed no significant differences in growth when transplanted below their primary habitat (on the upper portions of Nereocystis stipes), but Pyropia conchocelis transplants showed a significant positive correlation between growth (change in area occupied) and depth. Intraregional environmental heterogeneity was reflected in significant intraregional differences among Nereocystis host characteristics that affected Pyropia recruitment. Additionally, significant associations between Nereocystis stipe characteristics and Pyropia's lower limit and abundance (biomass) were present for epiphytized Pyropia and their Nereocystis hosts. Nereocystis holdfast depth did not set the lower limit of Pyropia recruitment, but the PC (principal component) associated with longer host apophyses were correlated with a deeper Pyropia recruitment lower limit. Pyropia abundance in the upper meter was a strong predictor of Pyropia biomass on the whole Nereocystis stipe, but only during the peak period of Pyropia abundance. Furthermore, Pyropia abundance was positively correlated with the surface area of Nereocystis, hosts with longer stipes and more cylindrical apophyses, and thresholded by hosts characterized by greater SL:HD (stipe length:holdfast depth). These results suggest that the distribution of epiphytism of Nereocystis is more regular than it is clumped, gametophyte growth is not limited by depth, and that conchocelis can grow successfully depths at least up to 20 m. Additionally, in the presence of environmental heterogeneity, Pyropia may be regulated by Nereocystis stipe characteristics relating to host apophyses, stipe surface area, and ecological effects experienced by individual Nereocystis. The epiphyte-host interaction between the macroscopic stages of these heteromorphic algae highlights: (1) Nereocystis mediates Pyropia's persistence on a cohort sub-population scale, (2) Nereocystis likely influences Pyropia's abundance and lower limit by interactions on an individual host scale, and (3) Pyropia persists in the face of interannual hetereogeneity of host Nereocystis persistence.

Daniel Gossard Presents: Epiphyte-host dynamics between Pyropia and Nereocystis in central California

Thesis Defense by Jacoby Baker – December 4th Livestream


"Maternal environment drives larval rockfish gene expression (Sebastes spp.)"
A Thesis Defense by Jacoby Baker

The Ichthyology Lab

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

Jacoby has always had an affinity for the water. Even so, he tried to escape the calling of the water and started his undergrad career first in mathematics then moved into biochemistry. Eventually, he couldn't fight it anymore and received his B.S in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Marine Biology from San Jose State University. In his final year of undergrad he found himself interning at NOAA NMFS in Santa Cruz working on a large collaborative ocean acidification and hypoxia project that Dr. Scott Hamilton and Dr. Cheryl Logan were PIs on. Here, he cultivated his interest in researching the effects of climate change stressors on marine organisms, which led to his thesis project. Jacoby is now a Research Assistant at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and is applying his molecular background on a project using environmental DNA (eDNA) to help identify organisms residing within Monterey Bay.

Thesis Abstract:

Global climate change is driving shifts in ocean chemistry, which combined with intensification of coastal upwelling, reduces ocean pH and dissolved oxygen (DO) content in the nearshore habitats of the California Current System. Physiological plasticity, within and across generations, might be especially important for long-lived, late-to-mature species, like rockfishes (genus Sebastes), that may be unable to keep pace with climate change via genetic adaptation. Rockfishes exhibit matrotrophic viviparity and may be able to buffer their offspring from environmental stress through early developmental exposure or transgenerational plasticity (non-genetic inheritance of phenotypes). I pre-exposed mother gopher (S. carnatus) and blue (S. mystinus) rockfish to one of four treatments; 1) ambient conditions, 2) low pH, 3) low DO, or 4) combined low pH/DO stressor during fertilization and gestation, followed by a 5-day larval exposure after birth in either the same or different treatment. I used RNA sequencing to determine how the maternal environment affected larval rockfish gene expression (GE). I found that the maternal exposure drove larval GE patterns regardless of sampling time point or treatment. Furthermore, the maternal environment continued to strongly influence larval GE for at least the first five days after birth. These data suggest that rockfish may not be able to buffer their offspring from environmental stressors, highlighting the important role of the maternal environment during gestation.

Jacoby Baker Presents: Maternal environment drives larval rockfish gene expression (Sebastes spp.)

Thesis Defense by Lindsay Cooper – December 1st Livestream


"Compartmentalization & seasonal variability in storage compounds of Pterygophora californica"
A Thesis Defense by Lindsay Cooper

The Phycology Lab

MLML Live-Stream | December 1, 2020 at 12 pm

While other children told their parents they wanted to be ballerinas or firemen, from the get go, Lindsay claimed she would become a marine biologist. That was the only profession she ever wanted to pursue in life. Every year, her birthday request was to visit Sea World and the San Diego Wild Animal Park for the weekend. However, feeling discouraged by counselors who told her there were few career paths in marine science, she pursued a business degree as an undergrad. After enduring several unfulfilling years on this path, she threw all caution to the wind and started over in order to pursue her lifelong passion of marine science. Lindsay received her SCUBA certification and was able to spend a fall semester doing research with the Wrigley Institute of Environmental Science on Santa Catalina Island. This was her first real immersion into the field and opportunity to do independent research. During this program she developed a love for seaweeds and the drive to pursue a graduate degree.

Lindsay joined the MLML Phycology lab in 2013, where she took an active role in hosting the annual Open House and volunteering to help other students with their research. While at Moss Landing, Lindsay has acquired her scientific dive certification, gone on two research trips to Baja California Sur studying rhodolith beds as a living substrate, and conducted a subtidal study of Pterygophora californica population demographics and aging in Stillwater Cove, Carmel Bay. Her thesis research focuses on the effects of biomass loss on the seasonal variability in storage compounds of Pterygophora californica, an important local kelp species.

Thesis Description:

This study investigates the existence of nutrient compartmentalization within the thallus of Pterygophora, whether there were any seasonal effects, and how biomass loss impacted the compartmentalization of nutrients. The results of this subtidal experiment have been a long time coming; it's the second iteration. The first time Lindsay set up the experiment, she was six months into the experiment when two big winter storms hit in a row and ripped almost all of the tags off of her Pterygophora, and dislodged some of the plants. Lindsay had to redesign the tags, and move the experiment to a slightly more protected location in Stillwater Cove. The experiment began in July 2017 and ran for 15 months.

Lindsay Cooper Presents: Compartmentalization & seasonal variability in storage compounds of Pterygophora californica