EBL Takes a Field Trip to the Monterey Wharf Sampling Site

EBL recently had the chance to participate in a site visit with members from NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Federal Advisory Committee! This program funds our weekly monitoring station (https://calhabmap.org/monterey-wharf ) so we can continue to provide key data on harmful algal bloom species and associated water parameters to stakeholders. Hannah and Holly were on hand to demonstrate net tow sampling and standardized reporting of water quality data. “June Gloom” was nowhere to be found, as sunny skies greeted the group!

Photo credit: Alex Harper, CenCOOS.

The Pond Doctors Compete in the Algae Prize Competition 2022-2023

In April, the members of the Environmental Biotechnology Lab (Dr. Holly Bowers, Olivia Pawlyk, and Hannah McGrath) and Biological Oceanography Lab (Dr. Sarah Smith, Katie Duncan, and Katie Roy) traveled to Golden, Colorado to compete as the Pond Doctors in the first 2022-2023 Algae Prize Competition hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and sponsored by The Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office and the Algae Foundation. The Algae Prize competition was geared towards developing novel solutions to support large scale algae commercialization. The Pond Doctors presented their work in developing and testing a tool that measures nitrogen stress of microalgae in near real-time, specifically diatoms which are a group of ecologically and industrially relevant microalgae. It was an honor and privilege for our graduate students to be a part of this competition and meet so many passionate and talented individuals.


Giving Diatoms a New Home in the EBL

In the month of March, our graduate student Hannah has been busy culturing and creating a museum of diatoms from Monterey Bay. All of the newest diatom EBL members are photographed below. These diatom species include detonula, Lauderia, Licmophora, Coscinodiscus, Thalassiosira, Ditylum, P. nitzschia, and Asterionellopsis. We look forward to keep growing up diatoms in the lab especially since spring tends to be diatom season!


Happy New Year! 2023 Updates from EBL

Although the New Year has just begun, the lab has been busier than ever. Hannah is working on testing the efficiency and sensitivity of qPCR assays for harmful algae bloom species such as Akashiwo and Cochlodinium. In addition, Hannah is continuing to routinely monitor the Monterey Wharf every Wednesday to document phytoplankton community composition. Meanwhile, Olivia is starting to ramp up her thesis work where she plans to investigate the effect agricultural plastics have on phytoplankton community composition. This involves lots of planning, collecting species of interest, culturing, and constructing. Lastly, Holly has been closely working alongside her graduate students with current grants/projects. In addition, she recently wrote a couple new grant proposals! (more information to come shortly).

Even though the start of our new year has been busy, the members of EBL have also had a lot of fun. In January, we had a January birthday bash (since all of the EBL members have January birthdays!) which involved lots of baked goods/sweets, live music, dancing, mingling, and feeding goat and sheep. One of our favorite things to do as a lab is going out to lunch together (our favorite being Thai food).