Happy World Oceans Day!

By Kali Prescott, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

A day near and dear to everyone here at MLML. Here is a brief history on World Ocean Day and a link to the website!

World Ocean Day was first proposed by Canada in 1992 at the Earth Summit; however, it wasn't until 2002 that a multi-national effort began to organize World Ocean Day as a global day of action. In it's first year (2003), World Ocean Day saw 25 events organized in 15 countries. 16 years later in 2019 over 140 countries organized over 2000 events in support of ocean conservation and awareness. Although the covid-19 pandemic nixed in person events, over 454 million people engaged with World Ocean Day during June of 2020. See https://worldoceanday.org/ for more info.

For us here a MLML, World Ocean Day means more visibility and more opportunities to share our research with our communities. We'd love to see what our MLML community is up to so share your research on social media!

P.S. Don't forget to tell your friends that the MLML Open House Crowdfunding Campaign is LIVE! Make sure they know to get their hands on this years Open House T-shirt design below!


Open House 2019 is this weekend!

By June ShresthaMLML Ichthyology Lab

Come out and join us for an interactive peek at MLML research during this two-day event! Taking place all weekend, this special occasion is a family favorite with educational attractions and activities geared for all ages, yummy food, and best of all - it's FREE!

MLML_OH 2019

For more info and a schedule of events, check out our Open House website or continue reading below!

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Opening Up Open House: a Behind the Scenes Look

By Amanda Heidt

If you’ve been following the blog more recently, you’re most likely aware that our Open House is coming up this weekend, April 30-May 1, 8AM-5PM. This event is a huge draw for the community every time we hold it, and this year promises to be one of the largest ever as we are also celebrating the 50th anniversary of Moss Landing Marine Labs! I greatly urge you to check out the official 50th Anniversary blog, found here, for a bunch of great reads about how this small “lab that could” came to be the vibrant center of marine research that it is today.


The importance of this event cannot be understated. Open House functions as an excellent source of funding and outreach. It provides the students with a chance to project their research to a wider audience, while also providing the public with an interactive and fun way to see just what it is we do here at Moss. Most importantly, the money we raise at this event feeds directly back to the students in the form of student body events and scholarships such as the MLML Scholarship Award and the WAVE Award. The recipients of this year’s awards (funded by last year’s Open House) were awarded just a few weeks ago, and many recipients will be giving talks about the work this money is funding (see our schedule of events here). I think this is an excellent way to donate to the community in a way that is both tangible and meaningful.

Open House is also run entirely by the students. From the puppet show to the bake sale to the lab activities to the sea lion show, everything you see has been planned over many months. Even the logo on our shirts is designed and voted on by the student body. I realize that for most people, all they see is the shiny, finished product. But there is so much heart and sweat and pizza-fueled meetings that go into this event, that I thought it would be a fun thing to show you readers a bit of what goes on “behind the scenes,” while also giving you a little sneak-peak on the events you can expect to see this weekend!

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Thank you from the MLML students

By Kristin Walovich

Dear MLML Open House Visitors,

As a recipient of the 2016 Wave Award, I would like to sincerely thank the visitors of the 2015 Open House Event.

The Wave Award, funded by the generous contributions of Open House attendees, was established by the MLML Student Body to recognize graduate students who have generously given their time and shown continued dedication to MLML community service. At last year’s event, more than 2,000 attendees contributed $5,000 to student scholarships. The seven Wave Awards given this year will directly support our thesis research.

Students at MLML often juggle full time school, multiple jobs, a family, and maybe even some free time to complete our degrees. The financial support provided by this award is a welcome and wholeheartedly appreciated gift from the community, and I greatly appreciate your support.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the 2015 Open House Event. We hope to see you this year again April 30th and May 1st! Please visit the 2016 Open House Event Website for more information about this year’s very special 50th anniversary event.

Sincerely, Kristin Walovich

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Spring has sprung, the grass has riz


By Jackie Lindsey, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

We are just breaths away from the first day of spring, and the wildlife of Moss Landing, CA is in a flurry. High above the the heads of kayakers and sea otters in Elkhorn Slough, birds have started constructing their condos in the tall eucalyptus trees that line the shore of this estuary. Egrets, cormorants, and herons are gathering supplies and strength to begin chick rearing.  In just a few weeks these silent efforts will be rewarded with the arrival of fluffy chicks, clamoring for their next meal. These particular condos have reached surprisingly high densities in past years, nearing 200 nests!

Great Egret (Ardea alba) nest with three chicks at the in the Mo
Great Egret (Ardea alba) nest with three chicks at the in the Morro Bay Heron Rookery. 21 May 2009. Photo by Michael "Mike" L. Baird

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The Success of Open House 2014

By Melissa Nehmens, Pacific Shark Research Center

This past weekend, Moss Landing Marine Labs opened our doors and welcomed everyone to our annual Open House event. For those of you new to Moss Landing traditions (as I am as a first year student), it is an event we hold every year in the Spring that is organized by the student body and hosted by the students, faculty, and staff.

We take Open House as an opportunity to share our research in a fun, yet educational way. Just to name a few exciting activities:  the Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology lab had an invertebrate touch tank where you could see, touch, and learn about all of our interesting local invertebrates.


Graduate students Melinda Wheelock and Emily Schmeltzer, educate visitors about the wonderful world of invertebrates! Photo Credit: Heather Kramp
Graduate students Melinda Wheelock and Emily Schmeltzer, educate visitors about the wonderful world of invertebrates! Photo Credit: Diane Wyse

The Phycology  (algae) lab allowed you to walk through a painted kelp forest and learn about the foods you eat that contain algae, such as ice cream and pudding.


The phycology lab and their painted kelp forest attracts visitors. Or was it the ice cream? Photo Credit: Heather Kramp
The phycology lab and their painted kelp forest attracts visitors. Or was it the ice cream? Photo Credit: Heather Kramp


Our diving program even offered the opportunity to get suited up like you were going on a dive and to see how some of the S.C.U.B.A gear works!


Graduate student Scott Gabara teaches visitors about dive gear. Photo Credit: Heather Kramp
Graduate student Scott Gabara teaches visitors about dive gear. Photo Credit: Heather Kramp


And there was even a chance to tour our retiring, R/V Point Sur.


R/V Point Sur ready to take aboard visitors for tours on a sunny Moss Landing day.
R/V Point Sur ready to take aboard visitors for tours on a sunny Moss Landing day. Photo Credit: Diane Wyse


Though Moss Landing Marine Labs hosts the event, it would not be what it is without all of the support we receive from those that contribute to and attend the event. We raised over $10,000 in scholarship money, made possible by the generous contributions from our donors and the ~2,500 people that attended Open House!

To everyone who worked so hard on planning and running Open House, and everyone in our Moss Landing community and beyond, thank you!

MLML Open House!

By Jackie Lindsey, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

openhouse_fbcover (1)

We know what you have been waiting all year to hear: our Open House is just over a week away!

Every year our facility opens it's doors and invites the public to come explore with us. This year we are open from 9 to 5 on May 3rd and 4th.  This event is completely free and great for all ages. We welcome you to check out our invertebrate touch tanks, watch our marine themed puppet show, check out our raffle, see the sea lion show, and participate in our other fun activities.

Open House!
Entry Way to MLML. Dive into Open House! 
Photo by: Scott Gabara

If you have been able to attend in previous years, you know that we will even cook for you!  Here is a teaser recipe from last year's table of baked goods:

Chocolate peanut clusters (gluten free & vegan)

By Jen Raanan

Shopping List:

1 bag chocolate chips (I use dark/semisweet)

1 cup peanut butter

1 large canister dry roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted, depending on your taste. I use salted because my peanut butter is low-sodium.)

1) in a double-boiler, melt chocolate & peanut butter. Don't get water in the mixture. It ruins the chocolate!

2) Remove mixture from heat and stir in peanuts until they're completely coated.

3) Spoon mixture into bite-sized or cookie-sized drops onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper

4) Chill in fridge until chocolate sets

5) Clusters can be stored in fridge or freezer


Tis the season for MLML Open House

By Michelle Marraffini, Invertebrate Zoology Lab

The vertebrate ecology lab’s recreation of the inside of a whale. (photo by The Moss Lander).
The Vertebrate Ecology Lab’s recreation of the inside of a whale. (photo by The Moss Lander).

The spring semester is buzzing with activity from classes, field trips, and preparing for Open House.

Have you ever walked inside the belly of a whale?  Want to know how long turtles live or what seastars eat?  This year's Open House will answer these and so many more of your ocean questions.  Be there Saturday April 20th and Sunday April 21st from 9am to 5pm.  As a FREE EVENT we offer a marine adventure puppet show, education presentations by students and faculty, live touch tanks, a sea lion show, raffle and prizes, and so much more.  There is so much to see you will need to come back both days!

Open House!
Entry Way to MLML. Dive into Open House! April 20th and 21st
Photo by Scott Gabara

Moss Landing’s 2012 Open House a Huge Success

by Angela Szesciorka, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

On April 21 and 22, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories held its 44th annual Open House. We had 2,385 visitors and raised $9,869.58. To put that into context, the first Open House in the summer of 1968 had 40 visitors! The lab has certainly grown since then and so has the surrounding community’s interest and support for marine science.

A future marine scientist having her photo taken as a scientific scuba diver. (photo by Will Fennie)

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Welcome to Moss Landing Marine Labs!

Michelle Marraffini

Invertebrate Zoology and Molecular Ecology

Have you ever wondered about the secret life of deep sea fishes?  Or what the inside of a whale looks like?  Have you touched one of the largest sea slugs in the world?  Well, visitors to this year’s Open House at MLML got a chance to do all of this and more!   Over the course of this two day event students, faculty, and staff opened their labs and their minds to over 2300 visitors of all ages from around the Monterey Bay area.  If you missed it come on a tour with me and walk through the labs.  At the first stop we see a large mahi mahi fish and skeletons of local and far away fish.

Fish skeleton to be viewed but not touched in the Ichthyology Lab
Mahi Mahi
Mahi Mahi on display at Open House

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