In this Newsletter...

We feature current research, events and outreach activities at SDSU's Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory.
Lee Reeve, MS Student

In this issue:

Featured Research

  • Predation threat causes stress in fish

  • A day in the life...

  • Giving back through science

Photo of the Month

Events: 13th Annual Surfrider Art Gala, San Diego Oceans Foundation Beach Walk Cleanup,

Headwaters to Ocean 2013 Conference and 2013 Nierenberg Prize

Shout outs!

Photo of the Month:

A beautiful scene of Point Loma, San Diego, CA captured by Joshua Brower, which is a popular area for CMIL students to conduct their research.




In an effort to raise funds and awareness about local issues affecting our oceans, waves and beaches, the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter will be hosting the 13th Annual Art Gala. live artists featuring Nathan Gibbs, Bryan Helfand, and Juan Tocayo Marante and an interactive art project and live music from Brett Dennen and Casey Turner! Purchase tickets here.

13th Annual Surfrider Art Gala 2013
When: May 10th, 6pm-10pm
WhereParadise Point Resort and Spa1404 Vacation Road.

Join San Diego Oceans Foundation for a beach cleanup on Saturday, May 11th from 10am -11am at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheatre. Then after all your hard work, enjoy the party from (11am to 2pm) hosted by Rubio's for some free food, drinks, art demos using trash from the cleanup, face paintings and live entertainment. Bring your family and friends to this fun day in the sun. RSVP here.

What: San Diego Oceans Foundation Beach Walk Cleanup
When:  May 11,10am-2pm
Where: Oceanside Pier Amphitheatre, 200 N the Strand

Each year's H2O Conference consists of roughly 100 presentations with the latest information relating to coasts, oceans, beaches, wetlands, rivers and watersheds. Register here.

What: Headwaters to Ocean 2013 Conference
When: May 28th to 30th, 8am-5pm
WhereCatamaran Resort Hotel and Spa on Mission Bay3999 Mission Blvd.



Join the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in honoring James Cameron with the 2013 Nierenberg Prize for science in the public interest. Admission is free, but RSVP.

What: Scripps Institute of Oceanography's 2013 Nierenberg Prize
When: May 31st, 5:30pm
WhereMandeville Auditorium, 9500 Gillman Drive.

Shout Outs!

Student Research Awards

Lee Reeve received the Fullbright Student Grant for Study/Research in Denmark

Ryan Driscoll received the Fullbright Student Grant for Study/Research in Germany

Featured Research:

Predation Threat Causes Stress in Fish
 By, Joshua Brower, M.S. Student

          Stress is a part of everyday life, even for animals.  Everyone has been stressed out and has firsthand experience with how stress can affect our mood, appetite, and how we deal with others.  Animals can have similar reactions when stressed and experience many stressors ranging from extreme temperature to antagonistic encounters with other animals.  When exposed to stressors animals may change their behavior by moving more cautiously or seeking shelter.  Animals will also experience a physiological stress response that can affect metabolism which, in conjunction with behavioral changes, can have a negative impact on the animal’s well being.  Many recent studies have tried to understand how human impacts affect animal stress, however, the effects of natural stressors in the wild are still poorly understood.  Certainly, one cause of stress in the wild is the threat of predation.  Like many organisms, fish are most vulnerable to predation during juvenile life stages.  The juvenile stage, for example, is also important developmentally; stress during this time may have important consequences to fish later in life.  My research focuses on the effects of stress due to predation threat on juveniles of the local species the giant kelpfish.

Josh conducting his research in San Diego Bay, CA
          My research is focused on the effects of stress due to predation threat on juvenile fish.  Specifically, I use kelp bass and juvenile giant kelpfish as a model predator-prey system to examine how kelpfish respond to the stress of predation threat both behaviorally and physiologically.  I am able to quantify the physiological stress response to various experimental treatments by measuring the amount of the hormone cortisol kelpfish produce.  I am pursuing these research interests through a series of laboratory and field experiments based at CMIL.  

A day in the life...

          My day as an ecologist can vary greatly depending on the task at hand.  Some tasks require me to work with aquaria at the marine lab, or SCUBA dive to collect fish, while others bring me to our laboratory on campus to conduct chemical analyses of the fish from my experiments.  When I am running experiments my day starts early (generally an hour before sunrise) because the kelp bass that I use in my experiments are most active at dawn and dusk. Maintaining holding tanks to keep fish alive and healthy for my experiments is also an important part of my daily routine.  Fish must be fed every day and tanks cleaned once to twice a week.   I enjoy how each day of research brings new challenges to think through and overcome.

Josh and Renee enjoying the sun before a research dive

Giving back through science

          Underprivileged children have few opportunities to experience the outdoors and frequently view science as inaccessible.  I have seen the positive effects of bringing youth into the outdoors, firsthand, through volunteering with Outdoor Outreach (OO).  OO is a San Diego based organization with the mission “to empower at-risk and underprivileged youth to make positive, lasting changes in their lives through comprehensive outdoor programming.”  I have found it very fun and rewarding to teach OO participants about local environments through activities like hiking, snowboarding, kayaking, and even learning to swim.  There are many great outreach organizations in San Diego, get out there and volunteer!  You never know what you might gain in the process.


Josh guiding kayakers on a exciting day with Outdoor Outreach. Photo credit:

To read the full article about Josh and his research click here.

Author: Joshua Brower, M.S. Student, contact at

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