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

  • High temperature and CO2 affects giant kelp

  • A day in the life...

Photo of the Month
Events: Carlsbad Beach Fest
Opportunities:  SSIS Summer High School Program
Shout outs!

Photo of the Month:

MEBSA's very own Alex Warneke (top right corner) spending the weekend on Catalina Island with the Mount Carmel High School Oceanography Club.





Help raise awareness about the importance of sustaining our coastal playground by attending the Carlsbad Beach Fest! Enjoy the fun-filled annual celebration of stewardship and recreation on one mile of beach with free activities, competitive sports, and a beach clean-up. Click here for more information.

WhatCarlsbad Beach Fest
When: June 15th, 10am
WherePine Avenue to Tamarack State Beach, click here for directions.



Spring Street International School is offering a great opportunity  for high school students interested in marine science. This summer students will enjoy a fun and rewarding 3 week program at Friday Harbor Labs in San Juan Islands. Funding may also be available for the students. Click here for more information.

What: SSIS Summer Program for High School Students
When: Session I: July 6—July 27 or Session II: July 27—Aug. 17
Where: Friday Harbor Labs in San Juan Islands

Shout Outs!

Congratulations to:

Dr. Matthew Edwards, Dr. Kevin Hovel, and Dr. Robert Zeller for achieving Full Professor at SDSU

Chelsea Rochman for graduating and receiving her PhD

Student Research Awards

Emily Jones received the Susan and Stephen Weber Endowed Scholarship

Alterra Sanchez received 2nd place under the undergraduate section of Biological and Agricultural Sciences at the CSU Student Research Competition

Recent Publications

Long JD, Porturas L, Jones E, Kwan C, Trussell GC. 2013. Seaweed traits linked to
wave exposure determine predator avoidance. Marine Ecology Progress Series

Williams, S.L., M.E.S Bracken, and E. Jones. 2013. Additive effects of physical
stress and herbivores on intertidal seaweed diversity.  Ecology 94:1089-1101
Photos in the Ecological Bulletin:
Williams, S., M. Bracken, E. Jones. 2013. Intertidal stress and herbivory reduce
seaweed biodiversity. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 94(2): 183-185

Featured Research:

High Temperature and CO2  Affects Giant Kelp
 By, Matthew Brown, M.S. Student

          During my time here I have worked under Dr. Matthew Edwards in the Kelp Forest Ecology lab, or as we like to call it the BEERPIG’s (Benthic Ecology Environmental Research, Phycology in General)  That’s a big, confusing acronym but what we do is actually pretty easy to understand.  We study the organisms which live on the ocean floor, particularly those within kelp forests, with a focus on a group of organisms called algae (aka the seaweeds).  These guys may look like plants, they may act like plants, but they’re actually a totally different type of life!  Because algae make up the structure of the kelp forests, just like trees in a regular forest, they provide habitat and food for a variety of species of fish, mammals and invertebrates.

Matt inspecting a giant kelp specimen during his experiment.

          My research has focused on what effect climate change will have on the largest and arguably most important alga in the forest, the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera.   We know that because of our actions, in the future the ocean will experience higher temperatures, higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and lower pH levels (i.e. more acidic).  My research focuses on two main questions: what effect will climate change have on giant kelp, and what effect will it have on the relationship between kelp and its major herbivore, the purple sea urchin.  For giant kelp, I examined how it behaves physiologically under higher temperature, higher CO2, and what happens when we put both of those factors together.  What I found was pretty surprising.  When I raised giant kelp under high CO2, it had no effect.  When I raised them under high temperature, all the kelp died.  But when I put those two factors together, the kelp grew faster and healthier than in any of the other treatments. Not only that, but I observed changes in photosynthesis as well.  Kelp, like plants, get their energy from the sun and use it to grow.  As such, changes in growth should be due to changes in photosynthesis, which is exactly what I found.  Kelp in the fast growing treatment could photosynthesize at nearly double the rate of any other treatment, while those under high temperature had the lowest rates by far. 

Matt standing proudly next to his experimental aquaria filled will giant kelp

A day in a life...     

          While my research is certainly interesting, I must admit that the average day in the life of a scientist can look pretty dull from the outside.  Usually my days involve monitoring the health of my specimens, making sure that the system is operating the way it should be, and dealing with whatever crisis happens to be happening that day.  Once it’s time to run the experiments things kick into high gear, and while I’ve never been a huge fan of statistics (who is?), it allows me to analyze data to see what exactly I learned from my study.  The best parts of my job are when I get to go diving in the kelp forest.  I was never a diver before I entered my program, and now I’m completely hooked! Becoming a biologist was one of the best decisions I have made!  I count myself lucky that I have the opportunity to make a living studying something I have such a passion for.

Click here for the full article!

Author: Matthew Brown, M.S. Student, contact at

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