In this Newsletter...

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

In This Issue:

  • Summer at CMIL: By the Numbers  
  • Photo of the Month 
  • Shout Outs
  • Publications
  • Why Is Being a Biologist Awesome?
  • Sally the Scientist
Photo of the Month:

Graduate student Robert Dunn participated in an outreach activity with the Ocean Discovery Institute. Robert was the STEM Speaker for elementary school students, he spoke about his experiences in marine biology and took the students tide pooling in La Jolla.

Shout Outs!


Anthony Aspili received an $8,000 CSUPERB undergraduate research grant for summer 2015

Genoa Sullaway received the Hardman Foundation Scholarship and the Harry E. Hamber Scholarship. 

Katie Sievers and Sarah Wheeler participated in the MARINE Ocean Policy Course hosted by the Center for Ocean Solutions, a collaboration between the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Stanford University.

Mallaerie Yaeger received the Harold June Grant Memorial Scholarship and the Harry E. Hamber Scholarship. 

MEBSA received the Seminar Speaker Series Funding from COAST. With this grant, Dr. Kerry Nickols will come speak at SDSU on October 19th. This is a public event, please check our website for Seminar updates! 

Megan Morris received a COAST student travel grant for the 2015 Ecological Society of America conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Megan also received a Harold and June Grant Memorial Scholarship.

Michael Doane received a COAST student travel grant for the 2015 American Elasmobranch Society in Reno, Nevada. 

Miranda Brett received the Harold and June Memorial Scholarship and the Harry E. Hamber Scholarship.

Taylor Cram and Felicia Miller each received a $5,000 SDSU undergraduate research grant for summer 2015.

(SDSU Authors in bold)

Busch, J., J.R. Nascimento, A.C.R. Magalhães, B.E. Dutilh, and E.A. Dinsdale. 2015. Copper tolerance and distribution of epibiotic bacteria associated with giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera in southern California. Ecotoxicology, 24:1131-1140.

Castorani, M.C.N. and K.A. Hovel. 2015. Invasive prey indirectly increase predation on their native competitors. Ecology 96(7):1911-1922.

Castorani, M.C.N., R.N. Glud, H
. Hasler-Sheetal, and M. Holmer. 2015. Light indirectly mediates bivalve habitat modification and impacts on seagrass. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 472:41–53.

Kim, J.H., E.J. Kang, K. Kim, H.J. Jeong, K. Lee, M.S. Edwards, M.G. Park, B.G. Lee, and K.Y. Kim 2015. Evaluation of carbon flux in vegetative bay based on ecosystem production and CO2 exchange driven by coastal autotrophs. Algae. 

Kwan, C.K., E. Sanford, and J. Long. 2015. Copper pollution increases the relative importance of predation risk in an aquatic food web. PLoS One. 10:e0133329.

Millow, C.J., S.A Mackintosh, R.L. Lewison, N.G. Dodder, and E. Hoh. 2015. Identifying bioaccumulative halogenated organic compounds using a non-targeted analytical approach: Seabirds as sentinels. PLoS One. 

Warneke, A.M and J. Long. 2015. Copper contamination impairs herbivore initiation of seaweed inducible defenses and decreases their effectiveness. PLoS One. 10:e0135395

Why Is Being a Biologist Awesome?
"Being a marine biologist is awesome because you get to explore relatively unknown places and ask questions no one has asked before" -Julia Ledbetter, Masters Student in the Hovel Lab

Sally the Scientist

Sally the Scientist helped MEBSA members Genoa Sullaway and Sarah Wheeler with an outreach event at The Living Coast Discovery Center. At this event visiting students engaged in an activity that mimics food web interactions between sea otters, sea urchins, and kelp!  

Click here to print your own Sally. Send in a picture of you and Sally exploring!  Every month we showcase our favorite Sally picture in our newsletter. 
Support MEBSA
Our entire budget comes from donations and grants. If you would like to make a contribution to marine science outreach in San Diego, CA, please click here to donate. We greatly appreciate it! 

Summer Wrap Up: By the Numbers

During the summer months the SDSU Coastal Marine Institute Laboratory (CMIL) bustles with activity all day long. With no classes, long days, and great weather, students and faculty conduct research in the field and the lab. As the summer wraps up, CMIL members reflect on the work they accomplished during summer 2015. 

544 Hours Underwater
          MEBSA member exhibit at High Tech Fair
[Photo by Melissa Ward]
CMIL SCUBA divers spent 544 hours underwater this summer! 
100 Sandcastle Worms

Kate McDaniel spent her summer at the lab bench learning how to extract and quantify RNA from sandcastle worms. These worms live in shallow tidepools and go through a metamorphosis common for many marine organisms. As they grow they change from tiny larvae into adults. Kate uses RNA to determine if the worms are ready for metamorphosis. This summer Kate extracted RNA from 100 sandcastle worms! Kate's research will allow other scientists to predict conditions ideal for metamorphosis, this may be especially beneficial for aquaculture species.
11 Sharks Caught


Mike Doane's research focuses on the factors regulating microbes living on shark skin. This summer, Mike collaborated with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory to catch Leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata) that aggregate in La Jolla Cove, San Diego and in Elkhorn Slough, Monterey Bay. Mike caught four Leopard sharks in La Jolla,and five Leopard sharks in Elkhorn Slough. As by-catch Mike also caught two Soupfin sharks (Galeorhinus galeus). After catching a shark, Mike flushes sterile sea water across its skin and recollects the water, the water is then filtered, and the microbial communities are identified by next-generation sequencing. In a few weeks Mike will be traveling back north in hopes to sample Leopard sharks in Bodega Bay, CA. This will complete Mike's sampling efforts, which are aimed at determining if shark microbes differ between location.
20 Cages
           Nick Hayman, M.S. student at SDSU, presents his research on estuarine ecosystems to the scientific community.

Miranda Brett is testing the role of chemical cues and predator-prey relationships in kelp forests. She is looking at how a fish predator affects the behavior of limpets, a type of marine snail, that lives on some species of subtidal kelp. It appears that in the absence of fish, the limpet eats more kelp, and this indirectly weakens the kelp. Miranda tested this in the CMIL laboratory but wants to see if her results hold up when the experiment is performed in the kelp forest. To do this Miranda built 20 cages that hold the fish, limpets, and kelp. These cages are deployed for a week in the Point Loma and La Jolla kelp forests and then they are collected so she can measure the amount of kelp the snails have eaten when the fish are present versus when the fish are not present.
150 Pieces of Giant Kelp 

Global climate change is expected to warm the oceans. One important organism that may be negatively affected by warming temperatures is the giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera. In order to forecast how the giant kelp may be affected by a changing ocean, Priya Shukla collected kelp samples to see how the giant kelp may respond to warmer ocean temperatures. With help from undergraduate volunteers, Priya ground up 150 samples of kelp for an analysis that measures how kelps photosynthesize and uptake nutrients. Both of these processes are necessary for kelp survival. Learn more about Priya’s research here!
240 Otoliths


Otoliths are the ear bones in fish and as a fish grows older, layers of new bone material are added to the otolith. Scientists can measure the distance between these rings to track fish growth over time. Mallarie Yeager is using the otoliths of juvenile kelpfish to see how their growth changes in response to seagrass density. At high seagrass density, young kelpfish have more places to hide from predators. Mallarie also thinks that kelpfish will have more prey available to them in denser seagrass, which may help young kelpfish grow faster while escaping predators. To test this idea, Mallarie built cages that hold kelpfish for a month in high or low density seagrass plots. At the end of her experiment she extracts the otoliths from the fish and looks at them under an epifluorescence microscope to count the distance between the rings. For her experiment Mallarie is analyzing 240 otoliths!

260 Mesh Enclosures

Shelby Rhinehart is researching how populations of omnivores, organisms that eat plants and animals, may have cascading effects on the rest of the food web. To do this, Shelby is studying salt marsh ladybeetles that eat an abundant plant called cordgrass and the small insects that live on the cordgrass. For one of her experiments Shelby made 260 mesh enclosures to surround the cordgrass, ladybeetles, and scale insects. These enclosures allow Shelby to measure the effect of ladybeetles on the cordgrass health and scale insect abundance.  
Copyright © 2015 Coastal and Marine Institute Laboratory, All rights reserved.

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Genoa Sullaway, Editor

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