Conservation Blog Posts

All Eyes on ARG: Bodega Marine Lab’s Best-Kept Secret

What does it take to study the ocean? It’s a lot harder than you might think, considering most marine research happens in a lab instead of the ocean itself. Imagine you are starting a project at Bodega Marine Laboratory (BML) and given only two weeks with limited funding to set up your study and collect all of the data you need to answer your research question. Data collection is an enormous task, but have you ever thought about the time it takes to replicate ocean environments on land? Researchers need access to a huge supply of seawater –often under very controlled conditions– and may also need access to marine life from intertidal or coastal waters that would have to be captured and brought back to the lab.

Mathematics and Kelp Collide in California’s Coastal Waters

California’s Kelp Forests

Dense canopies of kelp are a well-known and much-loved feature of California’s coastal waters. Kelp forests create subtidal havens for marine life like red and white abalone, urchins, sea stars, and rockfish. Once plentiful, kelp along the coast of California has faced multiple stressors, each exacerbating the devastating effects of the others. In 2013, many of the sea stars that once thrived in kelp forests fell victim to a mysterious wasting disease, leaving populations of urchins who were once consumed by voracious sea stars to feast on the abundant kelp without mitigating effects from predation.

Spotlight On: Dr. Marissa Baskett

Marissa Baskett is a UC Davis Associate Professor and co-Master in the Department of Environmental Science and Management as well as the advisor for the Marine Ecology area of emphasis in the Graduate Ecology Group. In her lab, she utilizes mathematical models to study the interface between theoretical population biology and conservation biology.