"Five years ago, the Gulf of Alaska warmed to record temperatures, likely due to a sudden acceleration in the melting of Arctic sea ice. Usually a cold southern current flows along California. That year, the warm “blob” spread down the coast and, instead of blocking tropical species from moving north, it served as a balmy welcome to a variety of animals far from home."
Rachel Bay received a Sloan Foundation fellowship to fund research on the molecular mechanisms of thermal tolerance in corals, an increasingly critical physiological process as ocean temperatures shift and warming events occur.
“We’re in a region with a Mediterranean climate and upwelling— what’s cool is that both of these are associated with high levels of biodiversity,” says Grace Ha, an ecology Ph.D. student. In upwelling zones, nutrient-rich waters from the deep ocean are transported to coastal regions, which makes them hotspots for biodiversity.
Even after being severely damaged by blast fishing and coral mining, coral reefs can be rehabilitated over large scales using a relatively inexpensive technique, according to a study led by the University of California, Davis, in partnership with Mars Symbioscience.
In the early summer months, undergraduate Emily Meyers would rise before the sun, sometimes around 3 or 4 a.m. Keeping time by the ocean tides, she’d cart her research materials to eelgrass beds near the Bodega Marine Laboratory.
Outside Eric Sanford’s office window, foamy waters crash against rocky shores and open up to the expansive blue of the Pacific Ocean. Here, at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, Sanford and colleagues in his lab work to understand how ocean acidification is changing the ecology and evolution of the planet’s marine life.
Covering themselves in everything from algae to urchins, crabs know how to accessorize for safety. Sponge crabs use their back pair of legs “to hold an intact sponge over their body,” says Jay Stachowicz.