Both graduate and undergraduate students alike gave fantastic presentations on their work at the Western Society of Naturalists conference in Ensenada, Mexico. Congratulations team!
See photo captions for more details on individual presentations on our labs ongoing coral reef and pismo clam research:
Travel support for undergraduates was provided by Bill and Melinda Frost. Travel support for graduates was provided by Cal Poly Graduate Education. We thank you for your support!
Alex presented a talk with an update of her Master research on Pismo clam presence, habitat associations, and reproductive patterns in California. This conference is an annual meeting for the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association and West Coast Section of the National Shellfisheries Association! This year the conference was held in Portland, OR.
She thanks the National Shellfisheries Association which provided travel funding for her to present at this conference and revel in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest!
Our lab is excited to welcome Erin Johnston as a Master student in September of 2019. Before joining the lab at Cal Poly, Erin worked on yellowtail (Seriola dorsalis, formerly Seriola lalandi) distribution, life history, and age in the Southern California Bight in San Diego, where she received her BS in Marine Biology from UCSD. She then worked on recreational fisheries catch data in Orange and LA County for the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife. She will be investigating the effects of climate variability on nearshore groundfish species of the Central California coast in collaboration with the Wendt lab.
Welcome Erin! :)
Where in the world is the parrotfish project team? This summer, master's student Hannah Rempel and undergraduate research assistants Emma Barton and Peter Vanderbloomer are studying the impacts of parrotfish grazing on coral communities on Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. This work is part of a broader study comparing patterns and impacts of parrotfish grazing across multiple parts of the Caribbean.
The focus of Hannah's thesis and the team's work this summer is to:
(1) track the healing of an endangered, frequently targeted coral species from parrotfish grazing scars, and (2) compare how the intensity of parrotfish predation on corals varies on islands with high coral cover (e.g. Bonaire) compared to ones with comparatively low coral cover (e.g. St. Croix).
What have they been up to?
So far, they have mapped and monitored >100 coral colonies with >250 parrotfish grazing scars! They photograph these individual scars every few days, and using imaging software they can calculate changes in scar size over time– allowing us to determine how much scar tissue heals and what factors about the scars, corals and sites influence recovery rates.
In addition, the team is also documenting using image analysis of quadrats of the reef bottom to determine the percent cover of different coral species, types of algae and other food types commonly targeted by parrotfishes, 'stalking' parrotfish to record their grazing behavior, surveying the biomass of fish, and determining the abundance of parrotfish grazing scars across different coral species.
When they are not underwater, the team has been working to involve the local community in their work and share their research. Hannah is working with the largest dive shop on the island, Dive Friends Bonaire to start a citizen science program tracking the populations of the largest three Caribbean parrotfish species since their populations are decreasing throughout the Caribbean. In addition, she is giving talks on her research both in English and Dutch Caribbean creole (which she learned when she worked as a biologist for the Bonaire National Parks Foundation prior to joining our lab).
It is time for the team to get back underwater and get more data! We look forward to sharing the results of our work with you all in the future.
Thanks for your interest in our field work! Masha danki, muchisima gracias, dank u wel!
Both a graduate student and undergraduate from the parrotfish project team have been awarded funding to support their upcoming research this summer:
Master's student Hannah Rempel has been awarded research grants by the Harvard Travelers Club Permanent Fund, American Museum of Natural History Lerner-Gray Fund for Marine Research and the Dr. Earl H. and Ethel M. Myers Oceanographic and Marine Biology Trust. This summer, Hannah will be leading field research on the impacts of parrotfish predation on coral communities on Bonaire, Dutch Caribbean. This work was also made possible by a in-kind donation by Dive Friends Bonaire, who are providing scuba tanks for this research and from private community donors both in the US and Bonaire.
Undergraduate Student Emma Barton has been awarded a Bill and Melinda Frost undergraduate research award to support her work as a field research assistant this summer. Emma has been a member of the lab for 4 years and is an avid scuba diver– this will be her first opportunity to conduct coral reef field research. In addition, Emma was awarded a Sea of Tomorrow Scholarship & Sid Aconsky “Measure Twice, Cut Once” Scholarship to support her purchase of scuba gear for this research.
Congratulations Hannah and Emma! We thank all who have provided both funding and logistical support for this upcoming field work!
Hannah was awarded Best Poster Presentation at the Association of Marine Laboratories of the Caribbean! Congratulations Hannah! Check out the poster here.
She is grateful for the AMLC Student Travel Award and a Cal Poly Graduate Presentation Award that allowed her to attend this conference!
Hannah gave a great lightning talk on 'Integrating R & Google Drive for Collaborative Research' to make research more user-friendly for less tech savvy collaborators at the SatRday LA 2019 conference!
Alex went to the joint National Shellfisheries Association and World Aquaculture Society Meet last week, and came home with the Best Oral Presentation Award. Congrats, Alex!
Alex Marquardt just returned from the Triennial meeting of the World Aquaculture and National Shellfisheries Societies in New Orleans, LA! She presented her first year of data collection on Pismo clam population trends in Central and Southern California! The presentation was well received! Lots of great comments, questions, and ideas for future research!
Thank you CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science, and Technology (COAST) and the National Shellfisheries Association for travel funds which made this trip/presentation possible!
We are excited to announce that Madelyn Roycroft received the 2019 California Sea Grant State Fellowship! The purpose of the California Sea Grant's State Fellows Program is to provide a unique educational opportunity for graduate students who are interested both in marine resources and in the policy decisions affecting those resources. This year, 24 fellows were selected and matched with 17 different host agencies throughout the state. Through a rigorous selection process in Sacramento, Madelyn was matched with the Port of San Diego-Aquaculture and Blue Economy Program.
As the aquaculture and Blue Economy fellow, Madelyn will assist with a variety of current and upcoming pilot projects to support the growth of shellfish and seaweed aquaculture in San Diego Bay through the Port's Blue Economy Incubator program, In addition, she will participate in the San Diego Ocean Planning Partnership to collaborate on an ocean planning pilot in the ocean space offshore San Diego County, and will assist with mitigation banking projects and drafting grant proposals and planning documents (e.g. CEQA, Coastal, Army Corps of Engineers, Regional Water Quality Control Board). Madelyn is looking forward to having the chance to contribute to a variety of projects that share a common theme to promote sustainable ocean activities for the Port of San Diego and San Diego citizens.