Science Heroes: Dr. Ernest Everett Just

Welcome to Science Heroes, the column highlighting incredible scientists and naturalists that if you don’t know, you should! This month highlights embryologist and marine biologist Dr. Ernest Everett Just!

Field Frame Friday: Rockin’ Around the Ocean Floor

While some of us are rockin’ around adorning our bristly Christmas tree tops with twinkling stars, brittle stars (Class: Ophiuroidea) adorn sea floors around the world. This little star, found on the shores of western France, has relatives in the tropical reefs of Hawaii, the sediments of the Arctic, and even floors of the deep…

Field Frame Friday: Share the shore!

Pinnipeds (i.e. seals, sea lions, and walruses) are considered amphibious marine mammals, meaning they spend significant parts of their life on land. For example, this elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris), hauled out on a popular beach in Point Reyes National Seashore during mating season (which has begun on the coast of California). These animals spend a…

Field Frame Friday: “Retro” Research Methods

In the age of technology, animal behavior scientists are able to use high-definition videos, behavioral coding software, and strings of code to help with their research. Sometimes however, there is nothing quite like hanging out with your research journal and your very own eyeballs observing and recording what animals are doing. This can often be…

Field Frame Friday [Halloween edition]: Attack of the Clones!

Light bulb tunicates (Clavelina huntsmani), named for their bands of pink internal organs that resemble light bulb filaments, are a social species of tunicate (or more adorably known as “sea squirts”) that reproduce asexually so what you see here are red algae surrounding a little cluster or sea squirt clones! Spoooooky! [Photo and caption by…

Science Heroes: Dr. Roger Arliner Young

Welcome to Science Heroes, the column highlighting the incredible and diverse scientists and naturalists that if you don’t already know about them…you should! Our inaugural post features Dr. Roger Arliner Young, the first Black woman to graduate with a PhD in 1940!

Creature Feature: The kelp forestβ€”an underwater housing crisis

Let’s take a dip into the dark, chilly waters of northern California, where upwelling supplies nutrients to a forest canopy of slick, bulbous kelp tendrils, tangles of verdant sea grasses, and richly iridescent seaweeds. Kelps are considered “ecosystem engineers” as they provide habitat structure and modulate nutrient dynamics for a diverse host of tenants.

Sunday Sketch: Aquatic Landscapers keep coral reefs tidy and thriving

Coral reefs & algae have a symbiotic relationship, where single-celled algae (called zoozanthellae) living inside corals provide energy to build the intricate calcium-carbonate structures that host an entire underwater ecosystem (for more on reef-building corals check out this Creature Feature). However, as with most things in life, too much of a good thing can turn bad; too…