Field Frame Friday: Don’t stick so close to me!

Ever been tidepooling and poked your finger in a squishy sea anemone just to see its petal-like arms grasp your finger? You may have noticed a somewhat sticky feeling as you shake those arms free, but how can something be sticky underwater? That sticky sensation you feel are actually nematocysts, which are microscopic stinging cells…

Field Frame Friday: The Sum of It’s Parts

It is pretty amazing the amount of enrichment supplies “The Manatee” (the name of my trusty Prius) can hold! While all this equipment may not look anything like what a seal interacts with in the ocean, to quote Aristotle, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” From PVC pipes to milk crates…

Field Frame Friday: Sugar Rush Memories

Rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus) are nectarivores (i.e. feed on nectar, pollen, flowers, and soft fruits) that use contingencies to remember what flowers they have recently fed at, so they do not waste energy returning to a nectar-depleted flower. This requires cognitive abilities to encode, retain and integrate relevant information while foraging! [Photo and caption by…

Field Frame Friday: A seal’s sea sight!

For us terrestrial bound land-lubbers, going under the coastal waters of the eastern Pacific can be daunting; it is cold and quite dark! However, this is not a problem for harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and other pinnipeds (i.e. seals, sea lions, and fur seals), who have sensory adaptations to thrive in this dark and murky…

Field Frame Friday: Slug Appreciation Day ft. The Banana Slug

If you are at all familiar with hiking in the woods of central and northern California, you may have come across an octopus’s terrestrial mollusk relative, the California banana slug (Ariolimax californicus)! Banana slugs have a mucousy membrane covering their body that is essential for breathing, mating, and deterring predators. This golden, slimy, charismatic invertebrate…

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…