Category Archives: Blog

Salty Cinema Livestream Event

As communities around the world adjust in response to the global pandemic, our oceans are also responding – from sea turtles nesting on once crowded beaches to ocean noise and emissions slowing down.

Join us Tuesday, May 19th at 6 PM Pacific for a livestream event with an expert panel discussing how decreased human activity in our oceans and coasts can provide lessons for future marine research, policy, and conservation.

“Checking in with our Oceans Amidst a Global Shutdown”

Hosted by:  Dr. Stuart Sandin, Director of CMBC

Speakers include:
Dr. Jessica Meir, Astronaut/NASA
Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair in Marine Science/ Smithsonian
Heather Zichal, Executive Director/Blue Prosperity
Dr. Emanual Goncalves, Chief Scientist/Ocean Azul Foundation
Brad Nahil, Director/SEE Turtles

Check Facebook Event for updates:


Where’d You Get Those Genes? Individual Growth Can Vary Wildly When Populations Interbreed

From the lab of Dr. Ronald Burton:
Scientists find that interactions between different types of DNA determine hybrid fitness

“When individuals from different populations of the same species interbreed, there is often ‘hybrid vigor’ in the first generation, meaning that the offspring have improved function and fare well,” said Ron Burton, a professor of marine biology at Scripps. However, when this generation produces offspring, the second generation hybrids show a range of fitness levels – in this study defined as growth rate – with many doing quite poorly. 

These findings from this study have broad implications for conservation initiatives in which people introduce or move formerly separated populations, and as populations migrate due to climate change and other environmental stressors. Although each population may be intrinsically healthy, incompatibilities between DNA types between populations may result in reduced fitness when populations interbreed.


Congratulations to the California Sea Grant 2020 State Fellows

California Sea Grant has selected 28 recipients for its prestigious State Fellowship, making this year’s cohort the largest yet. This opportunity provides fellows with unparalleled and hands-on training at the interface of science, communication, policy, and management at either a municipal, state, or federal host agency in California for one year.

Five of those selected are CMBC Alumni all who graduated  in 2019 from the Master of Advanced Studies Program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation.  Congratulations to the fellows and their agency hosts:
Ross Cooper – California State Water Resources Control Board – Office of Information Management and Analysis

Mark Danielson –  California State Land Commission – Environmental Justice

Nicholas DeNezzo – California Sea Grant – Science Communication

Keighley Lane –  NOAA Office of Aquaculture – Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Carly Shabo – NOAA Office for Coastal Management – West Coast Region.

Learn more about these fellows and all the others



Salty Cinema:  Blue Carbon – Postponed to date uncertain
Robert Paine Scripps Forum, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Salty Cinema is a community supported forum.  If these events are of value to you, and you have the ability, please contribute to our costs.

Knowlton/Jackson Distinguished Lecturer –  POSTPONED
Robert Paine Scripps Forum, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Speaker:  Dr. Patricia Majluf, a native of Peru, an expert on fisheries and anchoveta (a fish in the anchovy family), and the vice president of Oceana Peru. The Peruvian anchoveta, the target of the largest single species fishery on earth, a cornerstone of the Peruvian economy, and a focus of Dr. Majluf’s work for decades. Up to 98 percent of Peru’s six to ten million ton annual catches of anchoveta are ‘reduced’ to create fish oil and fishmeal products. Dr. Majluf has worked tirelessly to change this by encouraging people to eat anchoveta directly, as doing so would make available millions of pounds of a heart-healthy and protein rich food source. By engaging with the fishing and processing industries, activist chefs, and the international sustainable seafood movement, Majluf has raised the profile of the anchoveta worldwide and is having a direct impact on improving the sustainability of the world’s largest fishery.

Alumni Speaker:  Mike Navarro, Ph.D. as been selected to represent CMBC Alumni. Mike is an Assistant Professor in Marine Fisheries at the University of Alaska Southeast where he works to inform the seafood industry, seafood dependent communities, and marine resource policy makers regarding the impacts of oceanographic changes. the Navarro Lab focuses on local seafood security research opportunities aimed to keep fisheries sustainable for families and ecosystems. Lab members works to keep policy makers knowledgeable so that their constituents can choose the type of balance they want between commerce and environmental trade offs.

Microplastics: A Macro Problem

Associate researcher Dimitri Deheyn. Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Flying somewhere over the planet, there’s a plane equipped with research-grade double-sided tape on the outside of its hull. Whenever the pilot lands the plane, he removes the tape, seals it in a package, and replaces it with a new one before he takes off again. He then mails the package to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, care of Dimitri Deheyn, Associate Researcher.

Looking at the tape under a microscope, Deheyn sees what he’s looking for: microfibers, stuck to the adhesives.

Microfibers are a subset of microplastics, tiny pieces of petroleum-based materials that break down from larger plastic pieces or are manufactured at their microscopic sizes: less than 5 millimeters across. Microfibers are strands of fiber about five times thinner than a hair that are used in textile manufacturing; they shed from our clothes during wear, during washing and drying, flowing into waterways and drifting into the air.


How Many Parasites Can a Shore Bird Carry?

Featured research from the Hechinger Lab: The conclusion represents a new line of thinking in parasitology.

Birds like this black-crowned Night Heron were studied to understand their parasite load. Photo: Andrew Turner/Ryan Hechinger

A team of ecologists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has made a breakthrough that has implications for multiple fields within biology as well as epidemiology.

Ecologist Ryan Hechinger and colleagues tested a new way to predict the parasite load carried by California shorebirds they collected and analyzed. The principles they describe, however, could apply to any organism that hosts parasites, including humans. Hechinger describes parasites as the “dark matter” of ecosystems: they are ubiquitous and a key component of energy flow through those systems, but their ecological function is often overlooked.

The study appears today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In it, Hechinger’s team – including Kate Sheehan, a former postdoctoral researcher in Hechinger’s lab now at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and Hechinger Lab Manager Andrew Turner – describes how the amount of space inside or on a host, whether it be an ostrich or hummingbird, elephant or mouse, has less to do with the total parasite load it can carry at any given time and is more related to how much energy it can supply to those parasites.

Kelp: The Next Superfood?

Every summer, students in the Marine Biodiversity and Conservation MAS Program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego spend a week on Catalina Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. Here, the students learn to identify local algae and fish species as well as how to measure their populations using belt transects.

However, this year’s most innovative experiment was rooted more in gastronomy than ecology or marine biology. After finding an excellent specimen of elk kelp (Pelagophycus porra) during an afternoon transect, the class decided to make kelp pickles.

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Ancient Whale Named After Scripps Scientists

Richard and Ken Norris honored with Norrisanima miocaena

An extinct species of whale was recently renamed in remembrance of the late Ken Norris and his son Richard (Dick) Norris, both influential scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Norrisanima miocaena is newly described in the journal PierJ .

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Reducing methane emissions with seaweed

Sustainability in the Deep Water

In memory of  Roger Revelle, the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine created the Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecture series featuring distinguished speakers on the themes of ocean science and public policy.

The 20th annual Revelle Commemorative Lecture “Sustainability in Deep Water: The challenges of climate change, human pressures, and biodiversity conservation.”  was delivered by Dr. Lisa A. Levin, CMBC Director Emeritus. The recorded lecture is now available on the Revelle lecture website.



scripps oceanography uc san diego