Category: Marine Biology

Peril on the Sea: Nautical Nightmares

As a marine biologist and surfer I have spent a lot of time on and in the ocean. And while surveying the shore, riding waves, scuba diving, or being underwater in a submersible, I have developed a great respect for the sea. She is all-powerful, magnificent, unpredictable, inspiring, and terrifying all at once. And there are moments you face the realization that you are helpless, the sea is in control, that you may die; all you can do is surrender to its power. It is a completely sublime, humbling but ultimately a life changing experience.

The Elephant Seals of Año Nuevo

The year was 1987 and I was searching for a place where black abalone were largely undisturbed so I could complete my dissertation. The island was the perfect location: isolated, difficult to access, federally protected, and surrounded by seal- and shark- infested waters. During my first low tide on the island I was ecstatic: blacks were common and it was the perfect place to conduct a study but there were elephant seals everywhere.

How to Become a Marine Biologist: Being Successful in Graduate School 

  So you made it! You’ve been accepted into a graduate program and are starting your career as a graduate student. Congratulations! You are among a small group of individuals that have the privilege of working beyond your baccalaureate degree. Now what? As I have discussed previously grad school is very different from your undergraduate…

Shore Whaling at Trinidad, California in the 1920s

Standing there today you can imagine it. Just walk outside the Seascape Restaurant near Trinidad Pier and you are on hallowed ground. Ground consecrated by the blood and guts of thousands of magnificent whales and a few brave whalemen. Here, for six years in the 1920s, whales were brought ashore and butchered by men for their oil, their baleen, for their very bones. And lest we judge these men for their actions, back then it was no different then catching fish. Of bringing a commodity to market; a way of making a living; albeit a hard one with many risks.

Return of The Birds

He looked out to sea and watched the crested breakers, combing green. They rose stiffly, curled, and broke again; and because it was ebb tide, the roar was distant, more remote, lacking the sound and thunder of the flood. Then he saw them. The gulls. Out there, riding the seas. What he had thought at…